On the road to the Prix de Lausanne, part VI

Guest writer: Shelly Power, associate director of Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy

The good news, the good news, and the good news!

All three Houston Ballet competitors have made it to the final round!

With my not having a vote on any of our candidates I can safely say now…they were wonderful!  It has been difficult keeping my opinion quiet so this is a great release to write.

Seventy candidates reduced to 20, and 3 of them are Houston Ballet students. We could not be more proud. In scoring competitors you never know what the results will be, as scoring is subjective and sitting on this side of the table you can only hope the winners you are choosing show up on your final list.

Right now, Claudio, Emanuel’s father and our three students are sitting in the café or backstage with hoards of people as they await the results. There is barely room to stand or sit. We as judges have left by the front entrance as not to disrupt the Prix’s time to organize and present the results.

The waiting is painful. On one hand, you want the results, and on the other you know that once the numbers go up on the big screen the results are out there. If your number is up not up there, the emotion is overwhelming.  To those who don’t make it through: there are many dancers who have made bright professional careers without placing in the finals.  To those who make it: I say go home, eat well, and get some sleep. Tomorrow is a brand new day and you must be on top of your nerves, your excitement from today, and your exhaustion. Trust yourself, put forth your best, and remember…you have accomplished a great feat today, one you will remember and take with you forever.

For me, sitting at the jury table was only nerve racking when our students were on stage. I was rather calm as each candidate came out, and I felt ready to give my best. Liao walked out with such elegance as she took center stage. Her contemporary showed style and a great understanding of what was asked of her coach.  Aaron took his place for his classical variation with confidence as well. He looked elegant as he managed the stage. He performed his contemporary with charm and strong technical ability. Emanuel’s Sylphide was crisp and clean.  Having Bournonville teachers sitting next to me made it strikingly hard, as I know they knew this work thoroughly.  His contemporary was touching and inspiring.  He managed to take his coaching and transformed his performance.

Special thanks to Stanton for having faith in our school and giving the go-ahead to proceed with sending three students (very unusual to have three students ready for a competition). Thank you also to C.C. Conner and all the administrative staff that support the school unconditionally, and of course financially.

-Shelly

P.S. Laura and Angela–way to go on the costumes!

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