Two teenagers from the Academy of Dance Princess Grace won prestigious Lausanne competition – David Navarro Yudes and Mikio Kato

The prestigious Prix of Lausanne

The Prix of Lausanne is a contest for non-professional talented ballet dancers between the ages of 15 and 18, aiming to measure their future potential. In this year’s 42nd edition that run from January 26 through February 1, there were 70 teenagers participating from 15 countries. The top six winners, including two students from the Academy of Dance Princess Grace in Monaco, were awarded with one-year scholarships for free-tuition in a world-renowned dance school or a dance company. In one month time winners will announce which schools or companies they will decide to joinFinalists who did not won a scholarship receive the sum of CHF 1.000 (approximately 800 Euros). This contest is known for launching the career of greatest ballet dancers, opening the doors to the best companies. .

Two young dancers from Academy in Monaco among the winners

The six winners were: Haruo Niyama and Mikio Kato, two Japanese men, Sae Maeda, Japanese woman, American woman Precious Adams, Spaniard David Fernando Navarro Yudes and Frenchman Garegin Pogossian. Both Navarro Yudes and Kato are students at the Academy of Dance Princess Grace founded in 1975, and that since 2009 has been under the direction of Luca Masala, responsible for maintaining the quality of the classical instruction while opening the students to the various influences of modern-day dance. Since its inception the Academy has trained several generations of dancers, many of who have become soloists or principal dancers with renowned international companies.

David Fernando Navarro Yudes, a very handsome 17 years old from Spain, and recipient of YAGP Scholarship to Princess Grace Academy in 2010, not only won the Prix de Lausanne 2014 but was also recognized with the coveted “Audience Favorite Prize”. David started taking ballet classes at 4 years old at his mother’s dance center, the renowned Marisa Yudes Dance School in Barcelona, and he praises his her for encouraging him to go professional. When Marisa learned of the prizes she said: “The prize of the Jury is absolutely deserved, but the most important is the prize of the public that values the artist besides the dancer.”  David truly enjoys the diverse program at the Academy in Monte-Carlo, as it goes from classical to contemporary, including Jazz and even Flamenco that he absolutely loves, plus the opportunity to work closely with the Ballets of Monte-Carlo. He has not decided yet to which company he will apply with the scholarship he just won, as he has several to choose from: the English National Ballet, San Francisco, Houston, American Ballet and the Sidney Opera. I heard, off the record, that David may want to initiate his career in Europe, but his ultimate dream would be to join the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), once he has gained much more experience.

Japan had the largest number of participants with 21 contestants demonstrating the strength of the country’s young dancers, among them  was Mikio Kato who gracefully danced the prince’s solo from Swan Lake as the last of the 20 dancers in the finals. In 2011, when the Great East Japan Earthquake hit and the nuclear power plant crisis in Fukushima Prefecture occurred, Kato gave up participating in a contest in New York a few days after the horrific event. Fortunately, his family, who lives in Fukushima, was safe!. “As a dancer from Fukushima, it is a miracle that I could come this far,” Kato was quoted saying. “I want to thank my family and teachers who supported me.” Kato’s father, Kunihiko, 57, is a pop singer, known as the elder brother in the famous sibling duo Karyudo. Kunihiko, who lives in Tokyo due to his work, was able to watch his son’s performance live on the Internet. “I thought he danced imposingly and beautifully,” he said. “The footage was the most impressive I’ve ever seen.”

We can truly say that the Academy of Dance Princess Grace has talent!

Video of the finalists performances and prize ceremony

You may watch the 20 finalists by clicking on the link below. I have indicated the timing of the performances of the dancers from the Princess Dance Academy: David and Mikio.

1st part classical

0:15:25 – David – Don Quijote, Basile

0:36:20 – Mikio  – Le Lac, Siegfried 3rd Act

2nd part contemporary variations

0:59:28 – David – Solo from Desde Otello

1:23:58 – Mikio – A solo for Diego

And here is the link to the Prize ceremony video:

 Photos courtesy of Prix of Lausanne official website.

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