How To Impress The Judges At The Prix De Lausanne Or Any Dance Competition

 Creating The Wow Factor In Front Of  Competition Judges

What makes a winner? To you and me, the term winner can mean so many different things. To a professional judge at the  Prix de Lausanne, choosing a winner goes way beyond being impressed with a dancer’s great technique. They are looking for that certain something in a contestant that makes he or she stand way out above the other contestants. The French call this certain something je ne sais quoi.

Je ne sais quoi; An intangible quality that makes something distinctive or attractive  1

That certain something cannot be denied when you choose to compete in a couture ensemble of the highest quality. It cannot be denied when you know you belong on stage and it is what you were born to do.Passionate dancers are attractive dancers. People who believe in their dreams are incredibly inspiring to all of us.

In order to stand out as a top-contender, you have to bring passion to your performance. Be a distinctive contestant by choosing a variation that excites you and brings out your inner Sara Bernhardt.

Understanding the judges, what they think of your variation choice, how well you emote your role and what you do if something goes wrong on stage are critical for gaining the winning edge.

Understanding  What Competition Judges Are Like

Who are the people who sit on the judges panel at the Prix de Lausanne? First and foremost, these special individuals are volunteers. They have a deep love for the world of dance. They are highly seasoned veterans with years of theatrical experience under their belts. They include:

  • Professionals Affiliated With Company Partners
  • Former Prix de Lausanne Prize Winners
  • Guest Teachers Or Coaches
  • Artistic Directors Of Prestigious Dance  Theatres
  • Former Principal Dancers

Judges are just as thrilled to participate in the discovery of new talent as the contestants are thrilled about being discovered. They are looking for a diamond in the rough. Why? Because you, as a potential winner, are the next generation to carry on the traditions of classical dance.

Use Variation Choices That Don’t Bore Them To Death

One of the hardest things to remember about judges is how many times they have seen the same popular variations chosen and performed over and over again. You can imagine how boring that must be.  I was intrigued to find this insight in a well-established dance publication .2  It came right from the mouth of a former Prix de Lausanne judge in an article about their pet peeves.

Knowing this information is priceless. The competitive edge comes just as much from knowing what not to do as what to do. It would be wonderful if these peeves were kept up to date so a competitor could avoid the common mistakes that turn many judges off.


Intense Passion And Artistry That Can Move The Emotions  Of Even The Most Stoic Judge

As much as a ballet story requires perfection of physical technique, there is an equally important quality that makes a dancer rise to the top of the theatrical ladder.  Artistry.  You are not a dancer. You are an actress that uses her body to tell a story.

You are not dancing Giselle. You ARE Giselle. Your heart is broken and you cannot go on. The entire world feels your pain. Even your dog looks at you with sad despair. You may only be a peasant, but your love runs deep and true.

Sounds theatrical and dramatic, doesn’t it? The most breathtaking dancers in history had this level of immersion when portraying a character. You could feel the emotions in the air. They permeated from the stage. Characters come alive and transport the audience to another place and time. Technique thrills the heart, but artistry captures the soul.

Use Professionalism When Something Goes Wrong On Stage

Stage calamities; the most dreaded words in the English language for anyone about to compete in front of judges for a highly coveted dance prize. Judges already know that mishaps can happen during a variation. I’m not talking about tutus catching on fire, curtains falling down or stage floors collapsing, but the little things that can unnerve a contestant like slipping or tripping.

You will be judged on how well you handle yourself during a faux pas on stage. Here are a few tips:

  • Carry on and pretend the faux pas never happened. The show must go on.
  • Maintain your composure at all costs. You have the dignity of a Queen, the grace of a noble and the courage of a lioness.
  • Don’t stop your variation mid-movement with a look of shock and surprise.
  • Whatever you do, avoid running from the stage sobbing and screaming. Dramatic, yes. Professional, no.

If you have ever witnessed a dancer showing grace under pressure and handling a mishap during a performance with courage, it is incredibly impressive.  To sum up how to impress a dance competition judge:

  • Wear a couture costume that showcases your beauty.  For questions about Prix de Lausanne variation costumes contact us here. General inquiries here.
  • Choose a variation whose character inspires you and can come alive through your movements.
  • Practice the art of drama and theatrical flair outside of the classroom; study acting techniques.
  • Don’t choose a “safe” variation, neither one that is too far out of your comfort zone.
  • Be professional when mishaps occur on stage.
  • Relax, forget about the audience and become one with your role. Get lost in it.
  • Be happy. You have been chosen to compete because you have amazing potential.

“No pressure, no diamonds”. -Thomas Carlyle


Sources Cited

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One comment

  1. I just love this article, it is so informative for anyone involved with competitions, yet so inspiring for the competitors to achieve their goals too. I loved the reference to the judges enjoying seeing the next generation carrying on the classical traditions, the words that the dancers body is telling a story, you ARE Giselle – so true of the greatest, and handling the competition with grace, dignity and courage. So profound but so true.

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