Who Makes Costumes For The Prix De Lausanne?

Raymonda Variation Tutu-Prix de LausanneFor a dancer, the months leading up to the Prix de Lausanne competition in Switzerland are wrought with excitement, nervousness and intense goal setting. Once a dance student sets his or her mind on entering and winning this competition, there is a natural chain of  events that have to take place.

Do You Have What It Takes To Become A Prix De Lausanne Candidate?

You fit the age requirements. You come from the right dance background and have the required training. You have a high-level of skill with:

  • Your technique, coordination and control.
  • You communicate beautifully through movement and music.
  • You show unique individuality.
  • Your physical aesthetics are suitable for professional ballet.
  • Your artistry and stage presence are compelling.

After viewing your entrance video, the  Prix de Lausanne has decided that you qualify as a candidate. Congratulations! Now you get to choose which variation you want to perform from the official list. After choosing the variation, comes a very important task; finding a costume for your role.

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2015 Contestant Natasha Watson In Her Raymonda Variation Tutu

Raymonda Variation Costume
© 2015 Monica Newell Couture

Although contestants come from all over the globe, we cant help but give kudos to those who compete wearing a Costume Creation.  For the 2015 competition, our lovely dancer chose the Raymonda Solo, Tableau du Rêve Act 1,  Alexandre Glazunov – Marius Petipa.

We can only imagine how a dancer studies the list of approved variations before he or she makes that final decision. How do you choose a variation?  Here are a few ways:

  • Pick one where the technique needed is something you are very, very good at.
  • Choose whatever variation you feel the judges will be impressed by.
  • Find a variation that is both an out-of-the-norm choice for most contestants and one that shows off your ballet training.

Judges are human and get bored watching the same old variations chosen by the majority of competitors. They may have to listen to the same music over and over again. Understanding the judges and what might make them sit up and take notice of you can give you an edge. Boredom is a real peeve when you are a professional dance competition judge.

Read more about dance judges and what impresses them.

 From Bits To Glitz-The Costume Making Process Is Fascinating

Raymonda Variation
© 2015 Dance Photo by Gregory Batardon, All Rights Reserved

Picture a ballet costume studio. Inside are reels of gorgeous trims and brilliant embellishments. There are rainbow shades of unmeasured netting waiting to be cut and pleated. There are sewing notions and tools, dressmaker mannequins and notes jotted down. There are containers of crystals and beads.

From these bits are sourced a garment that will end up on a dancer who will end up on stage in front of hundreds of people. The creative process is really amazing. Couture is even more so. There are no assembly lines, no power scissors to do mass cutting of ready-to-wear patterns, no warehouse full of employees sitting at sewing machines racing to meet a “quota”.

For the bespoke designer, there is a one-on-one relationship with every garment they make.  Like an artist painting a canvas, a costume maker expresses their artistic side manipulating fabric and shapes, silhouettes and textures.

Unlike a painter who may not know who will end up with their art work, a costume designer has to keep a client and her variation in mind. So here we see that tutu making is:

  • A medium of art through the use of garment materials.
  • A freedom of expression and personality.
  • Working within the confines of classical ballet tradition
  • Making a dancer look, function and feel like a professional.

As a Variation tutu maker, you are both free and confined. Fascinating, isn’t it?

 One of the most heart-felt and positive aspects of making tutus is the pure joy that comes from seeing both the dancer and the costume on stage.

Climbing The Ballet Career Ladder Isn’t Easy

Raymonda Variation Costume
© 2015 Monica Newell

There are so many reasons why young dance students enter competitions like the Prix de Lausanne. The main attractions are the scholarships and apprentice contracts that help move them along the ballet ladder. What so many people forget about the seemingly frail ballerina is how early she learns the art of being resilient.

In other words, ballet sometimes hurts. Pointe shoes hurt. Sore muscles hurt. Expensive training hurts. Competitions can hurt. Many come. Few are chosen. 

The miracle and the magic is that these young dancers don’t give up. They keep on training and competing against the odds. What they need to know is that they are already winners. They were noticed by the highest echelon of people in the ballet world.

Anyone who can reach a top-level entry to a prestigious dance competition like the Prix de Lausanne has that special something; you caught the eye of the entrance judges. There was something about you that made you a good contender for the prize. It is called potential. The seeds of greatness lay within you and will help you accomplish your dreams. Potential realised equals success.

“It is a denial of the divinity within us to doubt our potential and our possibilities.”
― James E. Faust

This page is dedicated to all the resilient, brave and beautiful dance competitors around the world.


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