Kanagawa teen wins elite Swiss ballet competition

Kyodo

A 17-year-old Japanese girl was among the eight winners of the prestigious Prix de Lausanne ballet competition in Switzerland on Saturday, the organizers said.

Madoka Sugai of Kanagawa Prefecture had the top score and was also given the contemporary dance prize.

Each winner is awarded a one-year scholarship to an internationally renowned dance school and a budget of 16,000 Swiss francs (¥1.33 million).

“I can’t believe it,” Sugai, a second-year high school student said after the awards ceremony. “I will call my parents, who are expecting to hear from me at home, and express my gratitude to them.”

Renowned Japanese ballerina Miyako Yoshida, a former winner and one of the jurors this year, praised Sugai’s consistency.

“Her performance was the most stable among the finalists. I am very much looking forward to seeing her future growth,” Yoshida said.

“I would like to be a ballerina like Ms. Yoshida,” Sugai said.

Yoshida joined the Royal Ballet at London’s Royal Opera House in 1995, where her repertoire included many lead roles.

The 40th competition drew 226 people from 30 countries, including a group of 19 Japanese that produced five of the 21 finalists.