After Alice Hidalgo, let’s continue our meetings with the French candidates for the Prix de Lausanne 2022 with Manon Baranger (105). One of the youngest candidates of this edition comes from australia, after spending his early years in Hong Kong. Like many apprentice dancers from the other side of the world, she dreams of European schools and companies. She tells us about her journey and her view of the Prix de Lausanne.
What is your background ?
I am French but born in Hong Kong. I lived there for my first eleven years. I started dancing there when I was three years old. Then we moved to Melbourne, Australia. I am today at Melbourne Academy of the Artsfull time.
How are your days going there?
I devote the morning to my school lessons with the CNED, I follow the French curriculum. I dance in the afternoon, I have 30 hours of lessons per week: classical dance, contemporary dance, jazz dance, character dance, also pointe and repertoire lessons. Every day is different.
Why come to the Prix de Lausanne? There are always a lot of Australian students showing up every year.
There are fewer opportunities in Australia and the Prix de Lausanne is a competition that opens doors. Many young dancers in Australia want to work in Europe or the United States. For my part, I like having this chance to work with other teachers, who come from all over the world. I want to take everyone’s corrections to progress and become better, but also to meet new people all around the world. And to have opportunities in Europe.
Which school would you like to go to?
I dream of the Paris Opera School of Dance or the Royal Ballet School. I like their company, I watch a lot of videos of their Stars, they make me dream. If I have to name a few? Dorothée Gilbert and Marianela Núñez! And I dream of dancing Odette/Odile or Aurore. I will be very excited to go to Europe, I am ready to leave my family: my parents returned to Hong Kong this year, I stayed in Australia with friends.
You are used to passing a lot of competitions. How do you live it?
For me, a competition is just fun today. I like to show what I like to do the most in the world: dancing. Sometimes there is a little stress, but I calm myself thinking about what I’m doing now, not thinking about the future and just doing my best every time.
How were your first two days at the Prix de Lausanne? (editor’s note: the interview took place on the evening of Monday January 31).
We had classical and contemporary dance lessons. And I was able to play my classic variation on stage for the first time, it went very well. The next few days will be more focused on coaching and dance classes in front of the jury. It’s a very new experience! I like the different dance classes, being coached for the variations. I really like being there (smile). The atmosphere is good, I made friends from all over the world. It’s good to meet new people.
Did you suffer from the Covid in Australia in your training as a dancer?
In 2020, we had to do a few months of dance lessons on Zoom. We were then able to return to the studio but the competitions often remained online. I didn’t have much opportunity to go on stage for two years, it feels good to find her again at the Prix de Lausanne.
How are the dance classes going for you at the Prix de Lausanne?
Elisabeth Platel’s dance classes are quite different from what I do in Melbourne. We are more in the Russian technique with the Vaganova method, with more arms and head but less speed in certain exercises. But I was able to do the Nanterre summer internship in 2021, I had learned a lot there. So I was able to get used to this style, so it was. For some of his exercises, you really have to think because it’s fast and there are a lot of changes in direction. Élisabeth Platel insisted a lot on the positioning of the arms, to close the fifth positions well. But by dint of doing it, I was able to get used to it and it passes. I have confidence for the course in front of the jury.
For the contemporary dance class, I do a little in Melbourne, but it’s different from the classes inArmando Braswell at the Lausanne Prize. In the style of movement, in the energy, you have to get used to it and I still have to get used to it.
What did you choose as a variation?
I do Flora’s Awakening in classic. My dance teacher chose it for me but it was still one of my favorite variations. I really like the music, the movements, I can express myself in this style. I have to remember to use my arms, to express myself in front of the public. For the contemporary, my teacher chose Rain by Kinsun Chan, it was the easiest way to dance for me. She is also fast, which is what I prefer in contemporary dance. I have to remember to relax and use my whole body to dance it well.
What is your state of mind in a few words?
Time to be there! And a little stressed of course.