Meet—and Watch—the Winners of the 2022 Prix de Lausanne!

February 8, 2022

The Prix de Lausanne wrapped up last Saturday after a whirlwind week of classes, coaching and performances. Out of the original 70 international entrants in attendance, seven were named prizewinners, including Americans Maya Schonbrun and Darrion Sellman.     

The competition also inspired further discussion on representation in ballet: The all-white 2022 Prix jury spurred a wave of criticism from the ballet community, including prominent individuals and organizations like Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem dancer Ingrid Silva and Final Bow for Yellowface co-founder Phil Chan. These criticisms escalated following the Prix’s response to one Instagram commenter this past Thursday—the exchange is now deleted, but the Prix’s account wrote that “statistically ballet doesn’t include much variety.” The competition published an official statement regarding the exchange on its social media channels the following Monday. 

Throughout the week, 43 girls and 27 boys from 16 nations competed for a chance to secure a spot at one of the competition’s prestigious partner schools and companies. Each candidate participated in six days of classes and coaching with distinguished professionals, then presented a classical variation and a contemporary solo evaluated by the jury. The winners were chosen from a pool of 20 finalists who performed during Saturday’s final selection round. The Prix also presented five additional awards, and the finalists who did not win a scholarship received a Finalist Award along with 1,000 Swiss Francs. A culminating networking forum on Sunday then connected all participants with the Prix’s partner schools and company representatives for additional chances for scholarships or apprenticeships. 

Read on to learn more about the 2022 Prix de Lausanne winners, and congratulations to all who participated!

Scholarship Winner: Darrion Sellman (USA)

Seventeen-year-old Sellman adds to his already extensive resumé as the 2022 Prix’s first scholarship winner. Sellman attends the Princess Grace Academy in Monaco; he previously won first prizes at the Youth America Grand Prix New York (Junior Division) and Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition (formerly Genée). He also won the Los Angeles’ Music Center Spotlight Grand Prize in 2019 and is a repeat winner at YAGP NY. Watching his Prix de Lausanne performance of Giselle’s Prince Albrecht’s variation, it’s clear he’s on track for a star-studded career!

Scholarship Winner: Tsukino Tanaka (Japan)

In addition to her scholarship, Tanaka, 17, also took home the Best Swiss Candidate Award. She is a YAGP alumna and attends Switzerland’s internationally acclaimed Zurich Dance Academy. In her introduction video, Tanaka expressed her gratitude for being able to attend the Prix—her excitement was definitely palpable in her Giselle Act 1 solo; with the most charming smile, she displayed incredible balance, finesse and professionalism beyond her years. 

Scholarship Winner: Luciana Sagioro (Brazil)

Sagioro, 15, is also the recipient of the Web Audience Favorite Award and was the only Brazilian female dancer in this year’s competition. With her crystal-clear turns and tranquil confidence, she scored a much-deserved win. Sagioro attends Escola de Dança Petite Danse in Rio de Janeiro and is a Só Dança Ambassador. In her acceptance speech, Sagioro was sure to thank her parents, family, country, teachers and school.

Scholarship Winner: Mingyang Xie (China)

Fifteen-year-old Mingyang Xie stunned with his gorgeous lines in his performance of the male Harlequinade variation. Xie attends the dance school attached to the Shenyang Conservatory of Music. Last year, he won first place in the 2021 Asia Pacific virtual YAGP classical dance category’s Junior Age division.

Scholarship Winner: Dorian Plasse (France)

Plasse, 18, attends the Princess Grace Academy in Monaco and also took home the Contemporary Dance Award. He told Danses avec la plume that he’s now eager to take his dancing to the next level with a junior company position. While he hopes to perform a variety of roles in the future, Plasse notes that his “lyrical and gentle personality” aligns with roles like Romeo or other classical princes. Of the Prix, he says, “I came to show who I am, not to win a medal.” He accomplished both, showing his manѐge skills and beautiful arabesque line in his Sleeping Beauty Prince Désiré variation.  

Scholarship Winner: Maya Schonbrun (USA)

Schonbrun, 17, floated her way into the winner’s circle with exceptional ballon in her Don Quixote Queen of the Dryads variation. Schonbrun is a student of Arizona’s Master Ballet Academy and is an ambassador for Nikolay and Dee’s Dancewear. When interviewed in a recent article for the local Tucson news, Schonbrun expressed her desire to secure a company offer from outside the U.S., particularly in Europe or Russia.

Scholarship Winner: Amy Ronnfeldt (Australia)

At 18, Amy Ronnfeldt rounds out the 2022 Prix winners, delivering an exquisite port de bras with grace and confidence. She currently attends The Australian Ballet School in Southbank, Victoria; in 2020, she told A Bender Fan about her dream to join The Australian Ballet as a company member one day. Just before the finals, she shared on Instagram “I have no words… Just so incredibly grateful to have been given this once in a lifetime opportunity!”

Young Creation Award Winners

The Prix also allows young creators to submit original variations to compete for a choreographic award. This year’s winners are Australia’s Milla Loock, from the School of the Hamburg Ballet John Neumeier, for her solo Cognition (performed by Anita Ferreira), and Italy’s Luca Branca, from the Princess Grace Academy, for his submission Les Ombres du Temps (performed by Yo Nakajima). 

Additional Awards

  • Best Young Talent: Miguel Oliveira (Brazil)
  • Contemporary Dance Award: Dorian Plasse (France)
  • Best Swiss Candidate: Tsukino Tanaka (Japan) 
  • Web Audience Favorite: Luciana Sagioro (Brazil)
  • Audience Favorite: Yasemin Kayabay (Turkey)