Ballet dancer António Casalinho wins Prix de Lausanne

Portuguese dancer António Casalinho, 17, was doubly awarded with the Contemporary Interpretation Prize and a scholarship at the international ballet competition Prix de Lausanne, Switzerland. “The Prix de Lausanne can completely change my future,” said António Casalinho, one of three dancers trained at the International Ballet and Dance Conservatory Annarella Sanchez, from Leiria, who reached the final.

António Casalinho was one of the six young finalists distinguished with scholarships for the 49th edition of the award, to which 78 candidates reached the competitive phase and 20 entered the final, which took place yesterday by video. The Contemporary Interpretation Prize was awarded by the jury to António Casalinho and Brazilian dancer Rui Cesar Cruz. Casalinho won the Oak Foundation Prize, with a classic variation that guarantees one of the scholarships in dispute, and the Contemporary Interpretation Prize Minerva Kunstistiftung.

“Participating in the Prix de Lausanne is a dream of immense dancers who want to change their future. It has a lot of visibility and everyone has high expectations for the winner. This victory can give me entry into a professional ballet company. It is a great door, that opens “, he says.

António Casalinho was the first Portuguese Prix de Lausanne winner representing a Portuguese school, a fact highlighted by Annarella Sanchez, responsible for the conservatory that put five dancers (three Portuguese, one Italian and one British) in the competition, qualifying three for the final. “Portugal is seen in the dance world as a third world country. But I wanted to reach the Prix de Lausanne and demonstrate that we in Leiria and Portugal managed to be on the same level as schools like the Royal Ballet [de Inglaterra] or the Zurich Ballet [da Suíça]. It is a dream come true “, said the Cuban teacher.

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