Taking leaps and bounds in social media

You dream of stardom. Your mum tells you what a competitive world it is. Your dad tells you it won’t pay the bills. Everyone else thought it was sweet when you wanted to be a ballet dancer at six, sale but are surprised you still think you can hack it at 16. Your friends try to encourage you, but in the half-hearted way of a discarded BFF after one too many Saturday nights without you around. Then you get the opportunity to really find out what it could be like, and if you could really make the grade.

Its Prix de Lausanne week. Created in 1973, the Prix de Lausanne is an annual international competition for young dancers aged 15 to 18. Its goal is to discover, promote and support the world’s finest young talents. A total of 67 candidates, representing 18 nationalities, have been selected out of 300 applicants to participate in the week-long competition in Lausanne, Switzerland.

For the first time this year, by internet Live Feed, wanna-be dancers can get behind-the-scenes access from wherever they are around the world. They can feel part of the Prix community: hear the stories of the young dancers ‘just like them’ who made it through, even see the youthful (embarrassed?) glint in a retired professional dancer and judge’s eye as, during an interview, she is shown her winning performance at a much earlier Prix. Suddenly your dream doesn’t seem so ludicrously out of reach, even a famous Prima Ballerina once doubted her capabilities. They are only human too.

Back in 2012, I suggested in the post Inspirational #bbc2012 Olympics WOW that the London 2012 Olympics was a tipping point, which might just succeed at ‘Inspiring a Generation’:

“When you are surrounded by people who are passionate about a particular sport – hear their stories, feel the buzz of their elation – their enthusiasm can be infectious, and it is hard not to be inspired.”

Hundreds of participants trained hard. Lots of money was spent. The weather was surprisingly good. And millions of people around the world got a fly-on-the-wall view of the minutest detail of their favourite sport (even the less media-genic ones) via multiple media streams, not to mention social media. I’d seen this previously on a smaller scale with Tech conferences, such as Le Web, and TED, but not in the mainstream. Live streaming at the Prix de Lausanne is another highly-focused means of binding together the community of interest that pretty much invented the word passion.

So after a week of coaching from star choreographers, and rubbing shoulders with the great and good from the world of ballet, the young Prix de Lausanne dancers will perform at Selections on Friday, 6 February in front of a live audience. 20 of them will then go onto the Finals on Saturday, 7 February in front of a live audience and streamed live on the internet. Six of the candidates participating in the finals will be awarded a one-year – all expenses paid – scholarship at one of the Prix de Lausanne’s partner schools or companies, among the most prestigious in the world.

One of a kind, the Prix de Lausanne represents an exceptional platform for discovering youthful talents and is open to dance professionals who can observe and establish contacts with the candidates, while giving them perhaps a first opportunity to train with the best and perform before an audience. This is also the goal of the much younger and smaller Talent Dance Award that takes place in my hometown of Regensburg in July 2015, and for which OnPR is providing pro bono social media support. So I guess I am on the lookout for a media partner to provide a Live Feed. Applications greatly received!

In the meantime, I know what I’ll be doing on Saturday with my 12-year-old budding ballerina.

Ronna Porter


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