Elenora Morris at the Prix de Lausanne – Day 6 – Selection Day!

Today was selections day.  I was obviously excited last night, but after taking a hot bath and watching some Pride and Prejudice with my mom I slept wonderfully!  In the morning I felt ready to perform my variations for the jury!  Since I didn’t have to be at the theater until lunchtime, I got to have a nice breakfast with my mom and spent the morning stretching and listening to music.

When we got to the theater, I did my make up and pinned on my gorgeous tiara while the 15-16 year old candidates performed their variations.  The atmosphere was definitely very exciting today, with cameramen and nervous parents everywhere, and dancers rushing around left and right in costumes and makeup.

After the younger candidates finished performing, we had a short warm-up class onstage, just enough to make us warm and supple but not intense enough to tire us out. Then I put on my pointe shoes and practiced bits of my variation on the rake until the stage manager told us that we had to leave the stage.  Feeling warm and ready, I put on my beautiful tutu (Thank you Janet Campbell and all the PBT seamstresses!) and waited backstage!  We performed in numerical order, but the boys and the girls alternated with each variation, so I was set to be thirteenth.  Finally, my turn came!  My variation went well and I had a wonderful time onstage.  It was an honor to dance in such a beautiful venue and an experience I will never forget!  And the rake turned out to be a blessing in disguise: I actually found my variation to be easier on a slanted surface!

Next I changed for my contemporary variation.  I had a long break so I listened to my music and marked the choreography, making sure to go over all the changes from our rehearsal with the choreographer yesterday.  Then my turn came to go onstage.  Once again, the variation went well!  I felt free in the choreography and enjoyed getting into the movement.

Overall I was very happy with my performance. We had the rest of the afternoon off, so I rested in my hotel for a while and visited a chocolatier to buy souvenirs.  Then we headed back to the theater for the results!

As most of you already know, I did not make the finals.  Only two girls from my class made the finals, and the male candidates dominated: 14 boys were chosen!  I would be lying if I said I was not disappointed.  But despite the results, I had a wonderful time dancing in the selections and I am so thankful for the amazing experience I have had this week!  Tomorrow I have one last class for the networking forum in which directors from schools all over the world will observe us and pick out candidates that they like.  Then I get to watch the finals and enjoy the rest of my time in Switzerland!

Today I was also interviewed for a videoblog, which should be out by tomorrow.  It will give you a closer look at my day!

(Attached is a picture posted by the Prix.  I am on the top left.  From the performance today!)

Elenora Morris at the Prix de Lausanne – Day 5!

I can’t believe how fast the week has gone.  Today was our last day of classes and coaching before we perform our variations tomorrow!

I had a nice warm-up class on stage this morning with my classmates, and then we had our second coaching session for our classical variations.  This time we went in order of our variations.  There are quite a lot of “Gamzatti“‘s and “Grand Pas Classique“‘s in Group B Girls!   After over an hour of antsy waiting I finally got to go.  Despite the wait, I had a good run and got some helpful feedback from our coach.  I was glad to practice my variation on the stage one last time before tomorrow!  

After classical coaching I had a nice long break, so I got some lunch and read for a while.  I also decided to pay a visit to the physical therapist who is onsite for the candidates, because my quadriceps are extremely sore, most likely from the raked stage and all the new movements in contemporary class!  The therapist gave me a wonderful massage and recommended some Theraband exercises.  She was very sweet!

At 3pm all of the girls doing my contemporary variation, Saraband, had rehearsal with the choreographer, Goyo Montero.  (Apparently, Saraband is very popular: 11 out of 17 girls in my class are dancing it!)  Since we each had to learn the variation from a video, it was wonderful to actually work with Mr. Montero and learn the details and the intentions behind the steps. He gave us lots of insight, and thankfully he didn’t make too many changes to the choreography (Polly said that we were lucky he didn’t change more!). I only wish that we could have worked with him earlier so we could have had more time to apply his corrections!   The jury watched our rehearsal as well, so I’m sure when we perform tomorrow they will note whether we listened to Mr. Montero or not!

I had another break, then each of us ran our contemporary variation onstage under the choreographer’s supervision (this time without jury).  It was helpful to try it on the rake, and Mr. Montero gave each of us some final pointers. 

By the end of the day, I was exhausted and ready for dinner and some good rest.  Tomorrow will be exciting!


Watch Elenora in the video below (#306, white leotard) just after the 5 minute mark:

Elenora Morris at the Prix de Lausanne – Day 4!

Today was wonderful!  After a good night’s sleep, I headed to the theater for 9:30 class.  Since the jury weren’t watching, we had a shortened ballet class that was all on flat.  It was nice to have a low pressure class, and the teacher was able to give us more feedback and corrections.  She focused a lot on arms and epaulment, and encouraged us to initiate our arms with our backs.  Polly and my mom got to observe class from the balcony, and it was fun to dance for them.

I had a quick snack then headed to contemporary class with the jury. We repeated the combinations we had learned the past two days, which was helpful because we could focus on performing and perfecting the steps. Since I felt comfortable in the choreography, I wasn’t worried about the jury. At the end of class, we learned and performed a longer enchaînement.  I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun!  The teacher, Mr. Rownes, is very thoughtful and creative and his choreography is truly a joy to dance.  

Finally, we had a quick lunch break and then prepared for classical coaching.  In numerical order, each of the Group B girls performed their variation in the raked studio, then received a few minutes of feedback.  My variation felt even better on the rake today.  M. Loudieres, our coach, was very sweet but also gave very helpful pointers.  Along with a few technical comments, she encouraged me to breathe throughout my variation and really focus on the music.  Tomorrow she will coach our variations on the stage one last time before we perform, so I look forward to applying her corrections!  Until then!

Check out Elenora in contemporary class about four minutes and twelve seconds into this video:



Elenora Morris at the Prix de Lausanne – Day 3!

Today started out with some excitement. I have had a bit of jet lag the past two nights and couldn’t fall asleep last night, so, unbeknownst to me, my mom let me sleep in later than we had planned.  I woke up in a panic.  For some reason I thought that my first class was at 9am, and I jumped out of bed, shouting that I was going to miss it!  My mom had to reassure me that I wasn’t due at the theater until 11:15!

After my mix-up, though, the day went very smoothly.  I started with classical class in which the jury gave us marks.  With the pressure of the scoring I was a little more nervous than yesterday, but it didn’t affect my dancing much.  We repeated most of the combinations from yesterday, so I felt comfortable with the steps.  At the end of the class, we also learned a long enchaînement that was similar in length to a variation and was a lot of fun.  Overall, I enjoyed the class very much.

During lunch break, I sat in the candidates’ lounge with some other girls from my class.  It was a clear day and we enjoyed a stunning view of the Swiss Alps outside the window. Awesome! 

Next all of the Group B girls got to run their classical variation on stage.  It was so exciting and a little scary to dance on the raked stage for the first time!  My variation went quite well considering the new setting.  Watching the other girls in my group was also awe-inspiring.  The talent here is amazing!  Some people seemed quite at home on the raked stage, while others took some time to adjust.  Once we had all danced, there was enough time for everyone to do their variation again.  I appreciated the extra practice!

The day finished off with contemporary.  It felt wonderful to release and move more freely after a long day of classical ballet.  We practiced most of the combinations we had learned yesterday and also started to learn an enchaînement for when the jury watches tomorrow!  

So far, being here has been an amazing experience.  I was nervous about coming to Switzerland, but I’ve already had so much fun!

More tomorrow!

Elenora Morris at the Prix de Lausanne – Day 2!

Today I had a late start since my first class wasn’t until 3pm.  After sleeping in a little, I read and stretched in my room while my mom went outside to go for a run and visit the grocery store.  By noon, I was more than ready to head to the theater.  Polly and my mom dropped me off at the stage door, and I grabbed lunch in the candidate’s lounge.  I sat at a table with four other girls: one from Germany who dances in England, two from Australia, and one from Japan. Despite our differences and some language barriers, we had plenty of common topics to discuss as we anticipated the coming day!

After lunch I took a peek at the younger group of boys in contemporary class, then stretched and warmed up with the other female candidates.  Finally, the time came for us to head into Studio 1 for our first class: contemporary!  Our teacher, Duncan Rownes, was challenging! Instead of breaking long combinations up and teaching them in sections, like most of the teachers I have had, Mr. Rownes would show the entire combination without stopping, repeat once or twice, then tell us to go!  Most of the girls in my class were also distracted by their numbers falling off as we rolled on the floor: the safety pins just wouldn’t stay put!  But after adjusting my safety pins and becoming familiar with the movement quality, I had an absolute blast in the class.  The movement was all about freedom: completely throwing your body into each movement and reaching each line as far as possible.  It felt amazing.

(Attached is a picture from contemporary that the Prix de Lausanne posted on Twitter. I am in the picture on the right and also in the white leotard in the bottom left picture.)

After a whirlwind break in which Polly and my mom tried to secure my safety pins one last time, I hurried to classical class.  The head of the jury shook each girl’s hand and introduced us to the jury members, who were watching our class but not giving marks.   Although dancing under the scrutiny of directors from around the world was a little intimidating, I focused on enjoying the class and applying the teacher’s corrections.  The teacher, Stephanie Arndt, gave a very enjoyable class.  The combinations were challenging but gave us plenty of room for expression.  We were finished before I knew it!  

Overall, I had a great day.  I can’t wait to continue classes with Mr. Rownes and Ms. Arndt.  There is so much to learn from all of these wonderful teachers!

Elenora Morris at the Prix de Lausanne – Registration Day!

PBT student, Elenora Morris has arrived safe and sound in Lausanne for the Prix de Lausanne competition!  She will keep us posted during the whole experience, so be sure to keep checking back for her updates!

Today my mom and I woke up around 7:30.  I slept like a rock all night, it was wonderful!  I’m so thankful that jet lag hasn’t been bad.  Polly and my mom both woke a little throughout the night but felt awake and energetic during the day.  After breakfast, where we met another candidate named Megan and her father, my mom and I set out for church and Polly explored the town.  We went back to the Lausanne Cathedral.  The organ music was glorious and although we could only understand snippets of the French hymns and sermon, it was inspiring to be in a church where people have worshiped for over 600 years!  

After church we met Polly and tried to find lunch.  Surprisingly, almost every single store is closed on Sundays in Lausanne.  It took some time to find a lunch spot, but we did and then, finally, we headed to the Theatre de Beaulieu!

Attached is a picture of Polly and me at the stage door.  We were so excited.

After waiting in a lounge downstairs, at 1:30 we were ushered upstairs to Studio 1.  The studio is raked, and the slant looked really imposing.  I gave myself barre and tried balancing a little on the rake, then all the candidates spread out and tried bits of their variations.  It was crowded at first, but eventually the candidates from Asia went to their orientation and we had a lot more room.  I was very pleased to find that my variations both feel great on the rake!  For the classical variation especially, dancing on the rake feels very natural.  I didn’t watch the other candidates much, but everyone looked beautiful.  I noticed lots of different versions of my contemporary variation.  I didn’t see anyone else doing Queen of the Dryads, though!  

Reassured and happy with the practice, we grabbed a snack and went to the orientation, where we got information about the week and a few goodies like water bottles and T-shirts.  By the end of the day, after some delicious Thai food with Polly and my mom, I felt very content and excited.  I can’t wait to start classes tomorrow!

In first international tour in years, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre to dance in Israel


Dancers with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre headed back to the studio a bit sooner this summer to prepare for a pre-season performance, but it won’t take place at the Benedum, Byham or any of the troupe’s other regular venues.

This week, the company will present a mixed repertoire program in Israel at the 25th annual Karmiel Dance Festival, which will feature about 5,000 dancers from across the world. The trip will mark the first time PBT has toured overseas in nearly 20 years.

“We’re very excited about it,” artistic director Terrence Orr said.

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