PBT School Student to Compete in Prestigious International Ballet Competition

PBT School student Sophie Sea Silnicki, 16, is one of only seven female dancers from the United States selected to compete in Switzerland’s 42nd Annual Prix de Lausanne international ballet competition, Jan. 27 to Feb. 1, 2014.

The Prix de Lausanne is an international competition and educational workshop for pre-professional dancers, ages 15 to 18, of all nationalities. Since 1973, the competition has discovered, promoted and supported the world’s finest young dancers. This year, a total of 295 dancers — 224 females and 71 males — of 35 different nationalities auditioned via video submission for the Prix de Lausanne. A panel of dance experts chose 71 of those candidates, including a total of 10 U.S. male and female dancers, to compete in the competition in Lausanne, Switzerland. In addition to the 71 dancers chosen through video auditions, two dancers were selected to compete in a pre-selection session in Dresden, Germany, and four dancers were selected at DanzaAmerica in Argentina.

“Sophie is an extremely focused and dedicated student, so it is so rewarding to see her hard work and talent gain her this very exclusive opportunity to compete with students from around the world,” said PBT School Director Marjorie Grundvig. “We are extremely proud to have her represent Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and PBT School to the international ballet community, and think it is such an important element of her training to gain exposure to the different artists, movement styles and performance settings that she will experience in Lausanne.”

A full-time High School student in PBT School’s Pre-Professional Division, Silnicki attends PBT School on scholarship and has trained with the organization since 2009. She first started dancing before age two at her mother’s dance studio in Fairmont, WV. At age 12, after attending a PBT workshop instructed by former PBT principal dancer Erin Halloran, Silnicki began training with PBT School. Silnicki has competed in a number of major ballet competitions, including Youth America Grand Prix, where she has earned its 2009 Hope Award, 2012 Youth Grand Prix award and most recently advanced to the finals round in New York City in both the 2012 and 2013 competitions.  In addition to the competition circuit and PBT School performances, Silnicki has performed on the Benedum Center stage alongside professional PBT dancers in company productions of “The Nutcracker” and “Coppélia.”

Silnicki will be the fourth PBT School student to compete in the prestigious competition in the last three years, following PBT School Pre-Professional student Elenora Morris in 2013 and Aviana Adams and former student Anwen David, who competed in the 2012 Prix de Lausanne. In preparation for the competition, Silnicki is preparing both a classical and contemporary variation to perform for the jury. For her classical piece, she will perform choreography from the role of Swanilda from the ballet “Coppélia” and for her contemporary work, she will perform a solo from “1st Flash” by Jorma Elo.

The competition will begin with a five-day selection process that includes daily classical and contemporary ballet classes with internationally-acclaimed dancers. Dancers will perform both a classical and contemporary variation for the Prix de Lausanne’s nine-person judging panel. At the end of this selection period, the judges will choose a select number of dancers to continue to the final round of competition on Saturday, Feb. 1, which will be streamed live on the Internet in High Definition at www.prixdelausanne-live.com starting at 3 p.m. CET. 


The Prix de Lausanne was created to discover emerging artists around the world and offer opportunities through scholarships and exposure to the world’s leading dance professionals, schools and companies. The competition helps young dancers to realize their full potential as high-level dancers and opens doorways into some of the world’s most prestigious schools and companies. The Prix has launched the careers of many of ballet’s leading performers, including Carlos Acosta, Julie Kent, Darcey Bussell and Christopher Wheeldon. For more information, please visit www.prixdelausanne.org.

Sophie Silnicki Joins Only 10 U.S. Dancers Compete in Switzerland’s 2014 Prix de Lausanne