Japanese high school students took home the first and second prizes in a prestigious ballet competition held in Lausanne, Switzerland. Haruo Niyama from Nagano Prefecture bested 20 other participants to take home the first place, while Sae Maeda from Yokohama took the second spot at the Prix de Lausanne on February 1.
The 17-year old Niyama is a second-year student at the Matsumoto Daiichi High School in Matsumoto and is part of the Hakucho Ballet Acaddemy in Nagano city. The excited Niyama described what he was feeling to reporters after winning the prize, saying, “I was so nervous (when I was performing). I want to thank my family who has supported me so far.” He also candidly admitted that he began dancing ballet when a girl he “used to like” was doing it. Niyama is the second Japanese to win the first prize of the prestigious Prix de Lausanne with Madoka Sugai being the first in 2012. Standing 165 cm and gifted with a tiny build, these proved to be at Niyama’s advantage among his Western counterparts as his flexibility helped highlight his individual style during the competition.
15-year old Saeda, on the other hand, is a first-year student at the Yokohama Suiryo Senior High School. The runner-up was still high up in the clouds over her win and told reporters that she was so happy for placing in the competition, despite thinking that her ”performance was so-so,” but she enjoyed dancing and that’s what’s important for her. Another Japanese dancer, 18-year old Mikio Kato earned the sixth spot in the ballet competition. Organizers of the competition awarded the top six with scholarships for one year in a world-renowned dance school. Niyama hopes to attend a school in San Francisco as his role model, David Hillberg, is in United States.
[via Asahi Shimbun]