What happens when a dancer, a banker and a lawyer get together to share their passion for the art of dance? They create the International Young Ballet Festival. Not just a festival but a unique meeting space to discover young talents and offer them a network capable of facilitating professional opportunities.

When we got invitation to the International Young Ballet Festival in Geneva, we had no idea what to expect. Of course, everyone knew about Prix de Lausanne, crème de la crème of ballet, but Geneva festival did not ring a bell. Little that we knew…

What we saw on the stage made us doubt our priorities in ballet competition ratings and completely overturned our perception of Geneva as a sleepy picturesque destination in the schedules of occasionally touring ballet projects.

Upon entering the building of a converted pumping station, we literary were swung by the powerful vibe of the dance brotherhood and free spirit of youth. Right in the middle of the fashionably modern yet old-timing industrial interior we found ourselves amongst people who literary lived and breathed dance.

From the brochure we got to know that the event greatly facilitates exchanges between nearby schools, young ballet companies and their directors. The 2024 edition offered a large number of masterclasses with guest professors open to dance schools’ students, 2 evening shows and an audition for young dancers in front of a jury of directors from Rambert School, Antwerp Junior Ballet, Antwerp Junior Ballet Company, Area Jeune Ballet and Manuel Renard, ballet master of the Grand Theatre de Geneve. The audition also offered professional immersion internships to the most successful attendants.  Those were nice words written on paper, but nothing could prepare us to what those stage performances offered to the Geneva dance lover audience in real life.

Witnessing the incredible quality of the shows put together by junior dancers of the Dutch National Junior Company, Junior Ballet Anwerp, Area Jeune ballet and Rambert School made us uncomfortable about the organizers’ statement of giving opportunities to “raw talents”. Not only those talents were far from raw, but they also daringly challenged the royal basics of ballet bringing the art of dance into the different and very high skilled future. The irony of starting the final bow in traditional leotards and rehearsal skirts did not skip our attention. The artists passed their message straight: we appreciate the basics but it’s about time to move on. And they did move on gracefully.

The organizers of the event, Marie-Christine Maigret de Priches, Yvette Regueiro and Isabel Stoffels are no strangers to ballet classics. In the past if they didn’t dance professionally, they were engaged into the industry by sitting on board of the mentioned above Prix de Lausanne. This background brings even more appreciation to their desire not to stagnate but to keep dancers’ minds open and explore new forms of beloved art.

The Young Ballet Festival is organized annually since 2020 by the Dance Area school and the Dance Area Foundation with the support of private financial institutions and donors. The purpose of the foundation is to promote choreographic art in Geneva, dance education, training and support for young dancers and creators. Among other things, the foundation offers scholarships to aspiring dancers who cannot support themselves to access the artistic training.

Dance Area is a private school with the 25-year history of providing an inspiring learning environment where amateur, pre-professional and professional artists mingle, advocating diversity and encounters between artists from all walks of life.

To wrap up, we are glad we used this opportunity in Geneva to get ourselves acquainted with this outstanding event and will certainly recommend our potential fellows and scholars to follow up on the growth opportunities both the International Young Ballet Festival and Dance Area school offer to the young dancers.

To know more about the scholarships and programs Dance Area offers to aspiring dancers, please visit their websites:

Foundation https://fondationdancearea.ch/en/scholarships/

School https://dancearea.ch/en/about/#