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FOR RELEASE FEBRUARY 7,2013
CONTACT:
SARAH LAM
713-535-3226
KIMBERLY CEDENO
713-535-3224
pr@houstonballet.org 

HOUSTON BALLET II DANCER JOEL WOELLNER
WINS TWO PRIZES AT PRESTIGIOUS
PRIX DE LAUSANNE BALLET COMPETITION
 

Eighteen Year-Old Australian Dancer
Wins Contemporary Dance Prize

HOUSTON, TX - Houston Ballet II Dancer Joel Woellner was awarded two prizes at the 41st Prix de Lausanne Dance Competition, the prestigious international contest held annually in Lausanne, Switzerland between January 27 and February 2, 2013. Mr. Woellner placed sixth overall out of 78 international contestants and won the Contemporary Dance Prize. Mr. Woellner was the only student from an American ballet school to be awarded a prize.

Eighteen year-old Joel Woellner was prepared by -- and accompanied to the competition in Switzerland by -- Houston Ballet II Ballet Master Claudio Munoz and Houston Ballet's Academy Director Shelly Power.

The Prix de Lausanne International Ballet Competition is open to young dancers ages 15 - 18 who are not yet professionals. The jury is composed of nine internationally renowned dance personalities, representing different countries and a broad palette of ballet styles. Young dancers from around the world send a video to Lausanne. Over 250 candidates submitted DVD's initially. The Artistic Committee selects candidates to take part in the competition. During the week in Lausanne, candidates are judged both during a dance class and individually on stage. Twenty competitors progress to the final round, a live performance attended by key figures from the ballet world. Between six and eight young dancers receive a scholarship. 

Since 2009, Houston Ballet's Academy has had five academy students win prizes at the prestigious international ballet competition the Prix de Lausanne, with one student winning the overall competition in 2010.

This year, Houston Ballet II, Houston Ballet's second company of young dancers, made their first appearance in Switzerland, performing Stanton Welch's neoclassical work, A Dance in the Garden of Mirth, at the Théâtre de Beaulieu in Lausanne, Switzerland as part of the climax of the prestigious 41st annual Prix de Lausanne International Ballet Competition and to follow were the awards ceremony. The performance was televised in Switzerland and viewers could also watch via live stream broadcast across the world.

Shelly Power, Academy Director commented, "This competition is different from others because students are seen not only on stage in their variation performances but also in daily classes in both ballet and contemporary. Coaching is another area the jury observes and evaluates how a student might grow as a professional. Joel did an amazing job as noted by the judges in all areas but especially in coaching as he demonstrated his ability to adapt to a variety of styles and repertoire which is imperative for a long and diverse career."

A native of Sydney, Australia, Mr. Woellner is studying full time at the Houston Ballet Academy in Houston, Texas U.S.A. and is a member of Houston Ballet II. He received a full scholarship with Houston Ballet as a result of his participation in the Finals of Youth America Grand Prix, 2011 New York. Joel has qualified for the semi-finals of the Prix de Lausanne in both 2012 and 2013. He has competed in many ballet competitions and eisteddfods, Welsh festivals of literature, music, and performance. Some of his achievements include: 2011 Alana Haines Australasian Awards - 1st Runner-up B group. 2010 Finalist Senior Ballet Scholarship Sydney Eisteddfod. He will perform as part of Houston Ballet's Academy Spring Showcase at Wortham Theater Center April 26-27, 2013. Tickets may be purchased by calling 713 227 2787 or by visiting www.houstonballet.org.

For more information on the Prix de Lausanne, log on to the Prix de Lausanne's web site: www.prixdelausanne.org.