Sixteen-year-old dancer Bonnie Moore, a student at the Washington School of Ballet and apprentice ballerina with the associated Washington Ballet company, won a first prize in the Prix de Lausanne, the international ballet competition at Lausanne, Switzerland, Sunday night.
Moore's triumph comes just seven months after the precedent-shattering victory of the Washington Ballet's Amanda McKerrow, who, at 17, became the first American ever to win a gold medal in the Moscow Ballet Competition, sharing honors with yet another Washington Ballet dancer, Simon Dow, who won a prize for partnering.
Moore, on returning to Washington last night, said by phone from National Airport: "I'm very excited -- and very tired. I wasn't too nervous about the competition; I had decided I would just See LAUSANNE, C11, Col. 4 LAUSANNE, From C1 go over there and do my best, and that getting nervous wouldn't help." Her intention for the prize money is "putting it in the bank." As for future career plans: "I'll stay in Washington for now," she says. "I really don't have definite plans yet for the future."
With Moore was Mary Day, founder-director of the Washington Ballet. Said Day, "It was very exciting, of course. It was a very different kind of competition than any I've been to, and on a much smaller scale than Moscow. The contestants danced in practice clothes; there were no costumes until the finals. And the stage is very steeply raked, more so than anywhere. I was very confident about Bonnie, but I never know how the judges' tastes are going to run and I don't like to let myself get too sure until the end. Tomorrow morning we're going to sleep late, and then we'll get right back to work."
Prizes at the Lausanne competition are given in two categories according to the school the dancer attends. Moore's award brings her a cash prize of 4,000 Swiss francs (about $2,100) and a medal. For the contest, she danced Aurora's solo from the third act of "The Sleeping Beauty," and a solo from Gray Veredon's "Facets." Aurora's solo was also danced by McKerrow in the Moscow competition and Moore reported by phone to her mother in Phoenix that she wore the same crown McKerrow had worn, for good luck. Moore was accompanied to Lausanne, as McKerrow was to Moscow, by Mary Day.
Alton Miller, managing director of the Washington Ballet, said yesterday, "We were surprised and enormously pleased. But that's really only half true -- we weren't surprised that Bonnie took a first prize, because Mary Day had a good idea that's what she'd do, and Mary has proven herself a pretty good judge of these things. With Simon and Amanda and now Bonnie, we're going on stage next week at Lisner Auditorium with three international prize winners, and everybody's smiling."
Moore, who'll be 17 on Feb. 19, was born in Phoenix, where her father is a physician. She came to the Washington School of Ballet at Day's invitation in 1980, and soon began dancing with the company as an "aspirant" (apprentice dancer). The greatest part of her ballet training was with Mary Moe Adams at the Arizona Academy of Dancing in Tempe, Ariz., where she studied from 1971 to 1979. This past December, she danced her first Snow Queen in the Washington Ballet's annual "Nutcracker" production. Last October, she danced in Choo San Goh's "Fives" during the troupe's "Golden Gala" at Lisner, with Mikhail Baryshnikov as guest artist.
It was another competition, sponsored by the National Society of Arts and Letters, that brought Moore and Day together. Moore won first prize in the national finals of the NSAL 1980 ballet competition in New York, where Day had come to enter McKerrow, who took second prize.
The Lausanne competition, though not of the same size or order of prestige as the contests at Moscow and Varna, Bulgaria, is one of the world's half a dozen major international dance meets. It's been held annually since 1973, and is open only to dancers, male and female, between 15 and 19 who are nonprofessionals.
Moore's achievement at Lausanne marks the fifth time Mary Day has entered a Washington Ballet dancer in an international competition and come away with a medal. The earlier winners were Suzanne Longley (bronze) and Kevin McKenzie (silver) at Varna in 1972; and McKerrow and Dow in Moscow in 1981.
Former New York City Ballet dancer Patricia Neary was chairman of the Lausanne jury, which also included former Stuttgart Ballet principal Egon Madsen and Pierre Lacotte of the Paris Opera Ballet.