So, after a few people adding their “insight” into the post about the Prix… lets be real here…the prix was founded in 1973, which means that ballet was still developing in South America and Asia. With that being said, we have to take that into account on the overall demographics of the prix… Ironically, Japan holds 57 winners, with their first win in 1978. Now, if we want to take into consideration population of this country, 127 million, the odds of a Japanese winner at the prix is roughly 4.4%. This is not taking into consideration the time span of their first win, and the changes of population. Not good odds… While say, someone from Australia’s chances of winning are 7.7% (holding 17 prizewinners since 1976, with a population of 23 million). The reality is now that the chances of a person from a country winning are less than .01% (The world’s population is 7 billion) which means to be selected into the finals 2.8 people out of a billion people will be selected… which is why it is a heralding compliment to be selected. Pretty insane right?
Now, the US, has a population standing at 316 million, and has had roughly 22 prize winners since 1979… that means the chances of a prize winner from the US is at 6%. Which means, out of the world population, the odds of a US Candidate winning is slightly larger than say someone from Australia or Belgium. Yet, Belgium has had 19 wins, from a population of 11 million. Korea has had 16 wins.
Now, if we want to look at the data of possible outcomes, the odds are still not in favor… From the prix’s conception there has been roughly 391 awards given out… Which means the odds of a Japanese winner is 15%. This means that if you are a part of the 4.4% of Japan’s population, that are exceptional in ballet, you have a 15% chance of winning at the prix. Pretty intense.
If you are from the USA, you literally only have .5% chance of winning if you make it to the finals. Intense.
Now, say like South Africa… the odds of someone from South Africa winning at the prix is less than .001%, which means once you are the prix the odds of you winning are .003%, that is super intense.
Now it might not be fair to count the entire prix’s history, as the world’s history of ballet is tainted with racism, communism and exposure… So, if we were to look at last year’s results, for the sake of saying that 2014 is the most diverse ballet has been, and 2014 brought world wide exposure to ballet, then the wins by country would stand at 3 Japan, 1 USA, 1 SPAIN, 1 FRANCE. (which ironically still reflects the overall numbers at the prix. ) If we look at this year’s numbers it is more diverse 1 Australia, 1 Korea, 2 Japan, 1 Portugal, 1 USA. So, what does this mean?
As the prix celebrates the excellence in ballet’s youth, and the opportunity to be fast tracked on the international stage, it means that unfortunately, ballet competitions will still always be skewed. There is a lack of funding, a lack of exposure, and an unfair advantage for those who don’t have the resources and exposure to ballet. This again also is a reflection of a country’s ability or idea that ballet should be supported by the state… This is also a reflection of the training in a country… Or, where the student trains…. for example most Koreans train at Universal Ballet in Washington DC. And, a lot of Euro candidates don’t train in their home countries… so is it fair? Who knows…
Numbers were taken from the Prix de laussane archives from conception to 2014. Demographics were taken from the world’s 2013 census. (www.prixdelaussanne.org)
Picture is from: http://www.prixdelausanne.org/gallery/2015-2/selection-day/