A Jewish Canadian teenager has won the 46th Annual Prix de Lausanne International Ballet Competition. Shale Wagman, who is 17, won a gold medal in the competition - for dancers hoping to pursue a classical ballet career - and also took home the artistic prize.
“Winning is quite surreal and a dream come true," he told the Canadian Jewish News. "I’ve worked very hard. Dance is not a motivation for me, it’s my duty, it is what I have to do in this world. It’s like my air, so I do everything possible to be the best that I can be. People told me how moved they were after my performance and I realised how much power I have to move people, so that really was my greatest achievement,”
Wagman, who is from Toronto, has been studying ballet for only four years, although he began tap dancing at six. He is well known in Canada after reaching the finals of Canada’s Got Talent when he was 12. Aged just 14, he moved to Monaco to attend the Princess Grace Academy, and he hopes to join the English National Ballet next year.
“You have to live for your art," he said. "You have to have the right physique, train multiple hours a day, train abroad and you can’t be with your family. You have to constantly be searching and striving for this perfection."
He added: "I believe I am being guided in my life (by God) and it really helps me to stay grounded and know that I have a purpose: to dance and spread my passion and that comes from being Jewish."