Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Ashley Coupal, 18, has become the second Canadian female to win a prize at the Prix de Lausanne.

Growing up in North Vancouver, aspiring ballerina Ashley Coupal had a dream to compete in the Prix de Lausanne. The prestigious international ballet competition issues a yearly wall calendar, and from the time she was eight, Ashley cut out photos of her face and pasted them onto the ballerinas’ bodies – a sort of annual childhood vision board.

When the 2022 edition comes out, there will be no need for Coupal, now 18, to get out the scissors and glue.

Last weekend, Coupal earned a spot on the calendar, named a winner at the competition – one of only two female winners. She is only the second Canadian female winner in the competition’s 49-year history.

Story continues below advertisement

“I still feel like I’m on cloud nine,” said Coupal on Wednesday from Florida, where she joined Orlando Ballet’s trainee program in 2019 and in 2020 was promoted to its second company. “I was so proud to represent my country,” she added.

Because of the pandemic, this year’s competition was held virtually, with only the jury in Switzerland. Dancers had to submit videos of classwork as well as a classical variation and a contemporary solo – a piece that applicants had to learn by video, with no in-person coaching.

Ashley cut out photos of herself and pasted them onto the ballet competition's annual wall calendar – a sort of annual childhood vision board.

Handout

For her classical piece, Coupal performed Giselle. And for her contemporary entry, she chose a piece called Rain.

“One of the reasons I chose this is because where I’m from, Vancouver, it rains a lot,” she says. “It reminded me of home and I thought I could really connect to that. And I knew the texture of rain, I knew how to move like rain, how to flow like water.”

Coupal began dancing at the age of three, attending the Pink Petal Ballet preschooler program at the Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre. By the time she was six, she was serious about dance as a career and began studying with ballet teacher Catherine Long. Then she attended the Goh Ballet Academy, where she learned under the direct tutelage of school director and former National Ballet principal dancer Chan Hon Goh.

Coupal attended Carson Graham Secondary in North Vancouver, but did her last two years of high school online because of her dance career.

Since childhood, she watched the Prix de Lausanne competition at home with her family, dreaming of competing. Three years ago, she applied – and didn’t get accepted.

Story continues below advertisement

“But I had to stay resilient and I decided to try again this year,” she says. “I didn’t make it in the first time but I had something in me saying don’t give up.”

This year, 82 candidates were selected; 78 of them participated and 20 finalists were chosen. The finals were held last Saturday, with six winners selected. Coupal finished sixth.

The prize gives her a one-year apprenticeship scholarship and living expenses at one of the Prize’s partner companies. She gets to choose from among some of the top companies in the world, including the Royal Ballet in the U.K., ABT Studio Company in New York, the Australian Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada’s YOU dance program.

“It all started with a dream,” Coupal says. “And honestly, it was such a great feeling to almost tell that little girl that I used to be that I was able to achieve it.”

Keep up to date with the weekly Nestruck on Theatre newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies