First Round: Best foot forward

First Round may not be the very first in line to leap to the defence of the private equity industry. After all, it is a private equity hack (read: frazzled pessimist) not a public relations professional (read: perma-cheerful smoozer).

But once in a while, something comes along which punctures even First Round’s cynicism.

For the last 10 years, Adveq has backed a globally renowned international ballet competition for young dancers, the Prix de Lausanne, which aims to provide a “springboard for talented dancers”.

This year’s winner of the firm’s scholarship is 17-year-old Italian Michele Esposito (who, as you can see from this impressive grand jeté, is perfectly capable of reaching dizzying heights on his own).

Esposito, who studies at the Tanzakademie Zürich, fought off 67 other candidates, who each performed their chosen classical and contemporary variations over a week-long competition.

The judging panel of nine internationally renowned dancers – headed by the director of the Royal Ballet, Kevin O’Hare – was on the lookout for “potential” over advanced skills.

With previous Prix de Lausanne winners going on to study at some of the best dance schools on the planet, including the UK’s Royal and English National Ballet Schools, the Ballet Academy in St Petersburg, Russia and Shanghai Dance School in China, Esposito could be destined to delight ballet-goers for years to come.

When it comes to “extra curriculars with nothing in it for them”, surely a youth ballet competition has to be well up there. Well done, Adveq. First Round – and all balletomane – applaud you.