YAGP is Upon Us!

It’s that time of year again when young dance talent from around the globe converge on New York City to compete in the largest international student dance competition in the world, the Youth America Grand Prix.

With hundreds of thousands of scholarship dollars on the line, these more than 1,000 dancers and their coaches have been working all year, often multiple years, to showcase their best work. Chosen from among many thousands who auditioned in the United States, Belgium, France, Italy, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Japan, and China, these remaining dancers hope to earn their place in one of the many top schools and companies that will be scouting throughout the event.

Featuring Gala events at Lincoln Center and 30 countries represented in the 2017 Finals, the schedule for this week’s culmination includes:

  • April 12 – YAGP Final Round
  • April 13 – ‘Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow’ Gala
  • April 14 – ‘Julie Bocca: Tribute to a Dance Legend’ Birthday Celebration with International Stars

To call the series star-studded is a vast understatement, as dozens upon dozens of legendary ballerinas and danseurs will be in attendance with many performing in the Galas. And you can be sure to truly see the stars of tomorrow, considering that over 300 YAGP alumni are now dancing with companies around the world like ABT, NYCB, Ailey, Paris Opera, Royal, Stuttgart, Dutch National, and the list goes on. It’s not hard to see why:

A few tickets to these events remain available to the YAGP festivities and can be purchased at https://davidhkochtheater.com. Can’t make it to NY? Subscribe and watch events unfold on youtube at https://www.youtube.com/user/vamproductions.

 

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Ballet in Film: First Position

Have you heard the buzz about First Position? This widely anticipated documentary follows six Youth America Grand Prix competitors. Director Bess Kargman’s experience as a ballet student is apparent in the footage, which films dancers with a real understanding of what makes dance movement something worth watching.

First Position premiered in Toronto earlier this month and is headed to film festivals in Boston, Vancouver, DC and New York City. A handful of stunning and intruiging trailers have been released, including this must-see extended version:

Youth America Grand Prix is the largest and probably best-known student ballet competition. Dancers compete for scholarships at international-level schools such as The Royal Ballet School and La Scala Ballet Academy, higher education scholarships at colleges such as Julliard and even apprentice or corps positions with world-class companies. Even those who do not medal are vying for the opportunity to be noticed by some of the most important and influential decision makers in dance today. Winners at YAGP often go on to rise to the highest levels in companies around the globe.

The stakes are high at the Youth American Grand Prix, but as YAGP founder and artistic director Larissa Saveliev reminded in an interview with Dance Magazine, “The medal doesn’t mean anything. We try to send that message as often as we can. The most valuable experience is the preparation for competing. It’s one thing when you take class and another when you rehearse a variation. And you have to learn as a dancer to able to perform under pressure. But when you are able to overcome your nerves, no audition will be a big deal.” Like the tagline says – Ballet is not for sissies.

Bolshoi Ballet to Hold Auditions

I never thought I would see this in my lifetime, but the Bolshoi Ballet is holding company auditions for the first time in its 235 year history. Invitation is required. To assist dancers, Youth American Grand Prix is now accepting submissions from YAGP alumni for recommendation consideration.

I think we can safely say that this is an unprecedented historical development in the dance world. Sincerest merde to all participants.