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Youth America Grand Prix, New York Finals 2017: The Final Round
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Youth America Grand Prix, New York Finals 2017: The Final Round

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Youth America Grand Prix
www.yagp.org
New York Finals 2017: The Final Round

Top Finalists for Junior (ages 12-14)
and Senior (ages 15-19) Categories

At
David H. Koch Theater
Lincoln Center
www.lincolncenter.org

Larissa Saveliev: Artistic Director and Founder
Gennadi Saveliev: President and Founder
Blair Hartley: Executive Director
Press: Jonathan Marder and Company, Inc.

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 12, 2017


The annual Youth America Grand Prix ballet competition draws many hundreds from the international ballet community, including student competitors, teachers, family, sponsors, and ballet aficionados from New York and well beyond. The final round of competition is held at Koch Theater, with screaming student fans in the upper tiers. Seemingly hundreds of floral bouquets can be seen in the audience, with parents, as well as students, already disqualified from the finals, showing up for support. The spirit and soul of this and the following night’s Gala are ebullient. First we see Junior Women, then Junior Men (ages 12-14), followed by Senior Women, then Senior Men (ages 15-19). Some of these students are already in dance ensembles and receiving school tutoring, while others are in junior or senior high school, practicing and studying dance every other moment.

Preparation for dance competition requires dedicating many hours/day to focused and grueling exercises and barre work, plus performance rehearsals. Over 10,000 students began the semi-finals rounds, in cities around the globe, as well as in 15 American cities. Only 1,200 students were invited to the New York finals. Tonight was the final round, after eliminations. Those who win, and many more, will be awarded scholarships to the world’s top dance schools and contracts to renowned dance companies. There were too many student performance highlights to mention or fully list. Some recorded music is heard over and over, as students have learned a variety of male and female solos for this competition.

Among the Junior Women, numerous dancers caught my eye tonight, especially Madison Penney (12), from Master Ballet Academy, Arizona, dancing Petipa’s Variation from “La Esmeralda”, along with Olivia Tweedy (13), from International City School of Ballet, Georgia, dancing Petipa’s Kitri Variation from “Don Quixote”, Grace Anne Curry (13), from A&A Ballet, Illinois, dancing Nijinska/Romanoff’s Variation from “La Fille Mal Gardée”, Dominie Lythgoe (13), from Classical Coaching Australia, dancing A. St. Léon’s Swanhilda Variation from “Coppélia”, and Juliette Bosco, an independent from New York, also dancing the Variation from “Esmeralda”.

Among the Junior Men, a smaller contingent than Junior Women, Takumi Miyake (13), from Kondo Ballet, Japan, especially caught my eye, dancing V. Bourmeister’s Variation from “Swan Lake”, plus Hideyuki Moriwaki (12), from Koike Ballet Studio, Japan, dancing Petipa’s Variation from “Don Quixote”, Lazaro Corrales (14), an independent from Canada, also dancing the Variation from “Don Quixote”, and Makani Yeng (14), from CityDance School and Conservatory, Maryland, dancing Petipa’s Variation from “Sleeping Beauty”.

Among Senior Women, all very talented and poised, it was very difficult to choose, but I was especially impressed with Ellie Borick (16), from Next Generation Ballet, Florida, dancing Petipa’s Kitri Act III Variation from “Don Quixote”, plus Katherine Stevens (16), from International City School of Ballet, Georgia, dancing Petipa’s Variation from “Raymonda”, Sophie Enns (17), from Ellison Ballet, New York, dancing Nijinska/Romanoff’s Variation from “La Fille Mal Gardée”, Astrid Lyngstad (18), from Oslo National Academy of the Arts, Norway, dancing the Perrot/Coralli Variation from “Giselle”, and Gloria Benaglia (19), from Ellison Ballet, New York, dancing Petipa’s Variation from “La Bayadère”.

Among the Senior Men, virtuosic athleticism was enthusiastically featured, with enormous audience fervor. I was especially impressed with Shu Kurihara (17), from Le Course de Ballet, Japan, dancing Petipa’s Variation from “Talisman”, plus Jun Young Yang (18), from Korea National University of Arts, dancing Petipa’s Variation from “Paquita”, Michael De La Nunez (18), from De La Dance Center, Ohio, dancing Petipa’s Act II Variation from “Le Corsaire”, Vsevolod Maevskyi (18), from Kiev National Choreographic School, Ukraine, also dancing the Variation from “Talisman”, and Luciano Perotto (19), from The Rock School for Dance Education, Pennsylvania, dancing the Vaganova Variation from “Diana & Acteon”.

Click Here to see a full list of winners of the 2017 YAGP competition. Kudos to all of tonight’s Finals competitors, kudos to the teachers and judges, and kudos to YAGP.



Dominie Lythgoe of Australia
in the Swanhilda Variation from "Coppélia"
Courtesy of Siggul/VAM Productions



Lazaro Corrales from Canada
in a Variation from "Don Quixote"
Courtesy of Siggul/VAM Productions



Takumi Miyake from Japan
in a Variation from "Swan Lake"
Courtesy of Siggul/VAM Productions



Gloria Benaglia from the USA
in a Variation from "La Bayadère"
Courtesy of Siggul/VAM Productions



Marianna Tsembenhoi from Ukraine
in the Kitri Variation from "Don Quixote"
Courtesy of Siggul/VAM Productions



Shu Kurihara from Japan
in a Variation from "The Talisman"
Courtesy of Siggul/VAM Productions


For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net