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Youth America Grand Prix: Final Round of The Competition 2013….

April 27, 2013

Logo YAGPEach year over 5,000 students audition worldwide in the Youth America Grand Prix Semi-Finals. The Semi-Finals are held in 12 major U.S. metropolitan areas as well as in Japan, Mexico, France, and Brazil. Of the 5,000 students that audition only 350 of the most promising, representing 30 countries on 5 continents, are chosen for the New York City Finals. The Final Round of the Competition has become one of the most anticipated events of the year.

The Final Round of The Competition is an opportunity for the general public to see the best of the competition as the top soloists in the Junior (12-14 years old) and Senior (15-19 years old) Age Divisions perform one last time before the winners are announced and the scholarship recipients disperse to continue their studies at top dance academies worldwide.

This year’s array of talent was extraordinary. Twelve Year old Isabella Franco began the evening with her Variation from Coppélia and what a start it was. Tiny as she was that did not stop her from tackling her variation with the utmost daring. Her pique turns were spot on, excellent in deed.

Winning the Youth Grand Prix Junior Women’s Division was 13-year-old Gisele Bethea from the Master Ballet Academy in Arizona. Ms. Bethea possesses am intrinsic lyricism to her dancing that made her shine during her Variation from Esmeralda.

Gabriel Figueredo, 12, from Brazil won the Junior Men’s Youth Grand Prix. He was a little powerhouse performing a stunning Variation from La Fille Mal Grande.

Daniel Alejandro McCormick-Quintero, 13, from the USA won the Junior Men’s Gold and we saw why with his Variation from Nutcracker. Mr. McCormick-Quintero had great height in his jumps and incredible control of his turns.

David Preciado, 14, from the USA and studies at the Los Angeles Ballet Academy came in Fourth in the Junior Men’s Division. I think we will hear a lot from this young dancer, he blends his dancing with a natural musicality that makes you want to see him perform.

Lex Ishimoto, 14, from Southland Ballet Academy, USA, performed a Variation from Flames of Paris that I thought near to perfection. All I could say after the performance was WOW! His ability to turn is amazing and it’s matched by his elevation and control of his jumps. A very exciting performance…

Sophie Sea Silnicki, 15, from the Pittsburg Ballet Theater must be mentioned for her Variation from Raymonda. Ms. Silnicki dazzled us; in a red tutu she performed faultless repeated Entrechat Quatre landing en pointe. My toes hurt just watching it…

Scout Forsythe, 16, from the San Diego Ballet School came in Seventh in the Senior Women’s Division. Her Variation from Raymonda was so inspired that not a sound was too be heard from the audience, collectively we became completely still. Ms. Forsythe danced with a somber dignity that quietly commanded our respect. She possessed the perfect amount of drama recurred for the role with beautiful arms and expression. Her performance was peppered with a triple pirouette here and there. It was a wonderful, wonderful performance and masterfully done.

I did not want Jennifer Grace, 16, from the Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy, USA, to stop dancing. Ms. Grace came in Fifth in the Senior Women’s Division and I am sure we will hear much about this dancer in the not too distant future.

I was surprised that Amanda Moraes Gomes, 17, from the Bolshoi School in Brazil only came in Tenth in the Senior Women’s Division. She performed her Don Quixote Variation like a seasoned professional. Truly, I thought one of the best, it not the best performance in the Senior Women’s Division of the night.

Though Joo Won Ahn, 19, from the Korea National University, Republic of Korea won Gold in the Men’s Senior Division but it is the Bronze medal performance of Adhonay Soares da Silva, 15, for Bale Jovem Gustav Ritter in Brazil that I remember. At 15, Mr. da Silva is someone to keep an eye on; he performs great pirouettes with a tour en l’air that is effortless. All he needs is more seasoning to become a truly spectacularly gifted artist.

Cesar Corrales, 16, from Cuba has a bright future indeed. Coming in Seventh in the Men’s Senior Division his Bournonville La Fille Mal Gardee Variation I thought one of the best of the night’s performances. Mr. Corrales has amazing musicality and expression with great height on his jumps. I expect that he will be invited to join one of the major ballet companies soon.

Why Tomoha Terada, 18, from The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia ranked only at Fifth position of the Men’s Senior Division is beyond me. Mr. Terada gave the most exciting performances of the night, for any division. His Acteon Variation from Diana and Acteon was one of the best I have ever seen, period! He soared though the air, arching his body sideways in his leaps; his turns were powerful statements of passion. After I saw his performance I thought “Let’s just go ahead and award him the Grand Prix and go home.” So the fact he placed at only fifth greatly disappointed me. I am not questioning the judges at all, I have too much respect for each and every one…I was just somewhat shocked he did not receive at least a medal. But it must be stated that I witnessed only one performances of the many Mr. Terada performed during the competition, so perhaps the decision was based not just on this performance, but a total of all the performances preformed.

Launched in 1999 by two former dancers of the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet, Larissa and Gennadi Saveliev, YAGP was created with a mission to provide extraordinary educational and professional opportunities to young dancers, acting as a stepping stone to a professional dance career. Each year YAGP awards over $250,000 annually in scholarships to leading dance schools worldwide. Over 300 YAGP alumni are now dancing with 50 companies around the world, including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, among others.

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