By Katherine Moore of Dance Informa.
On April 9th, the Final Round competition of the prestigious Youth American Grand Prix will take place at Lincoln Center in New York City.
YAGP, the world’s largest ballet competition, culminates annually to award over $250,000 in scholarships to help young dance students attend leading dance schools in the United States and abroad. After passing through US and International semi-final rounds, aspiring dancers from around the globe gather in New York City with the hope of being able to compete in the Final Round.
In addition to offering educational opportunities and scholarships, YAGP also serves as primary arena for talented, hopeful dancers to gain employment contracts with top dance companies from around the world. Scouts from companies such as American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet and San Francisco Ballet all attend the competition to look at young, fresh talent. During the competition’s run, dancers have the opportunity to perform on some of the world’s most prestigious stages, as well as the chance to connect with peers and eminent professionals via gala events.
Throughout all of YAGP’s events, Capezio acts as a premier sponsor for the nonprofit organization, providing prizes and even professional pointe shoe fittings for the young dancers competing. One of the trademark symbols of YAGP is the Capezio jacket that all dancers who go to the Final Round or Gala receive.
In a 2013 interview with Dance Informa, Larissa Saveliev, Artistic Director of YAGP, commented on Capezio’s relationship with YAGP:
“Every dancer that comes to the YAGP Finals or Gala is given a Capezio jacket – and I keep seeing them everywhere. Just a few weeks ago I saw a news story about a choreographer doing a ballet at the Bolshoi and he was wearing the Capezio jacket from YAGP. A couple of years ago I saw a performance at Lincoln Center where the dancers were warming up on stage before the show with an open curtain, and a lot of them were wearing the Capezio jackets, too. I heard an audience member wonder if the dancers had a uniform! It was a funny moment, but I think it represents how Capezio is a major part of YAGP.”
Directly following the Final Round, the YAGP Gala 2014, “Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow,” will occur on April 10. This typically sold-out performance event features some of the world’s most talented young dancers on the same stage as leading professional dance stars. This year’s gala will present internationally-known dancers and choreographers from companies such as the Bolshoi Ballet, Munich State Opera Ballet, and Paris Opera Ballet, as well as a special premiere choreographed by Emmy Award-winning choreographer Derek Hough of Dancing with the Stars. This performance will feature an original score from composer Karen Le Frak and costumes by Ralph Rucci.
This year also marks YAGP’s 15th anniversary, and to honor this landmark, they will present a new program on April 11 of works by renowned international dance companies. Of particular note is the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater presentation of Pas de Duke choreographed by Alvin Ailey. Alicia Graf Mack of AAADT will be reprising Judith Jamison’s role, and Daniil Simkin of ABT will perform the role originally created for Mikhail Baryshnikov during this celebratory performance.
For more information about YAGP, visit www.yagp.org.