Ballet Stars
Miriam Miller as Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo by Paul Kolnik, Courtesy New York City Ballet.

Each year, the Princess Grace Foundation honors an extraordinary group of artists. This year, ballet got a major nod. Six of the eight winners in the dance performance and choreography category are ballet-related. (The other two are Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Jacquelin Harris and downtown dance-theater choreographer Raja Feather Kelly.) While you already know some of these names, we're excited to follow the careers of newcomers, like current Juilliard dance major Mikaela Kelly. Past Princess Grace Award winners include the likes of Carlos Acosta, Gillian Murphy and Tiler Peck, so they're in exceptional company.

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Tyson Ali Clark. Photo by Igor Burlak Photography, courtesy Boston Ballet.

Every year, the Princess Grace Foundation-USA recognizes a group of exceptional dancers and choreographers with scholarships, apprenticeships and fellowships—and gets us excited about emerging talent to watch. The 2016 Princess Grace Award winners, announced this week, are no exception.

Fifteen-year-old Tyson Ali Clark, a trainee at Boston Ballet School, is one of the dance recipients for 2016. A Massachusetts native, he started training with BBS in 2008 and has spent summers at the School of American Ballet and Houston Ballet Academy. He became a BBS trainee on full merit scholarship last year, and has performed with the main company and Boston Ballet II in works like The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and John Neumeier's Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler.

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2013 Princess Grace Statue Award winner Tiler Peck with Amar Ramasar in Balanchine's Allegro Brillante. Courtesy NYCB.

A few years ago, Isabella Boylston told Pointe there's an elite club at American Ballet Theatre: "The Princesses." It's corps member Blaine Hoven's nickname for the dancers like David Hallberg and Gillian Murphy who've been awarded a prestigious Princess Grace Award.

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Although some companies have tightened their belts over the past few years, the Princess Grace Foundation has remained a reliable source of financial support for emerging artists. Each year, the judging panel chooses five or six up-and-coming dancers to receive a Princess Grace Award.

 

Applications are open to students in preprofessional dance schools or undergraduate programs and professionals who have been with their company for less than five years. Candidates must submit a joint application with their school or company, which can only nominate one dancer per year. Student winners receive a scholarship that covers one year of tuition at their school, and professionals are given one year of salary at their company. 

 

Apply by April 30 at pgfusa.org.

The 2012 Princess Grace Award winners were just announced. The recipients in dance include Ballet West's favorite up-and-comer and "Breaking Pointe" star Beckanne Sisk, as well as Jamal R. Callender of Ballet Hispanico, Albert Gordon of The Washington Ballet School, Franco Nieto of Northwest Dance Project, Raymond S. Pinto from Juilliard and David Schultz from Hubbard Street. Student winners recieve a year's scholarship at their school; professionals have a year of their salary paid for by the Princess Grace Foundation. Even more helpful than the money is the boost of prestige that comes with being a "Princess": It's an elite club that includes some of the greatest artists in the world. Congratulations to all!

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