Raise your hand if you're excited for competition season! Youth America Grand Prix Regional Semi-Finals are well underway, leading up to the much-awaited New York Finals April 12-19. Even better, they're live-streamed, meaning you now have the perfect excuse to spend your weekend at home, watching ballet (while sewing your pointe shoes and stretching, of course).
This weekend features semi-finals in Seattle, Washington and Tampa, Florida. To see the full schedules and set up streaming, click here. Streaming starts at $13.99. Packages of 2, 4, 6 or 12 total viewing hours are available, and viewers can log in and out as often as they like.
ABT corps dancer Melanie Hamrick will be taking a leave of absence from the company's spring season, but for the best reason possible: She's working on her own ballet. Her piece is set to premiere in March, and will feature music curated by Hamrick's longtime boyfriend, Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger (cue the moves like Jagger puns).
Congratulations to the 2018 YAGP winners! After months of semi-finals, 1,800 dancers from around the world were chosen to attend a week of finals in New York, competing for ballet scholarships and contracts. We've been following the action all week (you can catch up on our backstage coverage, here). The 2018 competition wrapped up on April 19 with the Stars of Today Meet The Stars of Tomorrow gala which featured performances from pros like American Ballet Theatre's Isabella Boylston and New York City Ballet's Tiler Peck. Following today's awards ceremony, YAGP has just announced this year's winners (aka the dancers you're going to want make note of). Check out the full list and highlights from the competition below.
1st Place: Elisabeth Beyer (15), Ellison Ballet - Professional Training Program, NY, USA
2nd Place: Guo Wen Jin (16), Shanghai Dance School, China
YAGP 2018 New York Finals Week. Photo by VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.
Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've pulled together some highlights.
Youth America Grand Prix
After months of semi-finals, the final round of YAGP 2018 is finally here! This week, 1,800 finalists from 30 countries (chosen from the over 10,000 who auditioned) are gathered in New York. On April 18, the competition culminates in the Final Round at the Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, where the most promising participants will compete for scholarships and contracts with ballet schools and companies around the world. April 19 marks YAGP's Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow gala, featuring finalists from the competition alongside international ballet stars including Dutch National Ballet principal Sasha Mukhamedov, American Ballet Theatre's Isabella Boylston and Daniil Simkin, and New York City Ballet principal Daniel Ulbricht, among others. YAGP is live-streaming the finals all week—you can check it out on their website. Also, keep an eye on Pointe's social media channels tomorrow, April 17, for an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the competition.
Competing in YAGP this week? Here's a good luck message from ABT's Stella Abrera.
We've turned our clocks back and pulled out our scarves and hats. That can only mean one thing—winter's coming. And with it, the Prix de Lausanne. After carefully viewing video submissions from 380 dancers (297 girls and 83 boys), the Prix's jury of dance world professionals narrowed the pool down to 69 candidates. With the addition of nine candidates preselected at the Youth American Grand Prix in New York, the International Ballet and Choreography Competition in Beijing and the Prix de Lausanne's South American preselection in Montevideo, a total of 78 total candidates will be making their way to Switzerland in January. Get to know the seven U.S. competitors here, and stay tuned for more updates on the Prix in the coming months.
Finnian Carmeci, School of Oregon Ballet Theatre
Get to know 14-year-old Finnian Carmeci in this video interview from his Portland, Oregon–based school. Though Carmeci didn't start dancing until he was 12, he has focused on his technique and strength building and has skyrocketed through his school's curriculum.
Jordan Coutts,V&T Classical Ballet and Dance Academy
Jordan Coutts trains at V&T Classical Ballet and Dance Academy in Laguna Hills, California. Founders Victor and Tatiana Kasatsky teach a classic Vaganova style.
Here's Coutts in a variation from Paquita at the Moscow International Ballet Competition this summer.
Theo Pilette performs at the 2015 YAGP Finals. Photo by Taylor Brandt, Courtesy Ellison Ballet
Youth America Grand Prix, the world’s largest ballet scholarship competition, is about to get even bigger. The organization is holding its first semi-final in Beijing, China this weekend, and just announced that it is adding a new semi-final location and celebratory gala in Salt Lake City, UT, February 26–28.
Utah’s very own Ballet West is hosting the event, where young dancers will have an opportunity to take master classes at the Jessie Eccles Quinney Ballet Centre (the company’s new, $33 million state-of-the-art facility) and audition in it’s home theater. As an added bonus, YAGP will present a gala performance February 27 featuring an international roster of ballet stars soon to be announced, as well as past and present winners. The evening will also honor the life and career of Bruce Marks, former artistic director of Ballet West and Boston Ballet and former chairman of the USA International Ballet Competition. To register, click here.
Bruce Marks (far right) announcing the winners at YAGP's 2015 semi-final in Tampa. Courtesy YAGP