It's Youth America Grand Prix time again, and when the competition wraps up this week, we'll meet some of tomorrow's potential stars. YAGP has a track record of predicting some of ballet's biggest names. Take a walk down memory lane with us and see for yourself.


Sarah Lane

Before Sarah Lane earned her soloist spot at American Ballet Theatre (and graced our June/July 2015 cover), she won the senior bronze medal at the 2002 YAGP. Here she is as a poised, expressive 17-year-old, performing a variation from Paquita.

​Michaela DePrince

Michaela DePrince first became a household name after the documentary First Position chronicled her journey at YAGP in 2010. The then-14-year-old ended up winning a scholarship to the JKO School. Now she's developing her artistry at Dutch National Ballet, where she was recently promoted to soloist.

Sergei Polunin

Before developing his "bad boy" reputation, Sergei Polunin was the Grand Prix winner in 2006—and you can see why in this variation, from his onstage charisma to his strong turns and seemingly-effortless jumps. These days, he's exploring new avenues and defying expectations, and is slated to appear in two upcoming Hollywood films.

Melissa Hamilton 

Melissa Hamilton won the Grand Prix in 2007, and joined The Royal Ballet that same year. After taking a leave of absence to stretch her boundaries at Dresden Semperoper Ballett for a year, she's currently back at the Royal, where she's a first soloist.

Viral Videos

Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop gives pointe shoe fitting tips for what she calls "octopus feet"; feet that slide down and fit into whatever shoes they're in.

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Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine

It is perhaps the understatement of the century to say that Misty Copeland—American Ballet Theatre principal, trailblazing role model, and straight-up ballet icon—knows how to work a pair of pointe shoes. But a new campaign for Stuart Weitzman, in which Copeland trades her ballet "boots" for some boots of the more traditional kind, proves (yet again) that she's a dance goddess in any kind of footwear.

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Ballet Stars

For many a bunhead, "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" is not just a holiday tradition, but a rite of passage. The variation, with its tinkling celesta, bourrées and petit battus, is one that all ballet dancers are familiar with, and getting the opportunity to perform it often represents moving into new realms in your training or career. Such was the case for Soviet ballerina Ekaterina Maximova. In this 1957 clip, the 18-year-old aspirant performed the Sugar Plum variation at a ballet competition, where she represented the Bolshoi Ballet Academy.

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Viral Videos

Same feet, but different shoes... Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop interviews Milwaukee Ballet dancers and identical twin sisters Elizabeth Harrison and Marie Harrison-Collins to find out all of their pointe shoe hacks, proving once and for all just how individual each dancer's pointe shoe preferences are.

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