Tyler Donatelli's blog

After receiving the Youth Grand Prix Award in Youth America Grand Prix's Los Angeles Regional, I was already looking forward to New York. The environment in New York was so inspiring. After a few days my time came to perform in the Junior Women's Contemporary category. It all happened so fast: One moment I was doing my hair, the next I was warming up backstage and then I was performing in front of some of the most recognized people in the dance world. Pretty soon I was panting off stage.

The time has come for the last performance of the Ballet Grand Prix Tour. The Fillmore at the Jackie Gleason Theater auditorium is beautiful. Chandeliers hanging from the ceiling make me feel very special while I am on stage. I really wanted to enjoy the last performance on the tour so I could end this experience on a good note! The whole time I've been here, I have been so happy, along with my fellow dancers from Southland Ballet Academy.

Wow! Already time for the second performance? The time on the tour has been flying by so quickly!  My schedule today consisted of the following: At 9 AM my studio members went down to have breakfast, where we saw all the other student performers and some of the professionals. After that, the entire group from the show took a class taught by Mikhail Kaniskin, a professional from the Berlin State Opera Ballet who is performing two contemporary pieces. Then we had a run-through of the entire show.

Off to the next city: Charleston! We drove for four hours before finally arriving in South Carolina. After a long morning on the bus, we moved into our new hotel, then scurried off to rehearsal at the Galliard Auditorium. The stage was really big, as was the audience. After rehearsing, we all went to a group dinner, which was really enjoyable!

Traveling is a big part of a tour. Today, the Ballet Grand Prix group of students took an eight hour long bus trip! The drive took us to our destination in Alabama, where we would spend the night and rest for another four hour drive the next day. While on the bus, my friends and I played games, caught up on sleep, watched movies and enjoyed each others company. This long trip enabled everyone to get to know one another a little better. In all, the day was pretty relaxing and helped the dancers to revive their energy from the opening performance in Germantown.

While warming up in the wings today at the Germantown Performing Arts Center, I noticed some pre-show rituals that the professional dancers used. Running around the stage seemed to be the most popular. Everyone was very relaxed, joking around and laughing. Praying and vigorous relevés also took place. I also noticed that some of the dancers were hurt, yet when they stepped onto the stage they completely tuned their injuries out. 

For the first time ever, Youth America Grand Prix is producing "Ballet Grand Prix," a gala tour presenting YAGP winners and some of today's biggest ballet talent: Jose Manuel Carreño, Irina Dvorovenko, Michele Wiles, Drew Jacoby, Rubinald Pronk, and more. Fourteen-year-old Tyler Donatelli from Southland Ballet Academy shares her experiences performing on the tour with pointemagazine.com.