Behind the Scenes at Youth America Grand Prix

Published in the June/July 2010 issue.

The tension backstage at the final round of Youth America Grand Prix was unmistakable. Frantic relevés alternated with quiet prayers. Each dancer anxiously waited to take her turn alone in front of the judges, knowing that if she did well, it could change her career.

 

Over 5,000 students from six continents compete in regional YAGP semifinals every year. The 300 finalists invited to the main event in New York City have a chance to make their dreams come true. Even if a dancer doesn’t place in the coveted “Top 12,” the opportunities and connections she can make are unmatched: Over $250,000 is awarded in scholarships annually, and more than 250 YAGP alumni now dance professionally in top companies around the world.

A section of the judges' table: (from left) Garry Trinder, Adam Sklute, Mavis Staines, Gailene Stock

Photo by Rachel Papo

Natalie Krakirian from Burbank School of Ballet

Photo by Rachel Papo

The Royal Ballet School's Claudia Dean

Photo by Rachel Papo

The senior women wait backstage

Photo by Rachel Papo

Ariele Gomes Moura Ribeiro of Brazil

Photo by Rachel Papo

The top 40 senior women at intermission

Photo by Rachel Papo

Hannah O'Neill from The Australian Ballet School

Photo by Rachel Papo

Makensie Howe from Alexandra School of Ballet, Missouri

Photo by Rachel Papo