You can always count on Youth America Grand Prix to bring in ballet’s biggest names—and last night’s YAGP gala in NYC was no exception. Teresa Reichlen? Viengsay Valdés? Dorothée Gilbert? Marcelo Gomes? Maria Kochetkova? Check, check, check, check and check. (And that’s the short list.) There was even the impossibly youthful Nina Ananiashvili dancing “Dying Swan” side-by-side with jookin’ sensation Lil Buck—which, unsurprisingly, brought the house down.
But YAGP’s galas are especially wonderful because they’re not just about the stars. They also include some of the competition’s most notable young dancers. To watch 13-year-old Gisele Bethea, this year’s junior division Grand Prix winner, flirt and flash her way through a flawless Esmeralda variation was to see a prima in the making. And there are few things in ballet more exciting than that.
YAGP recently posted lists of all its 2013 NYC finals winners on its Facebook page. Take a look—and remember those names. Odds are you’ll be seeing them in lights before long.