What you need to know about YAGP
For several years, Youth America Grand Prix’s Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow gala in New York City has showcased emerging artists of its competition alongside A-list dancers from around the world. For one night, the two generations share the stage to perform beloved classics and exciting world premieres.
This year, YAGP’s gala will be held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Howard Gilman Opera House, April 28. And, for the first time, there will be a second performance on April 29 only for participants, their parents and instructors. The program will be identical to the previous night and allow more competitors to attend than before. The drive behind this addition is simply to give these young dancers an opportunity to learn as much as they can from experienced performers representing the world’s best ballet companies.
The program for this year’s Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow gala will once again feature some of the most rare pairings of dancers, but will also limit the time allotted to stars of today, as the organization felt the need to give more stage time to the competitors, or tomorrow’s future stars. The cast includes: Stella Abrera of American Ballet Theater; Daniel Camargo of Stuttgart Ballet with Gillian Murphy of American Ballet Theater, Michaela DePrince and Edo Wijnen of Dutch National Ballet, Xander Parish of The Mariinsky Ballet, Melissa Hamilton of Dresden Ballet and The Royal Ballet, Artem Ovcharenko of the Bolshoi Ballet, Ekaterina Krysanova of the Bolshoi Ballet and Hannah O’Neill and Hugo Marchand of the Paris Opera Ballet.
Some special moments to look for during the gala performance involve a world premiere featuring Stella Abrera alongside six freestyle parkour artists, an appearance by the Blue Journey group with a mix of choreography and cutting edge screen projections (as seen on the TV show America’s Got Talent) and a heart-warming dedication to Shelley King, YAGP’s former director of operations, following her death last year. As the head of YAGP, Ms. King was an integral part of the organization and truly cared about the well-being and success of the competition’s participants. Her daughter, Rebecca King, a dancer with the Finnish National Ballet, is slated to perform in the tribute.
An unprecedented number of student dancers participated in YAGP this season, some 1300 competitors representing 36 countries. It is no wonder the organization holds their Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow gala as a celebration to cap off months of hard work leading up to the final round. Over the years, the organization’s mission has remained the same, to educate the next generation of dancers by offering scholarships to prestigious ballet schools around the world and by holding master classes with some of the best faculty in the industry. The result of this mission is clear, as many of the competition’s alumni are now dancing with top ballet companies. Through YAGP, they have truly become the stars of today.
(Top photo: Juliette Bosco, photo by VAM, courtesy of YAGP)