What It Feels Like to Be at a Major Competition Again

When asked to describe the energy at this month’s Youth America Grand Prix Finals, judge Sascha Radetsky had one word: “Stratospheric.” More than 800 dancers from around the United States—selected from 10,000 who’d taken part in regional events—competed onstage at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, Florida, for the competition’s season Finals […]

What I Learned About Judges By Becoming One for Youth America Grand Prix

What’s actually going on in judges’ heads? I got a first-hand chance to find out when, over three days in early March, I judged 334 classical and contemporary solos from dancers ages 9 to 19 at the Boston semi-finals of Youth America Grand Prix. Putting exact numbers to qualities like “musicality” and “épaulement” is just […]

The 7 Youth America Grand Prix Competitors You Should Have Your Eye On

Youth America Grand Prix, the world’s largest student ballet competition, is coming up on the end of its 20th-anniversary season. As aspiring pre-professionals gear up for this year’s New York Finals, we’re taking a look at a handful of YAGP participants who are already generating major buzz. Gabriel Figueredo Age: 18 School: John Cranko School […]

How Young Is Too Young For Pointe Work?

In 2018, the Youth America Grand Prix added a rule: For participants under age 12, performing on pointe became strongly discouraged. For those under 11, it became prohibited. The competition organizers made these changes after jury members, teachers and others raised concerns about students being pushed to perform on pointe too early. Larissa Saveliev, YAGP […]

Is the US Government Cracking Down on Artists' Visas?

In late March, The Joyce Theater’s annual gala performance included a last-minute substitution: Blueprint, by choreographer Pam Tanowitz. The trio took the place of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Faun, after two Paris Opéra Ballet dancers were unable to secure visas to appear onstage in the U.S. “It was a shock,” says Linda Shelton, executive director at […]

Why Do Some of the Most Talented Dancers Never "Make It"?

Since its founding in 1999, more than 80,000 ballet dancers have participated in Youth America Grand Prix events. While more than 450 alumni are currently dancing in companies across the world, the vast majority—tens of thousands—never turn that professional corner. And these are just the statistics from one competition. “You may have the best teacher […]

Beyond A Medal: How To Get More Out Of Competitions

By itself, a competition trophy won’t really prepare you for professional life. Sometimes it is not even a plus. “Some directors are afraid that a kid who wins a lot of medals will come to their company with too many expectations,” says Youth America Grand Prix artistic director Larissa Saveliev. “Directors want to mold young […]

The Most Influential People in Dance Today: Larissa Saveliev

Not only has Larissa Saveliev made competition “acceptable” for ballet students, but her blockbuster Youth America Grand Prix has given those students a chance to measure themselves against peers from across the world—and be seen by directors. More than 450 YAGP alums are currently dancing in professional companies around the world. Read the rest of […]