YAGP's Dazzling Constellation Includes David Hallberg as Impresario

April 12, 2015

It’s not only hundreds of wannabe dancers who are chomping at the bit to attend the gala nights of Youth America Grand Prix. It’s also New York’s ballet world in general. The gala this Thursday offers the “Stars of Tomorrow” in the first half (meaning the winners of this glittering youth ballet competition), and the “Stars of Today” in Act II.

Evgenia Obraztsova, photo by Mattew Karas for
Dance Magazine.

 And YAGP does not stint with its stars. The current ones slated to shine at the Koch Theater on Thursday include Isabella Boylston, the newest principal at American Ballet Theatre, and Kimin Kim, the dashing Korean dancer with the Mariinsky Ballet who will make his ABT debut this spring. Another dazzler from the Mariinsky is Kristina Shapran, who stole my heart in a piece by Benjamin Millepied. Familiar stars include Evgenia Obraztsova and Semyon Chudin from the Bolshoi, ABT’s Paloma Herrera, and Edward Watson from The Royal Ballet.

It’s not all about solo displays or pas de deux fireworks. I can tell you, since I am one of the judges in the ensemble category, that there will be at least one rousing ensemble. Further, YAGP artistic director Larissa Saveliev (who received a Dance Magazine Award last fall) also cultivates new choreographic voices at the galas. This Thursday we will see premieres by Emery LeCrone, Mauricio Wainrot and Anton Pimonov, who was named YAGP’s emerging choreographer. We’ll also see a piece created on the Joffrey Studio Company by Alexei Kremnev, a hilarious solo by Eric Gauthier (danced by the Mariinsky’s prince-like Brit, Xander Parish), and a duet by maverick Wayne McGregor.

The Mariinsky’s Katerina Kondaurova, here as
Nikiya in La Bayadère. Photo by Natasha Razina.

For the second gala night, superstar David Hallberg is presenting a Legacy evening. One could say this is his debut as an impresario. The program includes U.S. premieres by the Mariinsky’s Anton Pimonov, the Bolshoi’s Pierre Lacotte and the Australian Ballet’s Stephen Baynes. Plus, Swedish choreographer Pontus Lidberg has made a world premiere for the ABT Studio Company. (In this “Choreography in Focus” you can see my interview with Lidberg.) Clearly Hallberg’s choices reflect the fact that he’s a world traveler who cares about the future of ballet.

For more about the April 16 gala click here, and for David Hallberg’s Legacy evening on April 17, click here.