Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP), the world’s largest ballet scholarship competition, will host its 2021 U.S. Season Finals in Tampa, FL, from May 10-16. Over 800 talented dancers (ages nine through 19) from all over America will gather at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts to dance for judges from leading international dance institutions in hopes of winning up to $400,000 in scholarships. The Finals will be live-streamed on www.YAGP.org.
On May 13 and 16, YAGP will present a two-part Gala, Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow. YAGP Alumni performing include American Ballet Theatre’s Skylar Brandt, Aran Bell, Calvin Royal III, Cy Doherty and SunMi Park, as well as San Francisco Ballet’s WanTing Zhao and Benjamin Freemantle, Broadway’s Giuseppe Bausilio, and Adji Cissoko from LINES Ballet.
This YAGP season held live auditions in 26 locations throughout the United States from November 2020, through April 2021. YAGP is the only major dance competition that has continued giving dancers a chance to dance live on stage throughout the pandemic. More than 10,000 dancers were seen, taught and professionally evaluated by the world’s leading dance professionals at each venue. Strict health and safety measures – including mask wearing, weekly testing and timed dance slots – were implemented to make this a reality. City and state guidelines were followed, which allowed for zero COVID-19 cases during YAGP’s season.
“We are thrilled to be able to give our young participants a chance to perform live on stage at a time when most theaters around the world are closed,” said YAGP Founder and Artistic Director Larissa Saveliev. “To these young dancers, dance is their entire life, and they train tirelessly for the opportunity to do it professionally. The career of a ballerina already has a limited lifespan, and we couldn’t allow our dancers to lose a year due to the pandemic. We safely put dancers back on stage where they belong.”
For those dancers who were not ready to take part in live audition events, virtual auditions were conducted for dancers in America, Canada, and the Asia Pacific region.
Now, 800 of America’s most promising young dancers have been hand-selected to take part in the U.S. Season Finals. $400,000 in scholarships to prestigious dance academies will be awarded. Esteemed company directors will watch the performances (in person and online) to select scholarship candidates.
“For the past 12 years, since I have become the Director of the Academy, I have turned to YAGP as a major source of exceptional dance talent,” says Luca Masala, director of the Princess Grace Academy in Monaco. “And I’m happy that even in this very challenging environment, YAGP is continuing to audition talented young dancers around the world.”
Socially distanced seating configurations for the live Gala performances begin at $157.50 for a pod of two and are available at the Straz Center Ticket Sales Office. Handling fees will apply. For more information on the Straz Center’s health and safety guidelines, click here.
For those unable to join the live Galas, YAGP will present a virtual edition to the general public on May 23.
Visit www.yagp.org for more details.