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Youth America Grand Prix 2006 Gala I
-Onstage with the Dancers

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Youth America Grand Prix Galas 2006

City Center

Larissa Saveliev: Artistic Director
Gennadi Saveliev: President and Executive Director
Susan Jaffe: Artistic Coordinator
Sergey Gordeev: Director of Public Relations and External Affairs

Featuring Renowned Guest Artists
Winners of YAGP Ballet and Contemporary Dance
Scholarship Competition for Students
(See YAGP 2006 Winners)

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 22, 2006
Originally Published on

Act I: The Stars of Tomorrow
Hosted by Christopher Wheeldon
(Notes by Sergey Gordeev)

Ryosuke Morimoto, 11
(Tanaka Ballet Art School, Japan)
Variation from Satanella
(Choreographer: Marius Petipa)

Mallory Clark, 14
(Yuri Grigoriev School of Ballet, CA/USA)
By George!
(Choreographer: Charles Maple)

Mariana Layn Prado, 11,
Alberto Rodriguez Velazquez, 15
(Somento Artistico Cordobas, Cuba/Mexico)
Pas De Deux from Harlequinade
(Choreographer: Marius Petipa)

Hannah Schiller, 13
(Pacific Coast Academy of Dance,
Le Corsaire
(Choreographer: Marius Petipa)

Steven Loch,14
(The Ballet Conservatory, Texas/USA)
(Choreographer: Kelly Lanin)

Shiori Kase, 14
(Hirose Kato Ballet Studio, Japan)
Black Swan Variation
(Marius Petipa)

Students of Orlando Ballet School,
Drigo Divertissements
(Choreographer: Laurie Jones)

Jeffrey Cirio, 14
(Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet,
Variation from Giselle
(Choreographer: Marius Petipa)

Isabella Maylart ,13
(Pavilihao d Centro De Artes, Brazil)
Variation from Harlequinade
(Choreographer: Marius Petipa)

Jun Tanabe, 17
(The Rock School for Dance Education, Pennsylvania/USA)
Variation from Diana and Acteon
(Choreographer: A. Vaganova)

Students of Southland Ballet Academy, California/USA
(Choreographer: Viktor Plotnikov)
Winners of Youth America Grand Prix 2006
International Student Ballet and Contemporary Dance Scholarship Competition.

Mathias Dingman,17
(Universal Ballet Academy, Washington, D.C./USA)
Rhythm Foot
(Choreographer: Viktor Plotnikov)

Ayano Tsuchiya,18
(Setsuko Ichikawa Ballet, Japan)
Variation from Grand Pas Classique
(Choreographer: V. Gsovsky)

Joseph Gorak, 16
(Orlando Ballet School, Florida/USA)
Coming of Age
(Choreographer: Salim Gauwloos)

Sergei Polunin, 16
(Royal Ballet School, United Kingdom)
Variation from Nutcracker
(Choreographer: M. Petipa)

Grand Defilé (pièce d'occasion featuring all YAGP participants)
Choreography: Carlos dos Santos, Jr., Music: Anatol Liadov.

Act II: The Stars of Today

YAGP Alumni currently with ABT:
Isabella Boylston, Melanie Hamrick, Hee Seo,
Gray Davis, Matthew Golding, Bo Busby
Pièce d'Occasion
Choreography: Carlos dos Santos, Jr.
Music: Emmanuel Chabrier

Julie Kent (ABT),
Artem Shpilevsky (Berlin State Opera)
Choreography: Pierrot/Coralli
Music: Adolphe Adam

Karine Plantadit (Movin' Out),
Ian Carney (Movin' Out)
Moving Out: the musical (excerpt)
Choreography: Twyla Tharp
Music: Billy Joel

Wendy Whelan,
Sebastien Marcovici (NYCB)
Flight of Angels
Choreography: Edwaard Liang
Music: John Tavener

Jason Hartley (The Washington Ballet)
Blue Until June (excerpt)
Choreography: Trey McIntyre
Music: Songs recorded by Etta James

Denis and Anastasia Matvyenko
(Ukrainian National Opera/Bolshoi Ballet)
Grand Pas Classique
Choreography: Victor Gsovsky
Music: Daniel-Francois-Esprit Auber

Yasmine Lee (MOMIX)
The Last Vaudevillian
Choreography: Brian Sanders
Music: Traditional

Yana Serebriakova,
Igor Zelensky (Maryinsky Theatre)
Choreography: Mikhail Fokine
Music: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Gennadi Saveliev (ABT)
Choreography: Rostislav Zakharov
Music: Vasily Solovyov-Sedoi

Darcey Bussell,
David Makhateli (Royal Ballet)
Choreography: Sir Kenneth MacMillan
Music: Jules Massenet

Sofiane Sylve (NYCB),
Marcelo Gomes (ABT)
Choreography: Marius Petipa
Music: Riccardo Drigo

It is re-assuring each year to see the fresh young dance talent that flocks to New York for the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) competitions, finals, and Stars of Tomorrow portion of the YAGP Gala. It is also thrilling each year to be treated to virtuosic performances by some of the most renowned ballet principals from around the globe in the Stars of Today portion of these Galas. In fact, the YAGP Galas have become so popular over the years that, this year, Founders Larissa and Gennadi Saveliev, in addition to Sergey Gordeev, created two almost completely different Galas, accommodating more competition finalists, more international ballet principals, and twice the audience at City Center. This was no small feat, as the extensive program above exemplifies.

Among notable Stars of Tomorrow performances, it was obvious that the ballet youth in Japan are thriving, as Ayano Tsuchiya and Shiori Kase, two of the numerous finalists from Japan, were exceptionally poised in their respective presentations of Gsovsky's and Petipa's choreography. Mariana Layn Prado and Alberto Rodriguez Velazquez, from Cuba and Mexico, danced a charming and charismatic Pas de Deux from Harlequinade, and the students from Orlando Florida were well prepared for the Drigo Divertissements. Carlos Dos Santos, Jr. is a master at choreographing the Grand Defilé, with hundreds of YAGP participants on stage in black leotards in carefully orchestrated motion and figurative friezes.

In Stars of Today, Julie Kent of ABT danced an ethereal Giselle, expertly partnered by Artem Shpilevsky of Berlin State Opera. These Galas are an opportunity for serious modern and ballet students to see the finest dancers from the crème de la crème dance companies. The vocal adoration from the audience, in hoots and yelps has youthful fervor that drives the onstage energy over the top. In one such instance, Karine Plantadit and Ian Carney of Movin' Out, a former Broadway hit, defied gravity and human hormones in athletic prowess and power. In contrast, Wendy Whelan and Sébastien Marcovici of NYC Ballet were quintessentially elegant in Edwaard Liang's Flight of Angels. Yasmine Lee, of MOMIX, lying on the floor and then bouncing on her "head", was featured in extraordinary gyrations to Kletzmer music.

High points continued to catapult onstage with Gennadi Saveliev's signature Gopak, with his lightning leaps and spins, some almost unimaginable. Sheherezade was repeated at both Galas, as the daring duo from Mariinsky Theatre were mesmerizing and magical in their dance. Sofiane Sylve and Marcelo Gomes, both quite familiar to New York balletomanes, and from opposite sides of "The Plaza", are quite a partnership and should be seen together often. In tonight's Gala, their Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux had joy and chemistry. A rare treat at both Galas was the appearance of Darcey Bussell, partnered by David Makhateli, both of Royal Ballet, in two performances of Manon, a ballet which is included in this season's ABT repertoire. Ms. Bussell repeatedly clung and lunged with passion into her partner's arms and onto his torso in this poignant piece. This is ballet captured for memory.

Another Star of Today is Christopher Wheeldon, renowned Choreographer in Residence at NYC Ballet, who is an entertaining raconteur and resilient host. To read about Mr. Wheeldon's choreography, See NYC Ballet Reviews. Kudos to YAGP's Larissa Saveliev, Gennadi Saveliev, Susan Jaffe, and Sergey Gordeev, kudos to Christopher Wheeldon, and kudos to all the Stars of Tomorrow and Stars of Today.

Ayano Tsuchiya (Setsuko Ichikawa Ballet, Japan)
Photo courtesy of Gene Schiavone

See more photos from YAGP 2006


For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at