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Youth America Grand Prix 2008 Gala
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Youth America Grand Prix 2008 Gala

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Youth America Grand Prix Gala 2008
www.yagp.org

City Center
www.citycenter.org

(See YAGP Gala 2007)

Larissa Saveliev: Founder and Artistic Director
Gennadi Saveliev: Founder and President
Ann Marie D’Angelo: Artistic Consultant
Sergey Gordeev: Director of Public Relations and External Affairs

Featuring Renowned Guest Artists
and
Winners of YAGP Ballet and Contemporary Dance
Scholarship Competition for Students
(See YAGP 2008 Winners)


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 21, 2008


Act I: The Stars of Tomorrow
Hosted by Alan Cumming
(Notes by Sergey Gordeev)


Marcelino Sambe, 13
(Escola De Danza Do Conservatotio Nacional, PORTUGAL)
Variation from “Harlequinade”, Choreography: Marius Petipa

Saori Otsudo, 12
(Soki Ballet School, JAPAN) Bronze Medal, Junior Women’s Division
Variation from “Le Corsaire”, Choreography: Marius Petipa

Esteban E. Hernandez, 13
(The Rock Center for Dance Education, PA/USA) Gold Medal, Junior Men’s Division
Variation from “Diana and Acteon”, Choreography: Agrippina Vaganova

Yuya Takahashi, 14
(Okawa Atsuko Ballet Studio, JAPAN)
”My Eye Sight 20/230”, Choreography: Raul Raimindo Rebeck

Skylar Paley Brandt, 14
(The JKO School at ABT, NY/USA) Silver Medal, Junior Women’s Division
”Stranded”, Choreography: Adam Hougland

Zhang Zhi Yao, 14
(Beijing Dance Academy, PR of CHINA) Silver Medal, Junior Men’s Division
”Variation from Napoli”, Choreography: August Bournonville

Mariana Layun Prado, 13
(Fomento Artistico Cordobes, MEXICO) Gold Medal, Junior Women’s Division
”Clavé”, Choreography: Adria Luz Velazquez

Derek Dunn, 12
(Edna Lee Dance Studio, MD/USA) Youth Grand Prix Award
Variation from “Flames of Paris”, Choreography: Vasily Veinonen

Students of The Rock Center for Dance Education, PA/USA, 2007 Outstanding School Award
”Veloce Brioso”, Choreography: Christopher Flemming

Katlyn Addison, 19
(Houston Ballet Ben Stevenson Academy, TX/USA) Sarah Chapin Langham Award
”Murcof”, Choreography: Garrett Smith

Bryn Gilbert, 15
(Southland Ballet Academy, CA/USA)
Ballerina Variation from “Études”, Choreography: Harald Landers

Irlan Dos Santos Silva, 17
(Centro De Danca Rio, BRAZIL) Outstanding Contemporary Dancer Award
”Spiritus Spiral”, Choreography: Cristina Cara

Emily Kadow, 15
(Ellison Ballet – Professional Training Program, NY/USA) Bronze Medal, Senior Women’s Division
Variation from “La Bayadère”, Choreography: Marius Petipa

Kaisey Johnston, 18
(National College of Dance, AUSTRALIA)
”Raining in Baltimore”, Choreography: Debbit Linnert, Kaisey Johnston

Students of the Pacific Coast Academy, CA/USA
”Unusual Proportions”, Choreography: Viktor Uygan, Viktor Kasatsky, Tatiana Kasatsky

Benjamin Ella, 16
(The Royal Ballet School, UK) Silver Medal, Senior Men’s Division
Variation from “La Bayadère”, Choreography: Marius Petipa

Kirsten Wicklund, 17
(Goh Ballet Academy, CANADA)
”The Hill”, Choreography: Nicki Loud

Vadim Muntagirov, 17
(The Royal Ballet School, UK) Gold Medal, Senior Men’s Division
Variation from “Don Quixote”, Choreography: Marius Petipa

Rocio Aranzazú Alemán Benavides, 15
(Escuela Superior de Musica y Danza de Monterrey, MEXICO) Gold Medal, Senior Women’s Division
Variation from “Sleeping Beauty”, Choreography: Marius Petipa

Norbert Lukaszehski, 18
(John Cranko School, GERMANY) Grand Prix Award
”Les Bourgeois”, Choreography: Ben Van Cauwenbergh

The Finalists of YAGP 2008 International student ballet and contemporary dance competition
”Grand Defilé”, Choreography: Carlos dos Santos, Jr.


Act II: The Stars of Today

Greta Hodgkinson (National Ballet of Canada), Roberto Bolle (La Scala Ballet)
“Petit Mort” Choreography: Jiri Kylian, Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Sarawanee Tanatanit, Blaine Hoven
(American Ballet Theatre)
“Tacacá” – WORLD PREMIERE Choreography: Marcelo Gomes, Music: Batucada Brasileira

Jin Yao, Huang Zhen
(Hong Kong Ballet)
“Grand Pas Classique” Choreography: Daniel Auber, Music: Victor Gsovsky

Drew Jacoby, Rubinald Pronk
(Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company)
“Alloy” – WORLD PREMIERE Choreography: Adam Hougland, Music: Schlagwerk Nordwest Percussion Ensemble

Wendy Whelan, Philip Neal
(New York City Ballet)
“Chaconne”
Choreography: George Balanchine, Music: Christoph Willibald Gluck © The George Balanchine Trust

Natalia Osipova, Ivan Vasiliev
(Bolshoi Ballet)
“Flames of Paris” Pas de Deux Choreography: Vasily Veinonen, Music: Ludwig Minkus

Nicole Loizides, Steven Marshall
(MOMIX)
“Millennium Skiva” Choreography: Moses Pendleton and Company, Music: Brainbug

Polina Semionova (Berlin State Opera Ballet), Roberto Bolle (La Scala Ballet)
“Carmen” Choreography: Roland Petit, Music: George Bizet

Mizuka Ueno (Tokyo Ballet),
Jose Manuel Carreño, David Hallberg (American Ballet Theatre)
“Le Corsaire” Pas de Trois Choreography: Marius Petipa, Music: Richard Drigo


Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) was formed in 1999 to foster a world-class, week-long competition for students 9 to 19 from all around the globe. The winners will receive scholarships to renowned dance schools, after the culminating Gala has been performed, and, during, the rehearsals, the students are coached by faculty from prestigious ballet companies, such as American Ballet Theatre, Paris Opera Ballet, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. YAGP has awarded over $1,000,000.00 in scholarships, and its alumni now dance with 50 different companies, such as New York City Ballet and San Francisco Ballet.

Tonight’s annual Gala presented “Stars of Tomorrow”, 20 finalists of the 2008 YAGP competition, followed by the now familiar, “Grand Defilé”, choreographed, as always, b y Carlos dos Santos, Jr., with all YAGP finalists , youngest to oldest, onstage in various ensemble leaps, lifts, lunges, and luscious imagery. It’s always mind-boggling how the coaches manage to fit the very packed choreography onto one stage, with students usually in simple black leotards. This year’s choreography had the youngest males dancing across front stage, with the youngest females in groupings.

Among the “Stars of Tomorrow”, the tiniest to tallest male dancers seemed to be prepping for that “Bravura” reputation that comes with rapid, dizzying spins and backward leaps in circles, such as Saori Otsudo, age 12, in a “Le Corsaire” Variation. Marcelino Sambe, 13, and Vadim Muntagirov, 17, also performed in that bellicose style, respectively in Variations from “Harlequinade” and “Don Quixote”. Among the females, Skylar Paley Brandt, 14, danced with a strong attitude, in “Stranded”, with good balance and en pointe much of the time, while Mariana Layun Prado, 13, danced with a sexy, engaging attitude in “Clavé”. One of the finest youth ensemble dances was “Unusual Proportions”, danced by students of the Pacific Coast Academy, with faces on their bellies and the cutest costumes imaginable. Norbert Lukaszehski, 18, danced as an intoxicated playboy, in a loose suit, in “Les Bourgeois”, while Rocio Aranzazú Alemán Benavides, 15, was silky smooth and stunning in a Variation from “Sleeping Beauty”.

Alan Cumming, tonight’s Host, could not have been more perfect for the occasion, as he pronounced each foreign name, above, with clarity and worldliness, and his sense of humor and casual remarks were enjoyed by the Gala audience and by the YAGP students, who each year fill the balcony in numbers and fill this event with loud whoops and screams and vocal adoration. How wonderful to know there’s youthful enthusiasm for forms of culture beyond rock and hip-hop. In fact, the students were just as wild about the “Stars of Today”, many of whose performances they were probably experiencing for the first time, as they were wild about their friends in “Stars of Tomorrow”. When Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev, of the Bolshoi Ballet, finished their “Flames of Paris” Pas de deux, the upstairs crowd equaled the downstairs crowd in deafening applause and shrieks.

This duo from the Bolshoi exemplified the theme of the evening, virtuosity and vivaciousness, with rapid spins, leaps, pirouettes, an en air elevation. Also rarified, among “Stars of Today”, were Mizuka Ueno (Tokyo Ballet) with Jose Manuel Carreño and David Hallberg (both ABT), who performed the finale with pizzazz, as Ms. Ueno completed her 32 fouettés, while Mr. Carreño and Mr. Hallberg did their usual classically infused tours de force. Roberto Bolle, from la Scala Ballet, partnered both Greta Hodgkinson (National Ballet of Canada) and Polina Semionova (Berlin State Opera Ballet) in, respectively, Jiri Kylian’s “Petit Mort” and Roland Petit’s “Carmen”. Mr. Bolle was already familiar in New York from his ABT performances last year, and he was certainly welcomed back enthusiastically. The Kylian duet brought out Mr. Bolle in briefs, and his supreme muscularity was fully highlighted. The duet, to Mozart, was erotic and energized. The Carmen duet was, on the other hand, more restrained, classically costumed, and, for this viewer, much more engaging and persuasive. Polina Semionova should be seen more often in New York.

American Ballet Theatre sent, in addition to Mr. Hallberg, Sarawanee Tanatanit and Blaine Hoven, who danced a World Premiere by Marcelo Gomes, an ABT principal, called Tacacá. This upbeat work had a pulsating Brazilian score, and it may be safe to predict more such Brazilian-infused choreography from its native son, Mr. Gomes. The Hong Kong Ballet sent Jin Yao and Huang Zhen to perform Daniel Auber’s “Grand Pas Classique”, who shone brightly and stylistically, representing their country with pride. The second World Premiere, “Alloy”, from Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company, brought Drew Jacoby and Rubinald Pronk onstage, a couple seen about town, free-lancing for special ballet events, and “Alloy” proved to be an electronically charged and athletic display, fine for the upstairs crowd.

New York City Ballet, au contraire, sent Wendy Whelan and Philip Neal for an understated, but perfectly tuned “Chaconne”, a Balanchine gem. Both Ms. Whelan and Mr. Neal received accolades for their attentive and natural partnering and seasoned strength. Another contrast in programming was found in Moses Pendleton’s (MOMIX) “Millennium Skiva”, with Nicole Loizides and Steven Marshall in silver unitards, on very long skis, balancing against gravity in somersaults and backward-forward falls and twists. Kudos to the entire YAGP Staff, Coaches, Judges, Participants, and Winners, and kudos to tonight’s Guest Performers and Host, Alan Cumming. I am already looking forward to YAGP 2009.



Rocio Aranzazú Aleman Benavides, 15 (MEXICO),
Senior Women Gold medalist, scholarship recipient to
American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive (USA)
and the John Cranko School of Stuttgart Ballet (GERMANY),
performing in the YAGP 2008 NYC Finals. Photo by Segoul.




Skylar Brandt, 14 (NY, USA), Junior Women Silver medalist, performing at the
YAGP 2008 Gala at NY City Center.
Photo by Segoul.



Derek Dunn, 12 (MD, USA), Youth Grand Prix Award winner and scholarship recipient to the
Kirov Academy of Ballet (DC, USA), performing at the
YAGP 2008 Gala at NY City Center.
Photo by Segoul.




Emily Kadow, 15 (NY, USA), Senior Women Bronze medalist and scholarship recipient to
The Royal Ballet School (UK), performing in the YAGP 2008 NYC Finals.
Photo by Segoul.




Norbert Lukaszehski, 18 (GERMANY), Grand Prix Award winner,
performing in the YAGP 2008 NYC Finals.
Photo by Segoul.




Mariana Layun Prado, 13 (MEXICO), Junior Women Gold medalist,
performing at the YAGP 2008 Finals.
Photo by Segoul.




Lawrence Rines, 17 (PA, USA) performing at the YAGP 2008 Finals.
Photo by Gene Schiavone.




Zhang Zhi Yao, 14 (CHINA), scholarship recipient to American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive (USA),
Junior Men Silver medalist, performing at the YAGP 2008 Gala at NY City Center.
Photo by Gene Schiavone.




Greta Hodgkinson (National Ballet of Canada) and Roberto Bolle (La Scala Ballet) performing at the
YAGP 2008 Gala at NY City Center.
Photo by Gene Schiavone.



Drew Jacoby and Rubinald Pronk (Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company)
performing at the YAGP 2008 Gala at NY City Center.
Photo by Segoul.




Natalia Osipova (Bolshoi Ballet) performing at the YAGP 2008 Gala at NY City Center.
Photo by Gene Schiavone.



Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev (Bolshoi Ballet) performing at the YAGP 2008 Gala at NY City Center.
Photo by Gene Schiavone.




Polina Semionova (Berlin State Opera Ballet) and Roberto Bolle (La Scala Ballet) performing at the
YAGP 2008 Gala at NY City Center.
Photo by Gene Schiavone.



Mizuka Ueno (Tokyo Ballet) and David Hallberg (ABT) performing at the YAGP 2008 Gala
at NY City Center.
Photo by Gene Schiavone.



Wendy Whelan and Philip Neal (NYCB) performing at the YAGP 2008 Gala
at NY City Center.
Photo by Gene Schiavone.




For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net