Youth America Grand Prix is the worlds largest international student dance competition, which awards $250,000 in scholarships each year to dance schools within the United States and internationally. It is held internationally each year, with final competitions taking place in New York City. It includes ballet and contemporary dance styles of performance. It is open to dance students 8–19 years old.
Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) is the world’s largest and one of the most prestigious international ballet competitions. It is also a New York-based 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization.
The mission of YAGP is to provide educational and professional opportunities to young dancers, acting as a stepping stone to a professional dance career by offering scholarships or job opportunities to young dancers ages 9 to 19.
“The Youth America Grand Prix is a crucial coming together of the ballet community – competitors, alumni, teachers, choreographers, composers, dance legends, enthusiasts, and the attending public.” – Emily Yewell Volin, Dance Informa
Each year there are over 5,000 participants competing for elite scholarships. The regional competitions are conducted in 12 cities in the US and in 5 international locations. Selected students from these competitions are invited to New York City to participate at the YAGP Finals. YAGP offers dance students the opportunity to be seen, taught and professionally guided by the directors and faculty of the world’s foremost companies and schools, including: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Australian Ballet School, Canada’s National Ballet School, John Cranko School of Stuttgart Ballet (Germany), La Scala Ballet Academy (Italy), Paris Opera Ballet, and The Royal Ballet School (England), among others.
In 2005, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized YAGP’s contribution to international dance education by awarding it with a membership in UNESCO’s prestigious Conseil International de la Danse (CID).
YAGP was founded in 1999 by two former dancers of the Bolshoi Ballet, Larissa and Gennadi Saveliev (who is currently a soloist at American Ballet Theatre). The competition quickly became the largest in the United States, and is internationally recognized.
"Youth America Grand Prix has grown to become the largest and one of the most influential youth ballet competitions in the world" and has become “a game changer in the dance world” – Laura Bleiberg, Los Angeles Times.
The number of participating students, teachers, dance schools and companies exceeds all others with great cultural and ethnic diversity. “Almost overnight, Youth America Grand Prix created a central ballet marketplace.” – Laura Bleiberg, Los Angeles Times.
YAGP’s annual gala “Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow” Gala is an event presenting current dancers, as well as younger pre-professional dancers.
Many ballet stars have their New York Debut in the “Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow” Gala. They have included:
YAGP also presented a number of dancers’ last appearance in New York, including Paris Opera Ballet’s Etoile dancer Manuel Legris, Bolshoi Ballet’s Nikolai Tsiskaridze and The Royal Ballet’s Darcey Bussell.
The program of the Gala ranges from the well-known ballet classics to cutting-edge contemporary choreography. Its main objective is linked to the YAGP mission which is to educate not only the next generation of ballet artists, but also the next generation of ballet audiences.
YAGP also introduced its now widely-acclaimed educational Gala series, “Legends In Dance”, which in 2012 featured Ballerina Assoluta, Natalia Makarova.
The YAGP Gala is “the highlight of the season!” – The late Clive Barnes, NY Post
The YAGP Gala performers are “a truly impressive parade of artists.” - Jocelyn Noveck, The Moscow Times (AP)
“The evening was full of high spirits - Jocelyn Noveck, The Moscow Times (AP)
“…. the bows naturally brought the audience to its feet” – Brian Seibert, The New York Times
“We were already cheering at the top of our lungs during the standing ovation, when Kevin McKenzie gestured to Marcelo Gomes and David Hallberg to lift her up high. Then we really went crazy”” Wendy Perron, Dance Magazine
“The sheer number of ballet greats inside … was enough to leave me completely star struck.” – Rachel Zar, Dance Spirit
“There was artistry in abundance of todays most celebrated ballerinas from around the globe … The men were the worlds best as well. The sold-out house was filled with grown-ups who knew how to appreciate what they were watching” – Sondra Forsyth, Dance Art
“The Makarova gala crowned three, remarkable evenings of performances by international artists and by Youth America Grand Prix hopefuls.
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