YAGP’s 25th Anniversary Gala Captured In Fabulous Pose Perfect Photographs

April 23, 2024

Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) – the world’s largest student ballet scholarship organization.

Celebrated its 25th Anniversary with its signature Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow Gala at Lincoln Center in NYC.

Patrons were welcomed by YAGP Founder Larissa Saveliev and Creative Chair Marcella Hymowitz. In recognition of Marcella’s advocacy for dance, “YAGP is excited to announce a $1 million dollar endowment; the Marcella Hymowitz Creative Fellowship!

For the next 10 years, it will allow dancers from around the globe to create groundbreaking, innovative work that will push the art of dance into the future. This generous gift is from Marcella’s husband, Gregg Hymowitz, and the Hymowitz Family Foundation”, shared Julie Kent, American Ballet Theatre’s longest-serving ballerina and current Houston Ballet Co-Artistic Director. Gregg surprised Marcella at the Gala with this news.

Sergey Gordeev, YAGP Director of External Affairs, announced that the U.S. Senate passed a resolution, submitted by Senators Chuck Schumer and Marsha Blackburn, that “Youth America Grand Prix, throughout its 25 years of service, is the national youth dance competition of the United States”.

Hundreds of young aspiring ballerinas in white tutus covered the David. H Koch Theater stage, performing a Grand Défilé, a YAGP traditional pièce d’occasion, to open the evening. A congratulatory video with celebrities and ballet leaders was shown, which included Misty Copeland (Principal, ABT), Susan Jaffe (Artistic Director, ABT), Julie Kent (Co-AD, Houston Ballet), Natalia Makarova (Former Principal Dancer of ABT, Royal Ballet, and Bolshoi Ballet), Tate McRae, Kevin O’Hare (Director, Royal Ballet), Sascha Radetsky (AD, ABT Studio Company), Rob Schneider, Sasha de Sola (Principal, San Francisco Ballet), Stanton Welch (Co-AD, Houston Ballet), and many more. This was one of a variety of special video projection sequences, creative and directed by Joshua Beamish. 

Two World Premieres followed; one by James Whiteside with ABT’s Isabella Boylston, Catherine Hurlin, and Jake Roxander, and live musical performance by pianist and composer Matthew Whitaker; the second World Premiere by Maria Konrad, with Alonzo King LINES Ballet’s Adji Cissoko and English National Ballet’s Vsevolod Maievskyi, with music by Karen LeFrak. The evening’s cast also included ABT’s Aran Bell, Elisabeth Beyer Skylar Brandt, Daniel Camargo, Chloe Misseldine, Brady Farrar (ABT Studio Company), Isabella LaFreniere (New York City Ballet), Bianca Scudamore (Paris Opera Ballet), Elisa Badenes (The Stuttgart Ballet), and more. 

Many of today’s ballet stars were once YAGP competitors themselves. Their achievements were honored in front of a sold-out theater that cheered to videos showing their early dance footage at YAGP auditions; including ABT’s Calvin Royal III, Christine Schevchenko, Cory Stearns; Royal Ballet’s Cesar Corrales, Melissa Hamilton; Boston Ballet’s Michaela DePrince; The Stuttgart Ballet’s Mackenzie Brown, Gabriel Figueredo; New York City Ballet’s Sara Mearns, Taylor Stanley, Indiana Woodward, Emma Von Enck; Houston Ballet’s Tyler Donatelli; Dutch National Ballet’s Constantine Allen; Philadelphia Ballet’s Sterling Baca; among many others. 

The black-tie dinner included guests Maria Christina Anzola, Brian Atwood, Hallie Batchelder, Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky, Ashley Bouder, Barbara Brandt, Candace Bushnell, Todd Cohen, Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig, Ashlee Rose Hartley, Carolina Herrera, Judith M. Hoffman, Kamie Lightburn, Christina Lyon, Linda and Ed Morse, Juliano Nunes, Cynthia Rowley, Carlos Dos Santos, Gabe Stone Shayer, and Rob Vecsler. Gala Committee chairs included Paul Arnhold and Wes Gordon, Julia Arnhold, Michael and Dennis Basso, Elissa Brenner, Chelsea Clinton, Rebecca Hessel Cohen, Courtney Davis, Aly Gradone, Melanie Hamrick, Sarah Hoover, Lilli Hymowitz, Lindsay Kraus, Candice Miller, Colby Mugrabi, Grace Pomeranc, Lilah Ramzi, Emily Reifel, Indre Rockefeller, Priya Shukla, Daniela W. Tisch, Barbara Tober, Virginia Wettlaufer Tomenson, Lesley Thompson Vecsler, and Lila Wallach. 

Artists and fashion designers created custom pointe shoes – with pearls, rhinestones, feathers, and lace – that decorated the promenade during dinner. YAGP’s Pointe Project included Alicia+Olivia, Altuzarra, Aquazzura, Rosie Assoulin, Brian Atwood, Dennis Basso, Fer Da Silva, Dylan’s Candy Bar by Dylan Lauren, Carolina Herrera, KHAITE, Libby Klein, Michael Kors, Adam Lippes, LoveShackFancy, Markarian, Vanessa Noel, Michelle Ochs for Herve Leger, Alejandra Alanso Rojas, The Row, Cynthia Rowley, The Elder Statesman, and Giuseppe Zanotti. 

The ballet slippers are online for auction until April 23rd, 2024 at 9 pm EST: www.givebutter.com/c/YAGP2024/auction.

Artist Deanna First, whose colorful ballet drawings covered the invitation, menu, and dance floor installation, did live illustrations on site for patrons and dancers. 

YAGP thanks sponsors 4AM, All Access Event Services, Aphrodise, Canard, Casamigos, Girl & Garden, MyStory Wine, Net-A-Porter, Proto’s ser Primero, and Wagner Family Wine.

Youth America Grand Prix

Youth America Grand Prix is the largest global network of dance. YAGP fulfills its mission of dance education through scholarship auditions, master classes, alumni services, performances, and education. 

Over the past 25 years, $5 million has been awarded in scholarships to the world’s leading dance schools, with up to $500,000 now awarded annually. Since YAGP’s founding in 1999, over 250,000 young dancers – ages 9 to 19 – of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds have participated in YAGP’s international workshops, audition classes, and dance awareness events. Today, more than 15,000 young dancers audition annually. 450 YAGP alumni are now dancing with 80 professional companies around the world, including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, The Royal Ballet, and many others. Over 100 of these alumni are soloists and Principal Dancers. 

In 2019 during the COVID-19 pandemic, YAGP was the first dance organization to become entirely virtual, offering masterclasses and workshops as well as virtual auditions to complete the YAGP season.

In 2022, when the war in Ukraine began, YAGP immediately started its Ukraine Relief campaign, relocating dance students from Ukraine to YAGP partner schools in Europe and the United States. Over 200 dancers have now been relocated to safely continue their training and path to a professional career in dance.  

In 2023, YAGP reinstated its Job Fair, now held bi-annually in Europe at The Stuttgart Ballet’s John Cranko School in Germany and in America at Nashville Ballet. Over 70 job offers were extended last year.

Photo credit: 1) Karine Plantadit. 2) Calvin Royal III. 3) Candace Bushnell. 4) Ashlee Rose Hartley, Charles Tighe. 5) Dennis Basso, Chris DiLella. 6) Simony Monteiro, Josie Walsh, Brannan Osburn Berman, Juliano Nunes, Christina Lyon, Nicola Wills, Alexandra Perzhu. 7) Melanie Hamrick. 8) Michelle Ochs, Samantha Pariente, Aly Gradone. 9) Irina Dvorovenko, Emma Beloserkovsky.

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