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Youth America Grand Prix Gala

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 28, 2003
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
140 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023
212.875.5456

About the Author:



Youth America Grand Prix Gala

www.yagp.org
201.592.0584
Alice Tully Hall
Lincoln Center, NY

www.lincolncenter.org
Gennadi Saveliev and Larissa Saveliev, Founders and Artistic Directors
Boris Shapiro, General Manager
Sergey Gordeev, Public Relations and Copywriting
Featuring:

Nina Ananiashvili (ABT), Alexandra Ansanelli (NYCB), Sandra Brown (ABT), Marty Lawson (Parsons Dance), Sebastien Marcovici (NYCB), Gillian Murphy (ABT), Desmond Richardson (Complexions),
Gennadi Saveliev (ABT), Carlos dos Santos, Jr. (Complexions),
Linda Celeste Sims (Alvin Ailey), Ethan Stiefel (ABT)
and
Winners of YAGP Ballet and Contemporary Dance
Scholarship Competition for Students

By Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 28, 2003


Finalists of Youth America Grand Prix 2003, Hosted by Lee Roy Reams:

In this segment, all the finalists returned onstage and danced the pieces that won their competitive and successful status. There was a mix of contemporary and classical motifs, with students like Brooklyn Mack, from Washington, DC, in daring sideways leaps, Daniel Deveison, from Brazil, with black shorts and a chair as prop, dancing to a hymnal prayer, Isaac Hernandez, from Mexico, in wild leaps, Christine Shevchenko of Pennsylvania, in daring red, with a coy fan and complete poise, and Angelina Zuccarini of Illinois, as an exquisite Temple Dancer in La Bayadere.


Emerging Choreographer Series—Velocity:

Choreography by Carlos dos Santos, Jr., Music by Joseph Schwantner, Performed by students of the Ailey School. This was a very colorful and electric celebration of the energy and dynamism of this Company (See Ailey Groundbreaking 1, 2 and See Ailey Reviews 1, 2, 3, 4). The barefoot students, in oranges and reds, danced in wild frenzy, heads swiveling and legs extending.


Grand Defilé:

Choreography by Carlos dos Santos, Jr. and Mikhail Tehoupakov, Music by Peter Tchaikovsky. In the most amazing sight, all YAGP participants danced in stark formation, squeezing onto the Tully stage, which is usually reserved for a chamber group or chorus. Kudos to the choreographers, who managed to train all the students in such a way that no dancers collided, as they wove through small and larger groups and performed a classical ballet extravaganza, all in black leotards. They were joyful, and their arms and hands shone like ornaments, decorating the stage with elegance and innocence.


Classical Ballet Presentation:

Choreography by Nikolai Morozov, Music by Glen Sales, Performed by Students of the Universal Ballet Academy, formerly the Kirov. To piano music and a ballet barre, this piece could have served as a live documentary of the study of ballet. Students in white practiced and danced in various ballet positions and formations.


Caught:

Choreography by David Parsons, Music by Robert Fripp, performed by Marty Lawson of Parsons Dance Company (See Parsons Review of Caught 1 and See Parsons Interview 1). This is the second time I saw this piece onstage, and I must say that the Joyce Theater was a more effective stage for this piece, which needs total darkness and up close intimacy to really appreciate the amazing strobe lighting and athletic effects. However, there was the element of surprise for most of the audience, who obviously loved this work, which is fascinating and dramatic. Marty Lawson is a wizard, to be able to time his leaps to achieve a floating and flying effect, as the lights flash on and off.


Black Swan Pas de Deux:

Choreography by Marius Petipa, Music by Peter Tchaikovsky, performed by Alexandra Ansanelli and Sebastien Marcovici, both of New York City Ballet. This is one of my favorite Pas de Deux', and Ms. Ansanelli and Mr. Marcovici valiantly tried to capture the tension and passion of this scene, which is usually sandwiched into the white swan swooning scenes. I am used to a wilder, black swan version, with more seductive chemistry between the partners. With a bit more practice, they definitely have the potential for the goal of passionate partnering. I liked the way Ms. Ansanelli switched moods, mid-motion, extending and then withdrawing her hand to Mr. Marcovici, to keep him wanting for more.

Lately:

Choreography by Dwight Rhoden, Music by Stevie Wonder, Performed by Sandra Brown (American Ballet Theatre) and Carlos dos Santos, Jr. This was a very well inspired piece, with two powerful dancers, intertwining, lifting, balancing, and self-expressing with power and bravura. The audience began to self-express, during this piece, a level of auditory appreciation that swelled, as the evening wore on.

The River(excerpt, Twin Cities):

Choreography by Alvin Ailey, Restaged by Masazumi Chaya, Original Score by Duke Ellington, Performed by Linda Celeste Sims (Alvin Ailey) and Desmond Richardson (Complexions). In my Ailey reviews (See Zlokower Ailey Reviews 1, 2, 3), I noticed the sheer virtuosic skills of Linda Celeste Sims. Desmond Richardson has always been a dynamo onstage, having danced with ABT years ago. He always amazed me, and tonight was no exception. This is an emotionally moving piece, with muscular togetherness and an overwhelming feeling of cultural identity and physical connection.

The Dying Swan:

Choreography by Sergei Fokine, Music by Saint Saëns, Performed by Nina Ananiashvili (American Ballet Theatre). This was a dance that is etched into my memory forever. Nina Ananiashvili is a quintessential swan, with undulating arms (See ABT Ananiashvilli Reviews 1, and See ABT Stage Door Candids 1,) and quivering face, everlasting extensions en pointe, and miraculous, multitudinous spins. I have never before seen her in this particular role, as opposed to Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. Without Prince Siegfried or the evil Rothbart, just alone, a dying swan, onstage and fast wilting, one can focus on her incredible talent. (I intend to focus this Spring ABT Season on Ms. Ananiashvili in several, classic full-length roles). This audience of balletomanes loudly gave Ms. Ananiashvili her due accolades for some time.

Pas de Trois from Le Corsaire:

Choreography by Alexander Gorsky, Music by Ludwig Minkus, Performed by Gillian Murphy, Ethan Stiefel, and Gennadi Saveliev (all of ABT). This was a perfect cast and perfect work to end the YAGP 2003 events. This trio of dynamic and virtuosic skills brought the audience to emotional abandon, during the courageous leaps and spins and lifts. They brought the audience to its feet at curtain time to a loud roar of approval. This is a bravura piece for bravura performers, and this was a very enticing peek at the quality expected, during this Spring ABT Season to come. This piece was also a model for the aspiring dancers backstage and an inspiration for the dance enthusiasts in the Hall. I have seen the full-length Le Corsaire at ABT (See Stage Door ABT Candids 1,), but excerpted like this was a small powerhouse of an ending to a powerhouse of a Gala.

Once more, Kudos to Boris Shapiro, to Gennadi and Larissa Saveliev, to Sergey Gordeev, to the Guest Artists, to the YAGP 2003 winners and participants, and to all those who created and supported this wonderful series of dance events. I was awarded a great two days at the ballet! For me, this was level gold.

More YAGP 2003.

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