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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
Performance Reviews
Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP)
New York City Center
United States
New York City
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New York, NY

Youth America Grand Prix Gala 2005

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 18, 2005
New York City Center
130 West 56th Street
(Audience Entrance is on West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
(Entrance for Studios and Offices is on West 56th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
New York, NY 10019

About the Author:

Youth America Grand Prix Gala 2005

Youth America Grand Prix Gala 2005

City Center

(See YAGP Gala 2004 and 2003)

Larissa Saveliev, Founder and Artistic Director
Gennadi Saveliev, Founder, President and Executive Director
Susan Jaffe, Artistic Coordinator
Sergey Gordeev, Director of Public Relations

Roberta Marquez and David Makhateli (The Royal Ballet),
James A. Pierce, Gregory Sinacori, and Ricardo Zayas (Ailey II),
Kenta Shimizu (YAGP Alumnus, Miami City Ballet),
Wendy Whelan and Peter Boal (New York City Ballet),
Alexandra Ansanelli (New York City Ballet),
Bridget Breiner and Douglas Lee (Stuttgart Ballet), Cynthia Quinn (MOMIX), Ashley Bouder and Joaquin de Luz (New York City Ballet), Sandra Brown and Desmond Richardson (Complexions Contemporary Ballet), Lorna Feijoo and José Manuel Carreño
(Boston Ballet and American Ballet Theatre)

Winners of YAGP Ballet and Contemporary Dance
Scholarship Competition for Students
(See YAGP Winners)

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 18, 2005

Act I: The Stars of Tomorrow
Hosted by Lee Roy Reams
(Finalist Notes provided by Sergey Gordeev)

The Stars of Tomorrow presented a rare performance of unbridled talent, youthful exuberance, and fresh interpretation of old classics and new repertoire. There was Lagaan, Asian ensemble dancing with exotic flourishes and twists of the hands for cultural authenticity. There was Little Bird, a modern dance in a pastel, chiffony pants outfit. There was an untitled work that brought the acrobatic, muscular dancer to an extra curtain call, a performer who had hitchhiked from Upstate New York to this competitive series of events. And, there was the requisite Grand Defilé, with all the tiniest and the older, but very youthful, YAGP participants, all in black leotards, entering and exiting and stretching and twirling on musical cue, carefully choreographed by Carlos dos Santos, Jr. The list of promising stars follows.

Mariana Layún Prado, 10, Mexico. Variation from Don Quixote. Pre-competitive age division, which includes the youngest dancers, ages 9-11.

Isabella Maylart, 12, Brazil. Variation from Copélia. Winner of the Bronze medal in Junior Women's category.

An ensemble from the Clara Noyes Academy of Ballet Internationale, Indiana, United States. Lagaan. 1st place in ensemble category.

Choi Young Gyu, 14, Korea. Variation from Giselle. Winner of the Silver medal in Junior men's category (tie).

Anne Sandefur, 17, FL, United States. Little Bird. During the competition, the judges see many pieces that do not quite make it to a prize-winning spot, but which are very beautiful. This is one of them.

Daniel Henrique Camargo, 13, Brazil. Variation from Flames of Paris. Daniel shared the Silver Medal in the Junior men's category with Choi Young Gyu from Korea and also received a scholarship to the John Cranko School of Stuttgart Ballet.

Whitney Jensen, 12, New York, United States. Prey. Winner of the Gold Medal in the Junior Women's category and the recipient of the scholarship to the Australian Ballet School.

Irlan Dos Santas Silva, 14, Brazil. Variation from Don Quixote. Gold Medal in the Junior Men's category, recipient of the scholarship to the Harid Conservatory in Florida, United States.

Hanako Matsune, 14, Japan. Aurora Variation, Sleeping Beauty. Almost every participating school offered her a scholarship, and she chose Paris Opera Ballet School.

Yi Jee Jang, 17, Korea. Circulation. Another beautiful number from the competition

Quenby Hersh, 17, CA, United States. Variation from La Esmeralda. Silver Medal in Senior women's category, won scholarship to the Royal Ballet School. The Senior category includes dancers 15-19 years old.

Christian Squires, 18, South Carolina, United States. Quest. The jury panel was impressed with the artistry of this dancer, who received the Outstanding Artistry Award.

Huang Rui, 18, Shenzhen Arts School, China. Variation from Le Corsaire. Bronze Medal in Senior Women's category.

An ensemble from Lyceu Escola De Dança, Brazil. Flocos de Neve. The Youth America Grand Prix judges saw this number during the YAGP semi-finals in Brazil and invited the participants to perform at the YAGP Gala in New York.

Roderick George, 19, NY. Untitled. Winner of the Bronze Medal in Senior Men and the Outstanding Contemporary Dance interpretation award.

Hideko Karasawa, 16, Japan. Variation from Raymonda. Gold Medal in Senior women, recipient of scholarship to San Francisco Ballet School.

Mary Thomas, 16, Alabama, United States. Bach Variation. Grand Prix Winner - received the professional contract to the ABT Studio Company (best overall in her senior age division).

Joseph Gorak and Caitlin Valentine, FL, United States. Grand Pas Classique, Pas de Deux. Joseph is a Gold Medal in Senior Men's division, won scholarship to the Royal Ballet School.

Grand Defile. Featuring all participants of the competition. Choreographed by Carlos dos Santos. This piece is a tradition of Youth America Grand Prix. Choreographed and staged in only three days, it is a unique chance for the participants from all around the world to come together and perform on this famous stage.
Act II: The Stars of Today

Cinderella: Choreography by Sir Frederick Ashton, Music by Sergei Prokofiev, Performed by Roberta Marquez and David Makhateli. It's been awhile since I've heard this rapturous score, and the duo from Royal Ballet commanded attention from their vocal and eager audience, who made its delight known immediately in this virtuosic pas de deux. Mr. Makhateli has a muscular, exotic frame, and he partnered Ms. Marquez with presence and passion.

Takademe: Choreography by Robert Battle, Music by Sheila Chandra, Performed by James A. Pierce, Gregory Sinacori, Ricardo Zayas. The second Ailey Company is as energetic and charismatic as the main Ailey Company, and this work, with its frenetic, abstract movements was riveting and pulsating. Unitards and covered heads enabled the electric motion to be visually pronounced, and Takademe's brevity worked to its dynamic favor.

James Variation from La Sylphide: Choreography by August Bournonville, Music by Herman Lovenskjolde, Performed by Kenta Shimizu. This Miami-based dancer exuded grace and elevation in his leaps and frolicking choreography, without much of the Scottish in his stage costuming.

Distant Cries: Choreography by Edwaard Liang, Music by Tomaso Albinoni, Performed by Wendy Whelan and Peter Boal. Mr. Liang has a knack for choreography as well as performance, and this contemporary work, perfectly executed by Ms. Whelan's elastic torso and long limbs, as well as Mr. Boal's seasoned partnering and persuasive interpretation, shows promise for future repertoires.

Who Cares?: Choreography by George Balanchine, Music by George Gershwin, Performed by Alexandra Ansanelli. Ms. Ansanelli has mastered this solo from numerous performances of this dance at New York City Ballet. She has spirit, spunk, style, and sexuality. Ms. Ansanelli danced with verve and strength.

Pieces of a Lost Paradise: Choreography by Christian Spuck, Music by Eugene YsaYe, Performed by Bridget Breiner and Douglas Lee. This refined and rapturous work, performed by the Stuttgart duo, was colorful, contemporary, and complicated.

The Wind-Up: Choreography by Moses Pendleton, Music by Baka Beyond, Performed by Cynthia Quinn. Ms. Quinn, with a glowing white ball, danced in dimness, as she spun like a top, with the ball rolling down her limbs, across her shoulders, from hand to hand, and rapidly around her neck. One would imagine that it was glued to her hands, but, alas, kept slipping and sliding in lightning fashion. MOMIX is a virtuosic dance company, with magical and mesmerizing feats, peppered in its performances, and The Wind-Up is one of its most magical.

Tarantella: Choreography by George Balanchine, Music by Louis Moreau Gottschalk, Performed by Ashley Bouder and Joaquin de Luz. These two newly promoted Principals in New York City Ballet brought the audience to vocal madness with their engaging and entertaining interpretation of this electrically charged and ecstatically challenging but brief dance. Tarantella is frequently performed at New York City Ballet, and its ribbon-bedecked tambourines and bright costumes add pizzazz to the whirling and repetitive score.

Ave Maria: Choreography by Dwight Rhoden, Music by Giulio Caccini, Performed by Sandra Brown and Desmond Richardson. The duo from Complexions Ballet (Mr. Richardson, Founder, and Ms. Brown, formerly of ABT) changed the mood immediately to a spiritual and sensual one, dancing with physical togetherness to the gothic stains of Ave Maria.

Pas de Deux from Don Quixote: Choreography by Marius Petipa, Music by Ludwig Minkus, Performed by Lorna Feijoo and José Manuel Carreño. Ms. Feijoo of Boston Ballet and Mr. Carreño of ABT brought the audience (mainly of dance teachers, choreographers, students, families, friends, press, and balletomanes) from madness to mania. ABT frequently includes this dynamic pas de deux as part of the full-length and shorter work repertoires, and Mr. Carreño' s and Ms. Feijoo's solos brought the volume of audible accolades to endless cacophony. Mr. Carreño executed backward leaps and instantaneous, multiple, mid-air turns, book-ended by Ms. Feijoo's dizzying spins and fancy footwork. There were several lengthy curtain calls.

Kudos to all YAGP Competition winners, participants, and teachers, and kudos to Gennadi Saveliev, Larissa Saveliev, Susan Jaffe, guest artists and choreographers, and Sergey Gordeev for this preview of tomorrow's best talent, followed by some of the best talent around today. I look forward to the 2006 YAGP Competition and Gala.

Jose Manuel Carreno and Lorna Feijoo (ABT, Boston Ballet)
Photo courtesy of Dave Friedman

Roberta Marquez and David Makhateli (Royal Ballet)
Photo courtesy of Dave Friedman

Kenta Shimizu (Miami City Ballet, former participant of YAGP)
Photo courtesy of Dave Friedman

Roderick George, 19 (NY) - finalist
Photo courtesy of Dave Friedman

Anne Sandefur, 17 (FL) - finalist
Photo courtesy of Dave Friedman

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