Lincoln Center, New York’s harmonious epicenter, and stage to some of the most acclaimed performances in the world, was the place to be yesterday. Last night, the beautiful New York crowd trekked to the Upper West Side to appreciate some of world’s most renowned ballet dancers. Ballet aficionados, parents, and celebrities alike all assembled at The Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater for the annual Youth America Grand Prix’s (YAGP) Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow Gala. This yearly event has become synonymous with the discovery of new dancers, and choreographers, featuring the performances of international ballet stars, while presenting the world’s brightest young dance talent
CBS’s Keltie Knight was the emcee for the evening, and she did an incredible job of pumping up the crowd before the showcase. The initial performances were a display of great potential by the stars of tomorrow, the young YAGP finalists, who put on a spectacle for their families and friends. The audience saved its greatest applause for the conclusion of the first act, where an assemblage of more than 200 plus YAGP dancers took the stage for a grand dance party.
Before the second act, the presentation of YAGP’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Bruce Marks, whose accomplishments as a dancer and artistic director could fill this article. Bruce was gracious in his acceptance speech and echoed a very important political message: “Stand up and fight for Art.” The second act began as the more established and world-renowned dancers took the stage and exhibited their world-class moves. Major ballet stars of today such as Svetlana Lunkina and Evan Mckie (National Ballet of Canada), Tamara Rojo and Cesar Corrales (English National Ballet), Skylar Brandt and Gabe Stone Shayer (American Ballet Theatre), and Tiler Peck and Zachary Catazaro ( New York City Ballet) all came to prance their pointe.
Following the splendid show, guests made their way to the promenade for dinner and socializing. Celebrities quickly filled the room as visitors scrambled to get a word in with their idols. A group of gorgeous women particularly caught the attention of everyone, especially the photographers, as camera flashes lit up their beautiful dresses. The amazing group of women were none other than Amy Astley, the honorary chairman, Marcella Guarino Hymowitz, the chairman, Samantha Boardman-Rosen, Colby Mugrabi, Candice Jordan Miller, Ashley Olsen, Mary Kate Olsen, and Lesley Thompson Vecsler who all served as co-chairs. Strolling around the room, there were many other major names such as Chelsea Clinton, Woody Allen, Nicky Hilton, and Tony Gonzalez.
From the amazing performances, to the sit-down dinner and dancing, Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow Gala was a truly successful night. However, many young dancers are still in need of scholarships, and we cannot let the next generation of kids filled with talent and promise to miss out on this opportunity.
YAGP is the world’s largest and one of the most prestigious international ballet competitions, as well as a New York-based 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization. The mission of YAGP is to provide a global network of dance organization that provides scholarship opportunities and master classes for young dancers’ ages 9 to 19 around the world. The YAGP also holds annual competitions in multiple international and national venues that continues for nearly a full year. Each season, selected students from these competitions are invited to New York City to participate in the week-long finals. These promising dancers will receive in-depth mentoring and greater scholarship, professional, and performance opportunities. In less than twenty years YAGP has become an institution – not only for the esteem of its awards, but for the exposure it provides to young dancers to be seen by, and to make an impression on, representatives of ballet schools and companies from across the globe. For more information and how to donate to YAGP, click here.
Photos courtesy of Annie Watt Agency and Presley Ann/ Patrick McMullan