The YAGP 2021 Virtual Gala is streaming from yagp.org on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 7pm ET. From $1,200.
The YAGP (Youth America Grand Prix) is one of the world’s biggest ballet talent auditions. The Gala draws the stars and masters of the ballet world. Your 100% tax-deductible Gala donation funds scholarships that support the future of ballet.
The YAGP Finals were moved to Florida for the pandemic and the Gala is not at its usual Lincoln Center venue, but this year everyone can participate virtually.
This year’s Gala features performances by Mariinsky Ballet dancers, a world premiere by ABT dancers, and curated performances by the future stars of ballet from YAGP 2021 auditions worldwide.
- Maria Khoreva 🇷🇺 and Kimin Kim 🇰🇷 of the Mariinsky perform a duet from “Le Corsaire“
- May Nagahisa 🇯🇵 and Victor Caixeta 🇧🇷 of the Mariinsky perform a duet from “Romeo and Juliet“
- Featured choreographer Gabe Stone Shayer 🇺🇸 and Skylar Brandt 🇺🇸, both of ABT, perform a World Premiere set to live music by Juilliard piano prodigy Matthew Whitaker 🇺🇸
- Singer-songwriter, and former dancer Tate McRae 🇨🇦 (“So You Think You Can Dance”) presents a special musical performance
Kim, Nagahisa, Caixeta, Shayer, Brandt and McRae are all YAGP alumni. By the way, the YAGP Gala is our favorite ballet performance in New York City.
A World Premiere Journey Uptown
The world premiere is called “Journey Uptown.” It’s choreographed by ABT Soloist and YAGP 2021 Emerging Choreographer Gabe Stone Shayer who will dance the premiere with ABT Principal Skylar Brandt.
Shayer first competed at YAGP in 2009. His dance career has skyrocketed since. In 2010, he won the Grand Prix Award. He became the first African American to graduate from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy where he was a student of Ilya Kuznetsov. He joined ABT Studio company in 2011, became a main Company apprentice in 2012 and was promoted to corps de ballet later the same year. He won the Clives Barn Award for Dance in 2016 and was promoted to ABT Soloist in 2020.
Matthew Whitaker composed the music and will perform live. The 19-year old, blind pianist and composer from The Juilliard School is a rising sensation. “CBS 60 Minutes” described the prodigy, “Whitaker doesn’t just play music, he plays with it. Twisting melodies, crafting complex harmonies and improvising at lightning speed. It’s acoustic acrobatics performed over 88 keys and it is not for the faint of heart.”
Shayer described the formation of the piece, “This work embodies the life of a New York City-based artist. When talking with Matthew about composing music for it, I asked him what New York sounds like to him; how he would characterize the pace of the city. From there, the piece was born!”
We are very excited to hear what New York City sounds like and see how it moves.
The Mariinsky Ballet is one of the world’s leading ballet companies. Based in Saint Petersburg, the company was founded around 1740 as the Imperial Russian Ballet. Outside of Russia many people know it as the Kirov Ballet.
Imperial Russian Ballet is a very classical technique. The company is also associated with Vaganova technique which came later, but produces some of the most expressive dancers.
The Mariinsky Ballet is important not just for it’s artistry and technique. It’s a living connection to the origins of ballet, and the origins of ballet in New York City and the United States.
Ballet is an Italian court dance that was developed in France in the Louis courts, especially by King Louis XIV (1643-1715). When the French Revolution (1789-1799) ended the monarchy, ballet survived in the royal courts of Russia and Denmark. It was reintroduced to the world by Ballets Russes of Paris which toured Europe and the Americas from 1909-1929.
George Balanchine, the co-founder of New York City Ballet, is known for his Balanchine technique. It’s one of the m0st difficult styles to master, but is incredibly beautiful. Balanchine was trained in Imperial Russian Ballet technique. He also danced and choreographed with Ballets Russes before settling in New York City where he absorbed Broadway and everything going on in the City as he developed his own style.
Seeing artists from the Mariinsky is a special treat, and seeing New York artists interpret our city is pretty special.
We support the YAGP Youth America Grand Prix and hope you will too.