Youth America Grand Prix 2018

Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP)

First Position is Bess Kargman’s 2011 documentary about the Youth America Grand Prix. Joan Sebastián Zamora is now Joffrey Ballet. Michaela DePrince is now Dutch National Ballet.

The world’s largest international dance competition brings talented youngsters, ages 9 – 19, from regional ballet competitions in Brazil, France, Mexico, Spain, Australia, China, Korea and Japan for a week-long final competition in New York City.

The dancers compete for scholarships to the world’s leading dance schools. Youth America has awarded over $3,000,000 in scholarships since 1999. Some dancers will launch their professional careers by doing well on the Youth America Grand Prix stage.

The plaza at Lincoln Center Plaza fills with kids warming up and burning off their energy. This is ballet for ballet dancers. The only thing that matches the energy on stage is the energy in the audience. It’s truly electric and a ballet experience like no other.

2018 Youth America Grand Prix

The New York Finals are April 13 – 20, 2018 at SUNY in Purchase, New York; Ailey Studios in Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan and Symphony Space in Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

2018 Youth America Grand Prix Final Round

The 2018 Youth America Grand Prix Final Round was at the David H. Koch Theater in Lincoln Center on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at 7 pm. $25 – $45

What a talented group of young dancers. The Portuguese dancers, Japanese men, and some Brazilians were real crowd pleasers. The women were beautiful, but the men were the most fun to watch.

Great dancers ~ Antonio Casalinho (Portugal), Ximena Ojeda, and João Vitor da Silva (Brazil)

Great dancers ~ Antonio Casalinho (Portugal), Ximena Ojeda (Colombia), and João Vitor da Silva (Brazil)

Brazilian Dancers

  • Alice Balboni, age 14, from Balé Jovem de São Vicente
    Balboni danced with tremendous expression.
  • Vitor Vaz, age 13, from Balé Jovem de São Vicente
  • João Vitor da Silva, age 14, from Ballet Vortice
    He danced Harlequinade filled with playful expression. He was relaxed, theatrical, and ended with the entire audience in his hands.
  • Carolyne Freitas Galvao, age 17, from Bale do Teatro Escola Basileu Franca
    Freitas Galvao pleased the crowd.
  • Nadyne Bispo, age 19, from Balé Jovem de São Vicente
    Bispo is a beautiful dancer. There is something different about her.  We would like to see more of this young artist.

French Dancers

  • Dorian Plasse, age 13, from Ko Studio
  • Florence Joffre, age 15, from Autrand Ballet France
  • Anaëlle Mariat, age 17, from Conservatoire National Supérieur Musique et Danse de Lyon
  • Thomas Rousse-Blatière, age 17, from Conservatoire National Supérieur Musique et Danse de Paris

French-Canadian Dancers

  • Keita Youssef Bellali, age 15, from Ballet Montréal Performing Arts School

Italian Dancers

  • Filippo Mambelli, age 12, from Ateneo Danza
  • Giuseppe Ventura, age 13, from Anime Scalze
  • Lorenzo Collatuzzo, age 17, from Il Balleto

Mexican Dancers

  • Enrique Emmanuel Bejarano Vidal, age 14, independent
    Emmanuel Bejarano gave a fine performance.

Portuguese Dancers

  • Margarita Fernandes, age 12, from Academia Annarella
    Fernandes gave the first exceptional performance of the night
  • Rebecca Rudolf, age 14, from Academia Annarella
  • Antonio Casalinho, age 14, from Academie Annarella
    Casalinho was a winner last year. The audience went absolutely wild for his outstanding performance of Diana & Acteon.
  • Francisco Gomes, age 14, from Academie Annarella
    The audience enjoyed his performance.
  • Antonio Ferreira, age 14, from Escola de Danca do Conservatorio Nacional Portugal
  • Marcio Mota, age 17, from Escola de Danca do Conservatorio Nacional Portugal

Spanish Dancers

  • Paloma Berjano, age 18, from RCPD Mariemma
  • Pau Pujol, age 18, from Corella Dance Academy

We have to mention three young Japanese dancers. Yuma Matsuura, age 15, from Endo Ballet gave one of the most outstanding performances of the evening. Takayuki Moriwaki, age 15, from Koike Ballet Studio, and Masanori Takiguchi, age 18, from The Joffrey Academy of Dance also gave rousing performances.

Congratulations to all the dancers. Making the Youth America Grand Prix Final Round is a great achievement.

Everything is Possible

It’s fair to say that all of the dancers we saw are child prodigies. Most come from well-to-do families who are able to finance the training that a ballet career requires, but some of them come from nothing. They started dancing without shoes in the dirt because they are natural born dancers. Dancers have to dance. Punto (period.)

If your ballet dream is honest and you work hard, everything is possible. That is one of the missions of the Youth America Grand Prix – to give talented dancers opportunity, regardless of their background.

Watching these young artists, I couldn’t help but think of Misty Copeland. She didn’t come from privilege. She does not have the prototypical ballet body. She’s Black and while we have great dancers, none ever became a prima at a major ballet company. She only started ballet at age 13, the same age as many of these already well-trained dancers.

Misty even broke her leg along the way. Yet Misty Copeland of American Ballet Theatre really is America’s favorite ballerina, the most famous dancer in the United States since Michael Baryshnikov.

So wherever in the world you come from, and whatever your circumstances, keep dreaming, keep dancing, and we hope to see you next year.

Whether your night ended with a slip or a contract, we loved watching you dance.

¡ Bravo !

2018 Youth America Grand Prix Gala Performance

The Youth America Grand Prix Gala Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow is at the David H. Koch Theater in Lincoln Center on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 7 pm. $45

Invited performers include:

  • Isabella Boylston, American Ballet Theatre
  • Daniil Simkin, American Ballet Theatre
  • Olga Smirnova, Bolshoi Theatre.
  • Jacopo Tissi, Bolshoi Theatre
  • Alexandra Mukhamedov, (New York Professional Debut) Dutch National Ballet
  • Dylan Gutierrez, Joffrey Ballet
  • Jeraldine Mendoza, Joffrey Ballet
  • Constantine Allen (New York Professional Debut), Les Grands Ballet Canadiens de Montreal
  • Kim Kimin, Mariinsky Ballet
  • Daniel Ulbricht, New York City Ballet
  • Liubov Kazantseva, Principal Guest Artist
  • Evelina Godunova (New York Debut), Staatsballett Berlin
  • Lex Ishimoto, Winner, So You Think You Can Dance, Season 14
  • Denys Drozdyuk, World Ballroom Champion

U.S. Government is Afraid of the World’s Best Ballerina

The NY Post Page Six reported on April 18 that Olga Smirnova and her partner Jacopo Tissi of Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet were denied a visa to perform at the Youth America Grand Prix Gala.

They have performed in the United States before. The YAGP has gotten the exact same visa for Smirnova before. The Department of Homeland Security said there have been no policy changes.

Olga Smirnova is considered the best ballerina in the world today. What is wrong with our country?

2018 Youth America Grand Prix Tickets

Finals: $25 – $45
Gala: $45

The Youth America Gran Prix sells out, so get your tickets early.

David H. Koch Theater Box Office

The Box Office is inside the main doors and to the right.

Monday: 10 am – 7:30 pm
Tuesday – Saturday: 10 am – 8:30 pm
Sunday: 11:30 am – 7:30 pm


Center Charge (212) 496-0600


Visiting the David H. Koch Theater

The David H. Koch Theater is the theater on the left (south) side of Lincoln Center’s main plaza.


  • (1) to 66th St – Lincoln Center
  • (A) (C) to 59th St – Columbus Circle
  • (B) (D) to 59th St – Columbus Circle


M5, M7, M10, M11, M66, and M104


There are entrances to Lincoln Center’s Parking Garage on Amsterdam Ave, 62nd St, and 65th St.


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