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Youth America Grand Prix Gala


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#1 sz

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Posted 20 April 2005 - 11:04 AM

NYTimes: "While the ballet students were enthralled, the performances were a bit rocky."

What wasn't mentioned here is that the City Center / YAGP Gala stage was frequently danced on with sweaty bare feet and nearly bare bodies. While sitting in the orchestra, you could see the stage becoming more and more wet and oily after each modern piece passed. This alternating with ballet works in pointe shoes -- yikes -- a dangerous combination. Stages are prepared quite differently for each style of dance; bare feet and satin slippers. To place them back to back was a bit scary to watch. Pointe shoes prefer a stickier floor while bare feet handle just about anything without splinters. Still everyone made the most of this celebratory evening.

It was a delightful evening full of passionate dance lovers, both on and off stage. Although the only disappointment was that Lorena could not attend to dance DonQ pas, her sister, Lorna, gave a bold, womanly, and full of rich, gorgeous Cuban training performance. And Lorna's tutu was the most gorgeous thing I've ever seen for this pas de deux.

Carreno and Richardson were both in top form, seemingly inspired by the loving responses and cat calls from the female audience...

And the ever-charming, all-sparkles, dare-devil, Alexandra Ansanelli made a surprise visit and whirled her way through the extremely difficult turning girl solo from Balanchine's "Who Cares?" Full of surprises all the way. Brava!

Roberta Marquez for the Royal Ballet's "Cinderella" was radiantly beautiful, and she gave a warm, strongly feminine approach to the less interesting choreography. I'm looking forward to catching Roberta again soon, perhaps in a piece more suited to her expansive style.

While Ashley Bouder and Joaquin De Luz of New York City Ballet took some liberties with the choreography during Balanchine's "Tarantella," their flamboyance and technical fireworks was thrilling. Hey! This was a gala! I think the youthful energy of the YAGP competitors, watching and dancing, drove the overall high, wild energy of the performances. This was not a subscription night...

What the NYTimes didn't mention was the brilliant performance by Momix, nor the out-of-this-world, fascinatingly eccentric Wendy Whelan with Peter Boal of NYCB in a piece choreographed by Liang (also of NYCB). It was so lovely to see Liang's modernish piece developing with such style and feeling since its earlier 2005 debut in Boal's gig group. Peter, and especially Wendy, showed this YAGP, NYC, dance world just how sophisticated and elegant, while at the same time eccentrically raw, a fine dancer can become in such a modernish piece. Absolutely astonishing.

So, yes, it was an over-the-top evening, especially by the professionals, but this delightful event ended all too soon, and nobody left without a huge smile!

#2 bart

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 09:47 AM

What wasn't mentioned here is that the City Center / YAGP Gala stage was frequently danced on with sweaty bare feet and nearly bare bodies.  While sitting in the orchestra, you could see the stage becoming more and more wet and oily after each modern piece passed.  This alternating with ballet works in pointe shoes -- yikes -- a dangerous combination.  Stages are prepared quite differently for each style of dance; bare feet and satin slippers.  To place them back to back was a bit scary to watch. Pointe shoes prefer a stickier floor while bare feet handle just about anything without splinters. Still everyone made the most of this celebratory evening.


Thanks, sz. That's the sort of insight that I find only on Ballet Talk.

Also, it's great to know that there were so many huge smiles :D as people left the theater. That is still one of the most important "aesthetic" criteria for me, when it comes to what I value about a visit to the ballet.

I hope you'll continue to post your impressions and reviews.

#3 pj

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 01:36 PM

The YAGP gala is always fun to attend, but I think it was better than ever this year. It is incredible that so many companies were represented in a single evening of ballet -- what a deal for the price of a ticket!

As far a student performances went, my favorite was 12 year old Isabella Maylert (I'm not sure if I spelled that correctly) from Brazil. I saw her perform her classical variation all three times she did it throughout the weekend, and it improved every time. She was really at her best technically and artistically on Monday evening.

Roderick George is an amazingly talented young man. He received a scholarship to Alvin Ailey on Monday night. A friend and I predicted that he'll probably be starting as a company member by next week! :D He was really fun to watch.

One thing that struck me was the difference between the student performances (which were very good for the most part) and the professionals. It was good for the students to see that they still have a ways to go before they can truely say that they are ready for companies.

Jose Carreno was (as always) simply amazing and I really enjoyed the "Cuban" performance that he and Lorna did of Don Q. Her balances were amazing.

Desmond Richardson and Sandra Brown's performance of Ave Maria was really cool, and Sandra Brown holds the record for the longest balance of the evening.

The other thing I was struck by was the amount of energy exuded by all of the professionals -- it was truely exciting and very motivating for the students to see and feel that energy around them.

I was one of those people who also felt that the evening was far too short (even though I was exhausted by the schedule that we had all week); but I was not too tired to keep that huge smile on my face as I left City Center.

I just can't wait to see next year's show! :D

#4 lampwick

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Posted 21 April 2005 - 02:14 PM

One thing that struck me was the difference between the student performances (which were very good for the most part) and the professionals. It was good for the students to see that they still have a ways to go before they can truely say that they are ready for companies.


Well, the professionals mentioned are pretty exceptional ones. Random kids plucked out of the corps at NYCB or ABT aren't going to look like Whelan or Carreno.

Gosh, I wish I went...

#5 ami1436

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Posted 23 April 2005 - 04:41 AM

Thanks for the report, sz, as I was hunting for more info than was in the NYT review! And I'm so glad that you enjoyed Marquez - I'm loving having her in London! :yahoo:

#6 zerbinetta

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Posted 27 April 2005 - 09:28 PM

As far a student performances went, my favorite was 12 year old Isabella Maylert  (I'm not sure if I spelled that correctly) from Brazil.  I saw her perform her classical variation all three times she did it throughout the weekend, and it improved every time.  She was really at her best technically and artistically on Monday evening.

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Iabella's last name is Maylart & she was, indeed, extraordinarily promising. Her pointe work was far stronger than one normally finds in a 12 year old but it was her musicality & those beautiful arms that really impressed me.

They seem to have some wonderful teachers in Brazil!


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