Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) is the largest global network of dance. Many of the world’s top ballet stars emerge from their scholarship program including Kimin Kim (Mariinsky Ballet), Dylan Gutierrez (Joffrey Ballet), Sasha De Sola (San Fransisco Ballet), Angelo Greco (San Francisco Ballet), and Calvin Royal III (American Ballet Theatre). All were in attendance Friday evening as YAGP celebrated their 20th Anniversary Season at the Upper East Side apartment of philanthropist Jean Shafiroff. The home was filled with champagne, ballet patrons, and more dancers, including Mariinsky Ballet’s Xander Parish, Viktoria Tereshkina, Anastasia Nuikina, Maria Khoreva, Daria Ionova, Yuri Fateev, and Joffrey Ballet’s Artistic Director Ashley Wheater.
Many of Jean Shafiroff’s philanthropic endeavors are ballet focused, making her home a natural sanctuary for the crowd of pointe enthusiasts. The celebration followed a performance of Balanchine: The City Center Years, featuring a few YAGP alumni. New Yorkers who flock to Lincoln Center to see American Ballet Theatre or New York City Ballet often don’t realize a large percentage of the dancers they’re watching came from YAGP’s scholarship program.
Guests at the fête included YAGP board members Sergey Gordeev, Suzanne Hall, Judith M. Hoffman, Christina Lyon, Linda K. Morse, Richard Osterweil, Howard Paley, Elizabeth Papadapoulos, Susan and Greg Pappajohn, and John Sills as well as Edgar Batista, Delin Bru, Valentino Carlotti, Sue Dorn, Joanna Fisher, Marjorie and Ellery Gordon, Peter Hay Halpert, Cathy Hardwick, Sharon King Hoge, Michèle Gerber Klein, Aimee Maroney, Wendy Moonan, Cole Rumbough, Sana Sabbagh, Andrew Martin Weber, and Hal J. Witt.
YAGP fulfills its mission of dance education through scholarship auditions, master classes, alumni services, performances, educational and outreach activities. 2019 is YAGP‘s 20th Anniversary season! Over the past 20 years the organization has provided opportunities to 80,000 dancers worldwide and have gifted talented young dancers more than $3.5 million in scholarships to leading dance schools and companies around the world. Today, more than 10,000 young dancers – ages 9 to 19 – audition annually. 450 Youth America Grand Prix alumni are now dancing with 80 professional companies around the world. 100 of these alumni are soloists and principal dancers. The organization was founded by Larissa Saveliev, who trained at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow and toured throughout the world, before defecting to the United States in 1995.