I haven’t written too much about Julian’s preparation for Youth American Grand Prix. In fact, early on this year, I said he wasn’t gong to be allowed to compete because his technique was not up to par. However, that all changed after the Nutcracker performances ended.
At that time the director of City Ballet School, Galina Alexandrova, determined that Julian and his partner did such a good job with the Grand Pax de deux from the Nutcracker that they should take it to YAGP. I guess after four months of work, Julian’s technique had improved enough to at least suffice as a partner and for a coda, if not for a solo.
Not long after that, though, Galina also asked him to partner an older girl (18) who is seeking professional work. She would also be competing a solo, but a pax would help her get a bit more time before the judges–and possible a job offer. They began rehearsing Bluebird.
In the meantime, Julian’s first partner, who is just 14, got a hairline fracture and had to take four weeks off. When she came back to the studio, she didn’t rehears with him for a week or more. This left them one week to get back in the studio together. Ack! Well, the first time they danced the Grand Pax they put it together in two weeks. Julian had been dancing it with another partner for a few more weeks, but this little dynamo learned it in just 14 days.
As for his second partner, this girl has received a job offer from the Joffrey Ballet since they started rehearsing together. So, she decided she didn’t want to dance Bluebird; she’d rather do Corsair. Okay…so they are learning a new pax in two weeks.
Don’t most YAGP competitors work on their numbers for months–or a year? Well, not my son. And Galina has high hopes that both numbers will make it to New York City for the national competition in a few weeks.
As for rehearsals, they’ve gotten quite intense as you can imagine. And while everyone else is off this week we continue driving to San Francisco every day. No rest for the weary.
Here’s the one thing I’d say about all of this: If you want to improve your technique, do YAGP. There’s no better opportunity to have your technique nit picked. Plus, Julian has had a phenomenal opportunity to partner these girls.
It can get expensive, though. We lucked out. He is getting coached for free with the girl who needed a job; we didn’t end up with too many rehearsals with the other since she hurt her foot. If your son does decide to do YAGP, though, know that you will have the added cost of private rehearsals.
Now, why else bother doing this competition? Your son will get seen by people who can later offer him jobs–or, if he is old enough, offer him one right there; in fact, there are some companies looking to offer jobs on the spot. Some kids get full scholarships to summer programs because of their performances. If he wins, that credential is enough to help get him into a great ballet company.
So…we will be at the theater rehearsing on Friday and competing on Saturday. I’ll let you know how it goes.