Well, the Northern California regional YAGP results are in…on many levels–at least for us. Julian and his partners did really well, as did the other dancers from City Ballet. He and his young partner came in first in the ensemble division for their Nutcracker Grand Pax. Whoo hoo! He and his other partner came in third for their Corsaire pax. Yea! Everyone thought the two pieces would be reversed, but the judges thought otherwise.
While the pieces could be taken to New York for the finals, the studio has decided not to do so. The older girl no longer needs the exposure; she has landed a job with a company. The younger girl has a hurt foot and didn’t score as well in her solo pieces–a fact that no one can totally understand–even though she came in in the top 12 in each category.
Overall, the experience was a good one, however, we’ve seen a bit of the political nature of YAGP that I’d rather not go into in detail. Suffice it to say that politics and money do make a difference, at least on the regional level. This can be a turn off to some people, coaches and dancers.
Julian learned a ton this year simply by partnering the two girls and working one-on-one with his coaches. He feels his partnering has improved tremendously, as has his technique. He would do it again in an instant, and he hopes to do so next year. In fact, he hopes to take both a contemporary and a classical solo to regionals and to nationals.
As for getting “seen,” this is definitely a reason to do YAGP. Julian was approached immediately after his performance by the ballet master from Houston Ballet. In fact, he was called to the judges desk, where this person was, indeed, judging and invited to attend the Houston Ballet summer intensive. When he said he was already committed this summer, he was told the “doors would be open to him” to attend class for a week at the Houston Ballet School.Houston Ballet is the fourth largest ballet company in the nation.
There was interest from Ballet West to have Julian attend their summer intensive as well. They are located in Salt Lake City.
All in all, a worthwhile experience. That said, my husband and I sat through a lot of dancing that was not at all at the standard we thought it should be at a YAGP competition. Seems no one screens the contestants at all. No one defines contemporary dance. Some contestants really should not have been at a competition of this caliber–or maybe we misunderstood the caliber of the competition. I suppose those dancers who are not so good do get weeded out prior to getting to nationals, but it leave one to wonder about the motivation behind the competition. That said, I suppose all competitions really are just a business; they are just about making money. If you keep that in mind, you stop wondering about the level of the entrants. However, when you have one entrant who is there to make it to New York and get seen so she gets a job with a ballet company and you have another who will simply be happy if she doesn’t fall during her performance and another that performs exquisite professional choreography and yet one more that takes the stage with her own (Dare I say it?) mediocre choreography, that’s a rather large dichotomy.
Anyway…until next year, YAGP is over and we are on to the next challenge–Regional Dance America. Julian has to polish up his choreography (which I hope is not mediocre) and the kids have to continue working on the classical piece created by Yuri Zukhov. Plus, they are now learning a new contemporary piece for the spring show.