I showed up at the Youth American Grand Prix regional competition in Northern California expecting to see some awesome dancing. I sat down in the dark theater ready to watch the 14-year-old contemporary dance category. After Julian’s two-year stint in a pre-professional teen contemporary dance company, I was excited to see the entrees.
I rubbed my eyes. I shook by head. I checked the program. Was I in the right theater? Was this YAGP or Showstoppers? Truly…I was amazed. With the exception of three or four pieces, the contemporary division was sorely lacking any decent choreography or…well…talent. There were some of the typical competition numbers, some lyrical pieces (done in tutus?) and even some classical pieces. I wondered if these ballet dancers knew what the movement of contemporary dance or contemporary ballet actually looked like. Maybe they should attend a performance of Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Batsheva Dance Company, Cedar Lake Contemporary Dance, or locally (northern California), Zukhov Dance Theater, ODC, or MFDP …
Things picked up as I watched the 12 and 14 year olds perform their classical variations. Well…this is what they know, after all. However, the level of dance was not as high as we expected at a YAGP competition.
Today, we will see the older kids perform. I’ll let you know what I think…And, of course, Julian will perform.
By the way…Julian got word from Juilliard; he got into the summer intensive program (one of 44 kids). Unfortunately, he has had to turn down all offers after accepting the merit scholarship at the School of American Ballet.
Theodore Constant says
The YAGP is a ballet competition and therefore mostly balletomanes attend it.
There are very few (good) ballet competitions, but many contemporary ones, so it depends what form of dance one wants to compete under. (Most of the times ballet students are not interested in contemporary and vice-versa).
Anyone can attend the YAGP “semi-finals” as no prior audition is required.
Many attend the semi-finals simply for the experience, and not to compete.
Very few from around the globe shall be selected and have the chance to compete at the real competition which is held in New York City.
The semi-finals are only meant as an audition for the actual competition.
As well, if Julian is interested in contemporary dance, I believe he may enjoy some choreographers as Jiri Kylian, Nacho Duato and William Forsythe in addition to the ones mentioned above.
I hope this helps.