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Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
Lincoln Center
United States
New York City
New York
New York, NY

Youth America Grand Prix Gala 2004

by Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 26, 2004
Lincoln Center
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
140 West 65th Street
New York, NY 10023

About the Author:

Youth America Grand Prix Gala 2004


Alice Tully Hall
Lincoln Center, NY
(See YAGP Competition and Gala 2003)
(See YAGP Competition Photos 2004)

Larissa Saveliev, Founder and Artistic Director
Gennadi Saveliev, Founder, President and Artistic Director
Susan Jaffe, Artistic Coordinator
Sergey Gordeev, Director of Public Relations

Maxim Belotserkovsky (ABT), Angel Corella (ABT),
Irina Dvorovenko (ABT), Ian Kahn (emcee), Carla Körbes (NYCB), Sarah Lamb (Boston Ballet), Yasmine Lee (MOMIX),
Marc Mann (Complexions), Benjamin Millepied (NYCB),
Renata Pavam (ABT), Amar Ramasar (NYCB),
Raul Salamanca (Boston Ballet), Carlos dos Santos, Jr., (Complexions), Gennadi Saveliev (ABT), Brian Simerson (MOMIX),
Michael Thomas (Complexions), and Miranda Weese (NYCB)

Winners of YAGP Ballet and Contemporary Dance
Scholarship Competition for Students
(See YAGP LIST of 2004 Competition Winners)

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
April 26, 2004


Act I: The Stars of Tomorrow

Hosted by Ian Kahn


"La Fille Mal Gardée"
Choreography: Alexander Gorsky
Skylar Paley Brandt, 11
(See Skylar rehearsing at Valentina Kozlova's dance studio.) Skylar is a promising young student with presence and charm. She energetically engaged the audience in this lovely, lyrical work.

Choreography: Jamey Leverett
Students of the Draper Center for Dance Education, NY
There were outstanding cowboy and cowgirl virtuosic dances here, Country Western and quite exciting.

Dolcinea Variation from "Don Quixote"
Choreography: Marius Petipa
Performed by Kanako Fujimoto, 14 (Soda Ballet School, JAPAN)
Ms. Fujimoto is a dancer to watch, with her grace and skill. This was a challenging and well-presented piece.

"Notre Dame de Paris"
Choreography: Roland Petit
Catherine Hamer, 16 (Pacific Coast Academy, CA)
Ms. Hamer danced eloquently and sensitively.

"La Fille Mal Gardée" (The Clogs Dance)
Choreography: Tatiana Kasatsky
Students of the Pacific Coast Academy, CA
With wooden shoes either worn or decorating the stage, this was one of the more interesting works of the first part of tonight's program. I found it amazing that ballet shoes could be worn beneath wooden clogs.

Excerpt from "The Second Detail"
Choreography: William Forsythe
Melissa Raffanello, 16 (Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts, CT)
I am quite familiar with Nutmeg Ballet and the Conservatory, both of which are outstanding. Ms. Raffanello performed this work with elegance and skill.

Winner of YAGP 2003 Outstanding School Award:
Choreography: Luke Newton-Mason
Performed by the students of Universal Ballet Academy (formerly "The Kirov Academy"), DC
To Brazilian music, pan flutes, percussion, this coy and energetic work was quite exciting. The black dresses and red sashes were perfect.

The Bronze Idol from "La Bayadere"
Choreography: Marius Petipa
Jim Nowakowski, 14 (Draper Center for Dance Education, NY)
This is one frenetic dynamo of a dancer. This work is the one that set Julio Bocca (ABT) into acclaim many years ago, as it requires extreme energy for lightning spins and tornado-like turns. I found Mr. Nowakowski quite adept but over-stated, a bit too hyper-kinetic, with not enough fluidity.

Variation from "Don Quixote"
Choreography: Alexander Gorsky, Marius Petipa
Isaac Hernandez, 13 (Mexico/USA - Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet, PA)
This was an incredible performance by Mr. Hernandez, who possesses a superb attitude and stage presence. His multiple spins were seamless and balanced.

Choreography: Kim Pan-Sun
Sang-Yi Han, 18 (Korea)
Ms. Han was electrifying and powerful, with short black hair and a red costume, as she showed virtuosic skills in a most challenging work.

Variation from "Diana & Acteon"
Choreography: Agripina Vaganova
Jade Payette, 16 (Southland Ballet Academy, CA)
Mr. Payette, who could pass for a real Greek God, was well matched to this mythological work. With a flowing, open shirt and white costume, he exuded passionate and theatrical images of yearning.

Choreography: Maurice Bejart
Mathias Lenz Dingman, 15 (Universal Ballet Academy, DC)
(2nd Place in Sr. Men's division)
Mr. Dingman performed this modern piece with skill and split timing.

"Grand Pas Classique"
Choreography: Victor Gsovsky
Puanani Brown, 15 (Washington School of Ballet, DC)
(1st Place in Sr. Women's division)
From the renowned Brown family of the ballet world, Ms. Brown was well balanced and focused. She has a bright future.

Variation from "Don Quixote"
Choreography: Alexander Gorsky, Marius Petipa
Performed by Andrei Pisarev, 18 (Stuttgart Ballet's John Cranko School, GERMANY)
(1st Place, Sr. Men's division)
Mr. Pisarev did not seem as charismatic or balanced as did Mr. Hernandez in the earlier presentation of this work.

Emerging Choreographer Series:
"Concerto #5"
Featured Choreographer: Christopher Fleming
Performed by the students of the Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet
In white and gray, this eloquent work drew much interest.

Choreography: Gray Davis, 17 (SC Governor's School for the Arts, SC)
Choreography: Stanislav Issaev
Mr. Issaev was dramatic and expressive in this piece, set to a romantic piano concerto. His extreme affect enhanced this engaging performance.

"Grand Defilé"
Choreography: Carlos dos Santos, Jr. and Mikhail Tchoupakov
Performed by the participants of YAGP 2004 Fifth Anniversary Season.
With only two young male dancers at first, this signature, annual tradition, the Grand Defile, which brings out all the YAGP participants in a work, specially choreographed by a guest, in this case Mr. Dos Santos, Jr., builds in momentum as more and more of the older dancers join the group onstage in the same black costume. Mr. Dos Santos Jr. created choreography that that allowed for very interesting patterns and combinations. This was a visual delight.

Act I: The Stars of Tomorrow

"The Grey Area-For Mina" (Final Pas de Deux)
horeography: David Dawson, Music: Niels Lanz, Performed by Sarah Lamb (Boston Ballet) and Raul Salamanca (Boston Ballet).
These Boston Ballet stars performed to lilting, uplifting music. Their extensions and partnering skills were flawless.

"3 for 6"
Choreography: Dwight Rhoden, Music: Annie Lenox, Performed by Marc Mann, Jeffrey Polston, and Michael Thomas (Complexions).
With early dancing in silence, that later emerges into pulsating muscularity, these three virtuosic male dancers took turns onstage in solos, duets, and a trio of wild imagery and heated leaps and daring falls.

"Who Cares?" (excerpt)
(See NYC Ballet Review of this full work). Choreography: George Balanchine, Music: George Gershwin, Performed by Benjamin Millepied, Miranda Weese, Carla Körbes, Amar Ramasar (NYCB).
These NYC Ballet stars have been often reviewed in this magazine. Mr. Ramasar and Ms. Körbes were sensitive and endearing in the Embraceable You duet. Mr. Ramasar has a sexy, playful personality onstage and seems to be a rising star at NYC Ballet. In Fascinatin' Rhythm, Ms. Weese's solo, she was seductive and sensual, en pointe endlessly and raising her legs in straight extensions that defied body structure. Mr. Millepied's solo was energetic and amplified, followed by this dazzling quartet, celebrating Gershwin's musicality.

Choreography: Carlos dos Santos, Jr., Music: Gaetano Donizetti, Eric Serra, Performed by Carlos dos Santos, Jr.
Mr. Dos Santos, Jr. was powerful and brilliant in this brief, but daring work. He exuded, with internalized and externalized, visceral muscularity, the exceptional depth of emotions and excitement necessary to carry this sensational, solo.

"Millennium Skiva"
Choreography: Moses Pendleton and company, Music: Brainburg, Performed by Yasmine Lee and Brian Simerson (MOMIX).
(See MOMIX Reviews). In silver paint and modernistic costumes, standing onstage in long skis, Ms. Lee and Mr. Simerson developed some of the most amazing dance imaginable. The dancers in skis leaned backward and forward, as the balancing and gravitational imagery built in momentum, with dancers walking and lowering their silver bodies onto the stage floor, as the skis took on lives of their own.

Balcony Pas de Deux from "Romeo and Juliet"
(See ABT Review of this full work). Choreography: Kenneth MacMillan, Restaged by Sergei Prokofiev, Performed by Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Belotserkovsky (ABT). Ms. Dvorovenko and Mr. Belotserkovsky are longtime dance and marriage partners, and their comfort level and mutual passion were evident. These are not the youthful teenagers of the traditional Romeo and Juliet fame (See Boston Ballet Review), but rather a mature and poetic duo that enhanced this work with skill and virtuosity. Ms. Dvorovenko was ethereal and effervescent, as she was exquisitely lifted and transported by her partner. Mr. Belotserkovsky is in rare form these days.

Choreography: Rostislav Zakharov, Music: Vassily Solovyov-Sedoi, Performed by Gennadi Saveliev (ABT).
This piece brought the house down with cheers and accolades. Mr. Saveliev, Founder and Director of the YAGP Competition, is also a bravura performer in the American Ballet Theatre. He leaped onto the stage from the curtains and took the stage by storm with hurricane-like, backward and sideward turns and spins that were mesmerizing and magnetic. I would love to see this brief but exhausting performance again.

"Le Corsaire"
Choreography: Marius Petipa, Music: Adolphe Adam, Performed by Angel Corella and Renata Pavam (ABT).
Only Mr. Corella could follow an act such as Gopak, and follow he did, and, if possible, he exceeded expectations with his memorable and monumental performance with the new and exciting ABT star, Ms. Pavam. Together they electrified Tully Hall and gave the dance students and their parents something extra wild and extra wonderful. This is another must-see-again performance, something for which each, striving prima ballerina and premier danseur can yearn to accomplish.

Kudos to all the YAGP Competition winners, participants, and teachers, and kudos to Gennadi Saveliev, Larissa Saveliev, Susan Jaffe, guest artists and choreographers, and Sergey Gordeev for this memorable and mind-boggling, dance production. I look forward to the 2005 YAGP Competition and Gala.

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