Preview: “YAGP Stars of Today Meet Stars of Tomorrow Gala”

January 6, 2024
Straz Center for the Performing Arts
Tampa, FL

Jerry Hochman

For those readers who made it to Miami to see the “Holiday Season with Ballet Stars” performance this coming weekend that I previewed a couple of weeks ago, don’t leave Florida. And for those unable to go for that program, consider going to the next one. YAGP has announced its “stars” lineup for its Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow (SOTMSOT) Gala, which will take place at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, FL on January 6, 2024, a week after the previously announced program in Miami.

Emma Von Enck
in George Balanchine’s “Tarantella”
Photo Courtesy of YAGP

This is YAGP’s 25th Anniversary season. As I’ve written many times before, since 1999 YAGP’s mission has been to educate and provide contact opportunities with prestigious ballet schools worldwide through instruction, scholarship auditions, master classes, alumni services, and performances. Over $5 million has been awarded in scholarships to the world’s leading dance schools, with up to $350,000 now awarded annually.

Since YAGP’s founding by Larissa Saveliev, who emigrated to the United States after training and touring with the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, over 200,000 young dancers – ages 9 to 19 – of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds have participated in international workshops, audition classes, and dance awareness events. More than 12,000 young dancers audition annually. 450 alumni are now dancing with 80 professional companies around the world, including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet and many others. Over 100 of these alumni are soloists and principal dancers.

Elisabeth Beyer, then 15,
in the YAGP 2018 Final Round
Photo by VAM Productions

As part of its 25th Anniversary celebration, YAGP has gathered a substantial group of talented stars (or stars-in-the-making) to participate in its program, which gives the Gala a decidedly youthful orientation. All are YAGP alumnae. They include American Ballet Theatre (and/or ABT Studio Company) dancers Elisabeth Beyer, Daniel Camargo, Brady Farrar, Melvin Lawovi, Takumi Miyake, and Sylvie Squires; New York City Ballet’s Emma Von Enck and Andres Zuniga; Philadelphia Ballet’s Naraya Lopes and Pau Pujol; Joffrey Ballet’s Dylan Gutierrez and Jeraldine Mendoza; and Cincinnati Ballet’s Katherine Ochoa.

A few of the dancers listed above are tentative as of this writing, so check the YAGP web site for any last-minute casting changes.