It really comes as no surprise that the group of eight talented dancers who traveled to Chicago for the Youth America Grand Prix (the world’s largest student ballet competition) came back with top honors. It is a well known fact that the Beck Center for the Art’s Dance Education program is one of the finest in the region if not the country.
Performing a piece entitled “Phantom of the Opera”, the group was ranked in the Top 12 for ensembles. Included in the group were: Ali Cassidy, Bethany Comienski, Taylor Gerrasch, Julia Horner, Ciara McGlynn, Julia Parrish, Abby Schneider and Becky Steffen. These Beck Center dancers competed against such notable ballet schools at The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Interlochen Arts Academy and the Milwaukee Ballet School.
The good news does not end here. Julia Horner, age 17 and a member of the ensemble group, also participated in the women’s solo category and placed in the Top 12 for her contemporary dance performance of “Revel in the Moment” and her classical piece, a variation of “The Talisman”. Her award is a first for a Beck Center dancer.
Along with being a Beck Center dance student, Ms. Horner has attended the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive in Detroit as well as receiving a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet Intensive in New York City last summer. Julia has been offered a dance scholarship to Mercyhurst University which is ranked as having one of the nation’s top ballet programs.
“The YAGP offers our advanced ballet students the opportunity to compete alongside top Midwest dance training institutions, receive feedback from noted adjudicators, and take classes with highly sought after master teachers from companies around the world,” said Melanie Szucs, Beck Center’s associate director of Dance Education. “The results were the ‘icing on the cake’ for our students and confirm the excellent training they are receiving from Beck Center faculty.”
Along with the weekend of competition, the students had the opportunity to attend a variety of master classes taught my several esteemed instructors including Keith Roberts (former principle dancer with American Ballet Theatre), Claire Baulieu (of the Paris Opera Ballet), Ethan Brown (American Ballet Theatre) and Anna Liceica (of the New York City Ballet). It was an exhausting yet exhilarating trip for the dancers and parents who accompanied them on the trip.
Youth America Grand Prix is the world’s largest student ballet scholarship competition that awards over $250,000 annually in scholarships to leading dance schools worldwide. The competition is held annually around the world and in New York City, and is open to dance students of all nationalities 9 to 19 years old. Launched in 1999 by two former dancers of the world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet, Larissa and Gennadi Saveliev, YAGP is also a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization created with a mission to provide extraordinary educational and professional opportunities to young dancers, acting as a stepping stone to a professional dance career. For more information, visit yagp.org.
Located at 17801 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood, Beck Center for the Arts is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization that offers professional theater productions, arts education programming in dance, music, theater, visual arts, early childhood, and creative arts therapies for special needs students, and free gallery exhibits featuring local, regional, and international artists.