And the winners of YAGP 2022 are…

Over seven hundred soloists, and over 1,500 kids have come together one last time this season to celebrate the largest ballet scholarship competition in the world: the Youth America Grand Prix, founded by Larissa and Gennadi Saveliev. Many of the world’s leading professional dancers have come through the Youth America Grand Prix at some point in time, and this year, a new generation of winners, participants and outstanding dancers have been announced. As our industry is slowly recovering from the devastation and setbacks of the pandemic, the Youth America Grand Prix has pushed through and hosted their international finals in Tampa, Florida at the Straz Center for the Arts. 

(cover photo: by Star Action Shots)

Dancers ages nine to twenty-two, from 30 different countries, have come together and competed across the classical ballet variation category and the contemporary category, taken numerous classes with international directors and master teachers, reconnected with old friends and have made new friends that will become lifelong colleagues. 

The anticipation built as the Straz Center became packed with parents, teachers, and coaches. All the participants were lined up, wrapping around Patel Conservatory, and everyone was ready to find out who would be named the next Grand Prix winner and be alongside the history and talent of this organization.

Asuka Hara, age 10, Ballet Le Coeur, Japan wins the Hope Award. Photo courtesy of Star Action Shots.

Asuka Hara, YAGP ambassador and YAGP Japan standout has been making a splash all season. Her version of graduation ball (click here to watch her compete at the YAGP Japan Semi-Final) has been the talk of the competitive ballet season. The girl is a superstar in the making.

Alexei Orohovsky, age 14, from Elite Classical Coaching wins the Youth Grand Prix. Photo courtesy of Star Action Shots.

Alexei Orohovsky, from Elite Classical Coaching, won the Youth Grand Prix Award with his version of The Talisman. Dressed in all white, Alexei looks like a Russian prince and dances with ease. This American is also a Helsinki candidate, where he will compete the first week in June.

The other big prizes of the night included the Shelley King Award for Excellence. It was awarded to Minori De Silva, age 12, from Morning Star Dance Academy for her variation: La Esmeralda.

The Natalia Makarova Award for Artistry was given to Charlize Hardwick, age 14, from Bayer Ballet Academy for her Giselle Peasant Pas De Deux variation.

Outstanding Choreographer went to YAGP Gala Choreographer, and internationally recognized Maria Konrad.

This year, multiple prizes were not awarded, and they included: The Grand Prix Award (designated to seniors), Outstanding School, and Outstanding Teacher.

However, a new award was introduced: The YAGP Humanitarian Award, and this year it was given to Larissa Saveliev for her work for the Ukrainian dancers. YAGP has placed over 100 Ukranian dancers on full scholarships during this time.

But this year, the talent was killer and the winners list was long.

The Senior Women Winners:

1ST PLACEMaya Schonbrun (17)Master Ballet Academy, AZ, USA
2ND PLACENatalie Steele (15)Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy, CA, U
3RD PLACELexi Mccloud (17)Moga Conservatory of Dance, UT, USA

The Senior Men Winners:

1ST PLACEArthur Wille (20)ATM Centro Cultural de Dança, Brasil
2ND PLACEZander Magolnick (16)Elite Classical Coaching, TX, USA
3RD PLACEHoyeon Kim (15)Sunhwa Arts High School, South Korea

The Junior Women Winners:

1ST PLACE Nao Nakajima (14) Symphony Ballet Studio, Japan

2ND PLACE Yerin Ok (14) Yewon School, South Korea

3RD PLACE Crystal Huang (13) Nevada School of Dance, NV, USA

3RD PLACE Sophia Koo (14) Southland Ballet Academy, CA, USA

The Junior Men Winners:

1ST PLACE Denis Watanabe (14) Watanabe-Buber Ballet Academy, Japan

2ND PLACE João Pedro Dos Santos Silva (13) Balé do Teatro Escola Basileu França, Brasil

3RD PLACE Suhyeok Bang (14) Sunhwa Arts Middle School, South Korea

3RD PLACE Clovis Couillard (14) Ecole du Ballet de Paris Stanlowa, France

Pre Competitive- Women’s Classical

1ST PLACE Yuna Yamada (9) Kinue Kobayashi Ballet Studio, Japan

2ND PLACE Mikaela Cameron (11) A&A Ballet, KS, USA

3RD PLACE Maria Qixin Tian (11) MorningStar Dance Academy, GA, USA

3RD PLACE Shaqueena Yefta Hutasoit (11) Marlupi Dance Academy, Indonesia

Pre Competitive- Men’s Classical

1ST PLACE Ruan Santiago (11) Ballet Monica Luiza, Brasil

2ND PLACE Leon Yusei Sai (10) Southland Ballet Academy, CA, USA

3RD PLACE Michael Savio (10) Stars Dance Studio, FL, USA

Pre Competitive- Women’s Contemporary

1ST PLACE Kiera Sun (11) Dmitri Kulev Classical Ballet Academy, CA, USA

2ND PLACE Morgan Ligon (10) Elite Classical Coaching, TX, USA

3RD PLACE Phoebe Ingram (11) Indiana Ballet Conservatory, IN, USA

Pre Competitive– Men’s Category

1ST PLACE Michael Savio (10) Stars Dance Studio, FL, USA

2ND PLACE Ruan Santiago (11) Ballet Monica Luiza, Brasil

3RD PLACE Dylan Custodio (10) Fort Lauderdale Youth Ballet, FL, USA

Classical Pas De Deux Winners:

1ST PLACE Maya Schonbrun (17), Cruz Vining (17) Master Ballet Academy, AZ, USA for Swan Lake Black Swan Act III

2ND PLACE Kyra Orozco-Davey (14), Samuel Morris (17) City Ballet San Francisco, CA, USA for Grand Pas Classique

3RD PLACE Nina Miró Verger (11), Asier Bautista (13) Jove Ballet de Catalunya, Spain for Le Corsaire

Contemporary Pas De Deux Winners

1ST PLACE Nali Dobrin (13), Gramada Dragos (13) Choreography High School ”Floria Capsali” / Dance Planet, Romania for Spirits Talking

2ND PLACE Kailin Kratz (15), Kyawzwa Lwin (18) City Ballet – San Francisco, CA, USA for Prelude

3RD PLACE Michael Savio (10), Kya Massimino (11) Stars Dance Studio, FL, USA for Scherzo

Small Ensembles:

1ST PLACE Eureka! Mid-Atlantic Center for the Performing Arts, MD, USA

2ND PLACE Melliflous Ballet de Galicia, Diego Landín, Spain

3RD PLACE Raymonda Cavaliers UNCSA, NC, USA

Large Ensembles:

1ST PLACE Coppelia Friends Act 1 The Art of Classical Ballet, FL, USA

2ND PLACE Tang Dynasty OAEC, TX, USA

3RD PLACE Virus Ballet de Galicia, Diego Landín, Spain