Check out my interview with Larissa where we discussed her favorite Ballet and what we can expect from the Gala on April 16th. See below:
How did YAGP come about? Take us back to the origin of YAGP.
When I just came to the United States, I had been dancing with the Bolshoi Ballet and have not yet had any experience teaching. I wanted to try it, though – and in the process discovered that I much preferred it to dancing. There is no unified system of teaching here in the U.S., I wanted my students to have the experience of seeing other students perform and being able to compare their training to others’. I also wanted to share experience with other teachers – but I found that no event existed in the United States where that could happen for classical ballet students and teachers. So, I decided to create my own.
Any advice for the aspiring dancers who want to break into the competitive world of Ballet?
Don't compare yourself to anybody, but yourself. You may not have the perfect feet, the ideal body type, but as long as you dance better than you did yesterday - you are improving.
Your favorite Ballet and Why?
I love all the classics, of course – I am a classically trained ballerina. But if we are talking about contemporary repertoire, I do have a favorite ballet – it is Twyla Tharp’s “In the Upper Room.” It fascinates me every time – there is just so much energy, something absolutely special about it.
Why is YAGP so vital to young performers? How does YAGP stand out from the other Ballet organizations?
Ever since Youth America Grand Prix was established in 1999, several other competitions were created, following our successful model. But we still remain the original – and world’s largest – student ballet scholarship competition.
The vital role of YAGP is in that it identifies talented young dancers before their talent is fully developed – and helps them find institutions that will create the best environment for their talent to blossom. We have done this for over 70,000 students so far, and, as a result, 300 YAGP alumni are now dancing in 80 companies all over the world.
The one thing YAGP offers that no other ballet organization does is a lifetime membership in the world’s largest, global dance network. Once a dancer participate in YAGP, they become a part of the “YAGP family.” We will continue to share our resources, recommend the dancers for professional auditions, invite them to the Gala performances we organize – and even invite them to dance in these Gala performances as professional guest artists. This is a relationship that will last a lifetime.