2022 End-of-Year Highlights

Dear Friends,

As 2022 is coming to an end, we could not be more grateful to all of you for making the first half of our 2023 season such a success. A record number of dancers took part in this fall’s semi-finals in 5 U.S. cities and 12 international locations – and even more registered for the 26-city U.S. and Canada audition tour in the spring. 

We love seeing the passion, dedication and sheer JOY on the faces of all the young dancers taking part in the live audition events. We also love continuing to be able to offer virtual semi-finals as an alternative to live performance. This year’s virtual semi-finals saw more than 360 participants from 41 countries performing before the judges and scholarship presenters from every corner of the globe.

From scholarship auditions to Gala performances, education events, and even humanitarian aid for dancers displaced by war, YAGP continues to honor its mission to support the next generation of talented young dance artists. We truly believe that dance has the power to save lives – sometimes literally! – and we thank you for being part of the world’s largest dance family.

We wish you all the very best for a warm and wonderful New Year – and look forward to seeing you in the upcoming season.

With heartfelt gratitude and appreciation,

Larissa and Gennadi Saveliev


Youth America Grand Prix

YAGP alumni and their stories are a powerful testament to the life-changing education and performance opportunities YAGP provides to young dancers worldwide. This year saw a record number of YAGP alumni promotions - here are just a few of the highlights.


  • Catherine Hurlin promoted to Principal Dancer
  • Daniel Camargo joined the Company as a Principal Dancer
  • Breanne Granlund, Sung Woo Han, Betsy McBride, Chloe Misseldine, and SunMi Park promoted to Soloist


  • Chelsea Keefer promoted to First Soloist
  • Brian Waldrep promoted to Soloist
  • Olivia Gusti and Kazlyn Nielsen promoted to Demi-Soloist


  • Julian MacKay joined the Company as a Principal Dancer
  • António Casalinho and Shale Wagman promoted to First Soloist
  • Carollina Bastos promoted to Soloist


  • Yaoqian Shang promoted to Principal Dancer
  • Yu Kurihara promoted to First Soloist


  • Jeffrey Cirio returned to the Company as a Principal Dancer
  • Haley Schwanz promoted to Soloist
  • Daniel Durrett promoted to Second Soloist


  • Vaclav Lamparter promoted to First Soloist


  • Victor Caixeta joined the Company as a Soloist


  • Shiori Kase promoted to Lead Principal 
  • Daniel McCormick promoted to First Soloist 
  • Precious Adams and Julia Conway promoted to Soloist


  • Tyler Donatelli promoted to First Soloist 
  • Chandler Dalton and Aoi Fujiwara promoted to Soloist


  • Isaac Hernandez returned to the Company as a Principal Dancer
  • Katherine Barkman joined the Company as a Soloist


  • Genevieve Penn Nabity promoted to Principal Dancer


  • Emma Von Enck promoted to Soloist


  • Jonathan Batista and James Kirby Rogers promoted to Principal Dancer


  • Austin Eyler and Pau Pujol promoted to Soloist


  • William Bracewell promoted to Principal Dancer
  • Annette Buvoli, Leticia Dias, and David Donnelly promoted to Soloist


  • Madeline Woo promoted to Principal Dancer


  • Mackenzie Brown and Veronika Verterich promoted to Soloist

Catherine Hurlin

(American Ballet Theatre)

António Casalinho

(Bayerisches Staatsballett)

Emma Von Enck

(New York City Ballet)

Shale Wagman

(Bayerisches Staatsballett)

Jonathan Batista

(Pacific Northwest Ballet)

William Bracewell

(The Royal Ballet)

Madeline Woo

(Royal Swedish Ballet)

YAGP alumni continued to grace the covers of numerous publications worldwide in 2022, including PointeDance Magazine, and Dance Europe. For the second year in a row, YAGP alumni were recognized on the annual Forbes "30 Under 30" lineup, with Gabe Stone Shayer (American Ballet Theatre) receiving the honor on the 2023 Arts & Style list.

Chloe Misseldine (ABT)

Gabe Stone Shayer (ABT)

Mackenzie Richter (Houston Ballet)

Maia Makhteli & Young Gyu Choi (Dutch National Ballet)

Indiana Woodward

(New York City Ballet)

Victor Caixeta

(Dutch National Ballet)

Once again, YAGP alumni were among those selected as Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch" in 2023. Our congratulations to Quinn Starner (New York City Ballet), Simone Acri (Houston Ballet), and Erin Casale (Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre).

For the full list, click here.

Quinn Starner

Simone Acri

Erin Casale

Several YAGP alumni were also recognized in Pointe's "Standout Performances of 2022," honoring some of the year's most memorable performances.

Please join us in congratulating Catherine Hurlin (American Ballet Theatre), Jeffrey Cirio (English National Ballet), Taylor Stanley (New York City Ballet), Precious Adams (English National Ballet), Katlyn Addison (Ballet West), Bleuenn Battistoni (Paris Opera Ballet), Portia Adams (Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo), Jonathan Fahoury (New York City Ballet), Isadora Valero (Miami City Ballet), and Gian Carlo Perez (The Washington Ballet). To read the full article, click here.

Jeffrey Cirio

Katlyn Addison

Bleuenn Battistoni

As the world's largest dance network, YAGP has been especially grateful this year to be in the position to engage this network - in real time and when real need occurred - to place more than 200 displaced Ukrainian dancers at leading dance schools across Europe and in the United States. 

This would not have been possible without the generosity of our colleagues from YAGP scholarship-presenting schools around the world and the support from the global community, which resulted in a transformational grant from The Howard G. Buffett Foundation to continue providing support and relief to these deserving young artists.

Eva Hrytsak, now studying on scholarship at the American Ballet Theatre JKO School in New York

A Celebration of Dance

Hosted by Kamie Lightburn

Monday, April 18, 2022


YAGP Trustee Kamie Lightburn hosted a luncheon in honor of YAGP at the beautiful Colony Hotel in Palm Beach.

The guests of honor - The Royal Ballet (UK) Principal Dancer and YAGP alumna Mayara Magri and La Scala Ballet (Italy) Principal Dancer Jacopo Tissi – posed with the guests in their Swan Lake costumes; a piece they performed at the YAGP 2022 Season Finals Gala in Tampa the following evening. 

Jacopo Tissi, Kamie Lightburn, Mayara Magri

YAGP’s Founding Director of External Affairs, Sergey Gordeev, hosted a Q&A with the dancers, who shared behind-the-scenes stories from their professional life. Kamie thanked guests for coming to support the arts by saying, "I'm inspired by these talented artists and by YAGP's work to uplift these dancers, and dancers everywhere".

YAGP Celebrates Susan Jaffe 

Hosted by Caroline and Ed Hyman

Friday, September 16, 2022

Susan Jaffe has been a friend and supporter of YAGP since it was founded in 1999. She has inspired countless young dancers as a YAGP Gala guest artist, adjudicator, master teacher, scholarship presenter, choreographer, and founding YAGP Trustee. 

On Friday, September 16, the YAGP community gathered to celebrate the 23 years of friendship with Susan - and toast her return to New York City in her new position as Artistic Director of American Ballet Theatre.

The gathering was hosted by longtime YAGP supporters and friends, Caroline and Ed Hyman, at their beautiful NYC residence. The guests spoke about how much it has meant for YAGP to have Susan as part of the family, and Susan returned the toast by saying, “What Youth America Grand Prix does is vital to the future of ballet” – adding that 60 out of the 93 current ABT company dancers are YAGP alumni.

Caroline and Ed Hyman

Irene Shen and Susan Jaffe

YAGP celebrates Olga Smirnova and Dutch National Ballet

Hosted by Afsaneh Akhtari

Friday, September 30, 2022

Olga Smirnova, a former star of the Bolshoi Ballet, has long been a friend and a supporter for YAGP. She gained international attention when she left Russia following the events in Ukraine.

Now dancing with Dutch National Ballet, Olga performed at New York City Center as part of the Fall for Dance festival – which offered the opportunity to celebrate her and Dutch National Ballet at the NYC residence of YAGP’s new friend, Afsaneh Akhtari. More than 50 people gathered at at Afsaneh’s beautiful home to honor Olga and YAGP alumni Maia Makhateli and Constantine Allen, both of whom are now dancing with Dutch National Ballet.

Jean Shafiroff, Olga Smirnova, Afsaneh Akhtari, Patricia Silverstein

The event was also attended by Dutch National Ballet Principal Dancer Jakob Feyferlik and the Artistic Director of Dutch National Ballet, Ted Brandsen, a longtime member of the international community of YAGP adjudicators and scholarship presenters. The guests had such a wonderful time that they stayed nearly until cocktail hour – raising toasts to YAGP’s important role as the #1 source of talent for the world’s dance schools and companies.

Celebrating the Magic of Dance with Hans van Manen

Hosted by Maria Cristina Anzola

Sunday, October 2, 2022

A dear friend and supporter of YAGP, Maria Cristina Anzola, invited a group of friends to her elegant home for an evening celebrating the magic of dance.

The evening’s guest of honor was the legendary choreographer, Hans van Manen, who celebrated his 90th birthday earlier this year.

Other guests included Dutch National Ballet Principal Dancers Olga Smirnova, Jakob Feyferlik and YAGP Alum Constantine Allen, as well as international ballet star Daniil Simkin. The evening was also attended by a celebrated jazz musician, Gregory Porter, who treated the guests with a short acapella performance, and Carolina Herrera, among other distinguished guests.

Gregory Porter, Olga Smirnova,

Jakob Feyferlik, Maria Cristina Anzola,

Constantine Allen, Daniil Simkin

Carolina Herrera, Herk van Dijk, Hans van Manen

A Celebration of Dance

Hosted by Ellen and Harry Levitt

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Italian-born Jacopo Tissi and Brazilian-born YAGP alum David Soares were the stars of the Bolshoi Ballet; Ukrainian-born YAGP alum Vsevelod Maievskyi was a rising star at the Mariinsky Ballet.

With the onset of events in Ukraine, all three dancers chose to leave Russia and are now dancing in Europe. In November, they traveled to California for a special Gala performance at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Old and new YAGP friends joined these dancers and YAGP alumna Christine Shevchenko at Ellen and Harry Levitt’s elegant home in Los Angeles to celebrate the power of dance to elevate the human spirit even in the most challenging of times.

Alice Koblin and Ellen Levitt

Ronni Dressler, David Soares, Larry Dressler

“ALL THAT IS” jewelry event benefiting YAGP

Hosted by Marcella Guarino Hymowitz

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Ballet and jewelry made a perfect pair at this special afternoon hosted by YAGP Trustee Marcella Guarino Hymowitz at her elegant Manhattan residence. The jewelry event featured Nina Runsdorf’s “All That Is”collection – with part of the proceeds benefiting YAGP’s mission to support the next generation of dance artists.

YAGP Board Chair, Richard Osterweil, with dancers from Ballet Central New Jersey

As part of its mission to educate the next generation of dancers and audiences, YAGP partners with Galas and Festivals around the world to give its participants invaluable performance opportunities – and international audiences an unforgettable dance experience. Here are some of the exciting YAGP Gala highlights of 2022.


April 19, 2022

This year, YAGP finished its 2022 season in April with a spectacular Season Finals Gala at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, FL. Featuring a stellar cast of professional dance artists from the world’s leading dance companies along with the most promising international young dance talent, YAGP’s signature “Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow” Gala wowed the audience and captured the hearts of everyone in attendance.

The thrilling program was led by YAGP alumna Mayara Magri (The Royal Ballet), Jacopo Tissi (La Scala Ballet), and Ukrainian YAGP alumnus Vsevelod Maievskyi (Dresden Semperoper Ballet). Other stars included Daniel Ulbricht (New York City Ballet), YAGP alumna Beckanne Sisk and Chase O'Connell (Ballet West), YAGP alumni Gustavo Carvalho (Ballett am Rhein) and Chloe Misseldine (American Ballet Theatre), and many others.

Mayara Magri & Jacopo Tissi

Chloe Misseldine & Vsevelod Maievskyi


June 25-26, 2022

YAGP continued its Gala tour in June with two YAGP performances at the Nervi Festival – one of Italy’s oldest and most prestigious cultural events, which in its 50-year history has featured such greats as Margot Fonteyn, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nureyev. YAGP was thrilled to join this formidable legacy by presenting the next generation of extraordinary dance artists performing works by legendary choreographers Ohad Naharin and Goyo Montero in two Gala performances.

YAGP’s traditional “Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow” Gala featured young YAGP artists alongside ballet stars from the world's leading dance companies, including Polina Semionova (Berlin State Ballet), Marcelo Gomes (Dresden Semperoper Ballet), Jacopo Tissi (La Scala Ballet), and YAGP alumni Cesar Corrales (The Royal Ballet), Meaghan Grace Hinkis (The Royal Ballet), and Vsevelod Maievskyi (Dresden Semperoper Ballet), among others. The “Future of Dance” Gala featured talented young dancers from around the globe and the YAGP Ambassadors - some of the most inspiring young dance artists from the YAGP community.

Polina Semionova & Vsevelod Maievskyi

Marcelo Gomes

"EVOLUTION OF A DANCER" – a YAGP Gala in San Francisco

October 1, 2022

In October, YAGP Trustees Carrie and Jonathan Kaufman hosted a special intimate YAGP Gala performance in San Francisco. Talented YAGP participants from across California and beyond were joined by YAGP alumni Elisabeth Beyer (American Ballet Theatre) and Takumi Miyake (ABT Studio Company), YAGP alumna Wan Ting Zhao (Principal Dancer of San Francisco Ballet) and a group of San Francisco Ballet trainees – almost all of whom are YAGP alumni.

The title of the Gala evening – Evolution of a Dancer – highlighted the idea of YAGP supporting dancers through all stages of their development, from young artists just at the beginning of their journey to YAGP alumni who are now celebrated principal dancers of major international dance companies.

YAGP alumni Elisabeth Beyer & Takumi Miyake

(American Ballet Theatre)

YAGP has always been at the forefront of what is important to dancers worldwide – and, as contemporary dance is becoming an increasingly important voice in today’s dance landscape, YAGP has created a special program to give its participants a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the life of dancers in a professional dance company – from auditioning for the company to working with professional rehearsal directors and ballet masters, casting for certain roles, rehearsing, travel and performances.

The highlight of this unique program was the chance for 30 young dancers from all over the planet — the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) — to work with three of the world’s leading contemporary choreographers: Ohad Naharin, Sharon Eyal and Inbal Pinto. This life-changing experience began this December with a 5-day workshop in Israel, where the dancers took daily classes, learned repertoire from each choreographer, and saw an inspiring performance by Batsheva Dance Company.

The dancers will have a chance to perform the works learned at the YAGP 2023 Season Finals Gala in Tampa, FL on April 9, 2023, at the YAGP 2023 Gala at Lincoln Center on April 11, and at the Tel Aviv Israeli Opera House on May 27, 2023.

As calendar year 2022 is coming to an end, the YAGP 2023 Season is proceeding in full swing, with completed semi-final events in 5 U.S. cities and 12 international locations.

Some of the milestones this season included the 20th Anniversary of YAGP in Japan, the 10th Anniversary of the YAGP Paris semi-final, and the inaugural YAGP Philippines semi-final. Most recently, YAGP completed its auditions in Barcelona, SPAIN and Riccione, ITALY in December.

To give dancers an alternative to live participation, YAGP has also conducted its Virtual International Semi-Final, with 360 participants from 41 countries performing before the judges and scholarship presenters from every corner of the globe. Watch highlights from the semi-final HERE in the Awards Ceremony.

We now look forward to the winter/spring U.S. and Canada audition tour that will give young dancers in 26 cities a chance to experience the magic of YAGP. For a full schedule of the YAGP 2023 Season North American audition tour, click here - and stay tuned for live-streaming of every event across the country on the YAGP YouTube channel.

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Dance has the power to inspire, uplift and transform – but when it comes to young minds, its power to elevate goes far beyond the stage. 

Sharing the stage at YAGP with fellow dancers from around the globe creates an environment where diversity and inclusion are not just aspirational goals, but a shared reality – helping students become not only better artists, but better global citizens. 


Photography Credits: TES, LK Studio, Star Action Shots, Darian Volkova, Patrick McMullan, Skye Schmidt, Carlos Quezada, Jennifer Wingrove, Emma Kauldhar, Erin Baiano, Andrew Fassbender, Megan Ward Shore