Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My YAGP 2014 Experience

This was my second year performing in YAGP and my first year competing in the Senior Category! I turned 15 in December of 2013. You are basically scheduled in order of age so for contemporary I was the second person on stage and for classical I was FIRST! I could see all of the other dancers in the wings, waiting. NO PRESSURE! I placed top 12 in contemporary and classical and was awarded 3rd place for my performance of the Talisman variation.

The judges were:

Charles Askegard danced professionally with ABT, NYCB with many guest appearances at other companies. Mr. Askegard formed his own company Ballet Next with Michele Wiles (former ABT principal dancer)

Carlos Dos Santos, JR. - A noted Brazilian performer and choreographer and former principal dancer with major Brazillian dance companies.

Kee Juan Han - A native of Singapore and graduate of the Australian Ballet School.  He has performed as a principal dancer with Indianapolis Ballet Theatre and was a soloist with Boston Ballet. He directed the Arizona Ballet School for 10 years and currently is the Director of Washington Ballet School.

Adam Sklute - Artistic Director of Ballet West, Adjunct Professor of dance at the University of Utah, oversees Ballet West Academy and serves on the Board of the Gerald Arpino Foundation.


So, YAGP is about handling pressure. That's what I think anyway. I think it is great to do well but I also think if you approach it as a competition you are missing the point. Being on stage can be SCARY. With judges it is REALLY just nerve wracking. The harder the variations get the more pressure you put on yourself to do well and nail this or that. But for me it is about learning to perform under that pressure. To grow through practising my variations and to try to be more and more consistent as well as comfortable on stage. Develop the ability to have nice presentation under pressure with a lot of people watching. For your solo it is all you. Everyone in the room is watching YOU and they all know you are being judged. NO PRESSURE!! That being said I think it is a necessary part of my training, that I actually do enjoy, and I will continue to do with hopes of improving every year and at some point with hopes of being noticed by a reputable company.

I think my contemporary was more fluid than last year . I did the same piece. You pay for choreography so it made sense to use it one more year. You can view last year here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c52PFm2zxcg  and 2014 below.

As for Diana and Acteon... LOVE this variation but I do think it is challenging. The turns drove me crazy. I was spot on then off. Not consistent. I was worried about them for YAGP and I have to say they were not my best. I have done better.

Talisman - Probably the most fun variation and I did get the higher score with it. I just love performing it. The music is great and it's just fun to dance. I didn't even notice the adjustment I made before my develope which I guess is good. You shouldn't be thinking like that when you are in the middle of performing!

Thanks for following my journey and for your support. Everyone is always really nice and supportive. I look forward to YAGP next year and to continued growth and improvements!



  1. A brilliant artist in the making. Bella.

  2. Obviously, you are your strongest critic. That's good, it shows how serious you are about your art.
    From my perspective, I see good lines, strength and flexibility. Photographers look for beauty and grace in dancers, you have that covered.
    Keep doing what you are doing and we'll all be paying to see you perform in a big name company.

  3. Way to go Robbie! They both look so awesome-- and you've grown so much more mature through your competitions between the year before this! :)

  4. Way to go Robbie! They all look beautiful-- and you've grown so much since the year before and this! :) Keep up the good work!

  5. I also went to YAGP earlier this year, and should be writing about my experience soon. I will also be writing about preparing for the upcoming YAGP, so check out my blog at http://hmanninen18.blogspot.com/. Your performances were really good, by the way!