BY TAMARA BECK
UNLIKE the rest of us, dancers make the critical and crucial choice to pursue their careers by the time they are 9 years old.
This arduous pursuit is also a costly business. To help youngsters fund their dreams are angels like Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP).
The nonprofit, the world's largest dance network, also helps to ensure the future of dance by educating and developing emerging talent. In essence, it offers dancers between the ages of 9 and 19 opportunities to perform and hone their skills.
To support its mission, YAGP organizes fundraisers around the world such as Monday (9 Feb.) panel discussion, "The Making of a Costume: a YAGP Winter Fundraiser". All proceeds from the evening will benefit YAGP's scholarship fund.
It is among various YAGP's NYC-based programs, including tributes to pioneers of dance, that culminate in the New York City Finals and the Finals' finale, "The Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow" gala, this year on 16 April.
During Finals week, more than 1,200 of the most promising young dancers receive in-depth mentoring, further scholarship assistance as well as professional and performance opportunities. The closing night performance pairs the best of the best youngsters with principals from leading dance companies from around the world.
If you have never witnessed one of these performances, prepare to be awestruck by the virtuosity of the dancers. Child actors can sometimes be cloying. These tykes, tweens and teens, on the other hand, don't just practice their craft, they demonstrate craftsmanship. (See video above of last year's Finals in New York City).
More than 300 YAGP alums are currently dancing with renowned companies such as the San Francisco Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance, American Ballet Theatre, Paris Opera Ballet, Royal Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet and NYCB.
"The Making of a Costume," a first-of-its kind fundraiser, will explore the dynamics of costume design from concept to creation. Panelists include fashion designer new YAGP board member B Michael, choreographer Andrea Schermoly, a 2014 YAGP “Emerging Choreographer," as well as New York City Ballet (NYCB) principal Chase Finlay and Lauren Lovette, both an NYCB soloist and YAGP alumnus.
BM will design a one-of-a-kind tutu to be auctioned, while CF and LL will debut an original pas de deux.
YAGP finalist Kanako Fujimoto is with Germany's Semperoper Dresden Ballet Dancers.
YAGP chair emeritus Barbara Brandt is the panel's moderator. "Every year, I like to explore a question that will give the audience an insider’s look into something that happens behind-the –scenes."
"This year," she said, explaining why she took the fundraiser in this new direction, "I chose to look into how a costume is made as it relates to the collaboration between the costume designer, the dancers and the choreographer. I wanted to gain insight as to how the process works."
Visit http://www.bit.ly/1Kz1w0C to learn more about “The Making of a Costume: a YAGP Winter Fundraiser”; visit http://www.bit.ly/1zgCQDk to learn more about the “Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow” gala.