NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Youth America Grand Prix takes over the stage at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center this weekend in downtown Nashville. It’s not a grand prix featuring four wheels, but the competitors are still chasing after a victory.
Dancers ages 9 to 19 years old are competing for prizes, scholarships, and invitations to join world-renowned ballet companies like the American Ballet Theatre, Paris Opera Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, New York City Ballet, and more.
Newschannel5’s Carrie Sharp talked to one of the judges.
“I know many of the dancers are working to get to finals. Is this kind of the American Idol of ballet?” asked Carrie.
“You could say that,” said Rueben Martin, a YAGP judge. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for them… performing and be seen by judges from all over the world and directors from all over the world as well. We are looking for the next generation of dancers that will move into the company. You can really tell the dancer that is going to make it.”
Amira Hogan traveled to Nashville from Houston, Texas to perform. She started in the world of dance with a class at the YMCA and years later has fallen in love with classical ballet. Performing solo on stage in front of the best in the business can be daunting, but Hogan enjoys the challenge.
“I think the whole point — for me at least — is the experience, and to get on stage, to see other dancers and have that camaraderie with everyone on stage. And to see what the feedback from the judge is, and just learn from that and grow,” Hogan said.