Writer: Yerelyn Cortez Hidalgo​

Spring Season is officially here as the time for charity galas and fundraiser events have officially started. Youth America Grand Prix held their 3-night event from Wednesday, April 12th thru Friday, April 14, 2017 at New York Lincoln Center - David H. Koch Theatre. The first night took place on Wednesday, April 12th for YAGP 2017 New York City Finals: The Final Round. Night 2 was the biggest and most glamorous night the YAGP 2017 Gala: "Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow". The last night was an evening to celebrate Julio Bocca: Tribune to a Dance Legend, presented as part of YAGP's "Legends in Dance"series. In addition, it was Julio's Birthday and what better way to celebrate his life, work and venture to another year as a dancer.

For YAGP 2017 New York City Finals: The Final Round, the season begins with more than 10,000 talented young dancers whom auditioned at YAGP semi-finals all over the world, and a mere 8% of them (1,200) were hand selected to proceed to the YAGP 2017 Finals. The Final Round is an exciting opportunity for the general public to see the world's most gifted Junior dancers aged 12-14 years old and Senior 15-19 years old respectively in their division. The dancers performed in front of judges and the audience one last time before winners and scholarship recipients are announced during the Awards Ceremony. This is the opportunity for them to get scholarships at the world's most prestigious dance companies.

Check out some of the performances from the first night's YAGP The Final Round below:

The second night of Youth America Grand Prix's “Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow' Gala” continued at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theatre with a cocktail reception followed by the performance and finishing off with dinner at the beautiful venue. The event is one of the most anticipated events of the year as well known personalities make their presence by attending to support youth in the arts. Amy Astley was the honorary chairman and Marcella Guarino Hymowitz as chairman, Samantha Boardman-Rosen, Colby Mugrabi, Candice Jordan Miller, Ashley Olsen, Mary Kate Olsen, Lesley Thompson Vecsler all served as co-chairs.

CBS's Keltie Knight welcomed guests to the performance from the stage of the David H. Koch Theater where young dancers, age 9 to 19 participated in  YAGP's international ballet auditions (stars of tomorrow) danced alongside today's greatest artists (stars of today) including Svetlana Lunkina and Evan McKie (National Ballet of Canada), Tamara Rojo and Cesar Corrales (English National Ballet), Skylar Brandt and Gabe Stone Shayer (American Ballet Theatre), and Tiler Peck and Zachary Catazaro (New York City Ballet).

Dinner and dancing followed on the promenade with guests including Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky, Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn, Karen and Richard LeFrak,  Nicky Hilton Rothschild, Fernando Garcia, Tony and October Gonzalez, Donny Deutsch, Cece Cord, Julio Bocca, Irene Shen, Bruce Marks, Deeda Blair, Olivier Sarkozy, Marcelo Gomes, Margot London, Harrison LeFrak, Paloma Herrera, Judith M. Hoffman, Maria-Cristina Anzola and John Heimann, Tico Mugrabi, Rachel Feinstein, Linda K. Morse (YAGP chairman) and gala vice chairs Christina Lyon, B Michael, Suzanne Dance, and Dr. Shirley Madhère-Weil.

Last but not least, the closing event took place on Friday, April 14, 2017 at David H. Koch Theater celebrating "Julio Bocca, A Tribute to a Dance Legend" in conjunction with his 50th Birthday with International Stars. YAGP paid a special tribute to the legendary Argentinian ballet dancer in honor of his trajectory work in the world of dance. Many of Mr. Bocca’s celebrated partners and personal friends, including Nina Ananiashvili, Marlon Dino, Cecilia Figaredo, Marcelo Gomes, Isaac Hernandez, Lucia Lacarra, Manuel Legris, Joaquin De Luz, Luciana Paris, Tiler Peck, Herman Piquin, Tamara Rojo, Yuan Yuan Tan and others gathered from all over the globe to honor the Latin-American legend who “broke the mold” by becoming the first ballet dancer from Argentina to gain worldwide recognition. Mr. Bocca went on to win the hearts of audiences around the world, inspiring and influencing several generations of male dancers. A full house closed the event and attendees were completely mesmerized by the different performances and final congratulatory party celebrating his work. A standing ovation to Julio Bocca had the entire theatre standing applauding the performers as well as thanking Julio for his work. 

Feel free to peruse some of the photos below to get a glimpse of the evening with Julio Bocca.

Youth America Grand Prix is the world’s largest global dance network of dance, connecting classically-trained students, teachers, schools, companies, alumni, sponsors, dancers and choreographers with audiences who share a distinct passion for dance. YAGP annually awards more than $500,000 in scholarships from the leading dance schools worldwide. Since its founding in 1999, over 80,000 young dancers ages 9 to 19 of diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds have participated in YAGP's international workshops, audition classes, and dance awareness events. Gifted dancers have earned over $3 million in scholarships to the leading dance schools. More than 350 YAGP alumni currently dance with 80 companies around the world including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Boston Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Mariinsky Ballet and many others. For more information, visit www.yagp.org

YAGP is proudly sponsored by Bloch, Capezio, Chacott, Discount Dance Supply, Dance Media (publishers of Dance, Pointe, Dance Teacher and Dance Spiritt Magazines), Chacott by Freed of London, Gaynor Minden, Grishko, Harlequin Floors, Russian Pointe, and Sylvia Co.

Youth America Grand Prix 2017 

YAGP Gala: "Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow"

New York City Finals: The Final Round and Julio Bocca: Tribute to a Dance Legend

Photo Credit: Annie Watt Agency and Presley Ann/ Patrick McMullan