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In Focus: Youth America Grand Prix ballet competiton

The biggest ballet competition in the world came to Pittsburgh last weekend, as Youth America Grand Prix held semifinals at Upper St. Clair High School.

Nearly 400 females and males from Pennsylvania and 10 other states competed in categories including “pre-competitive” (ages 9 to 11), junior (ages 12 to 14), and senior (15 and older).

Top winners were chosen to move on to the finals in April in New York City, where YAGP is based.

YAGP awards more than $250,000 a year in scholarships to send young dancers to leading schools and dance companies to continue their training.

Selected competitors will continue on to the finals in New York City.

Every participant went home with evaluation forms from each judge, and they also could take master classes from some of them at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

Ballet dancers wait backstage before performing during the Youth America Grand Prix semifinals auditions at Upper St. Clair High School Jan. 22, 2017. On the right, a dancer gets a hug from a teacher after performing a crowd cheering routine.
Anna Arvay, 13, of McMurray, as well as hundreds of young ballet hopefuls gathered for experience and exposure. The previous weekend, semis were held in Philadelphia and Boston, and this weekend, they’ll be held in Atlanta and Los Angeles.
A dancer gives a thumbs up to a friend during the Youth America Grand Prix semifinals auditions.
Emily Hain, 12, of Cleveland, performs during the Youth America Grand Prix semifinals auditions.
Lily Bertolet, 13, of York, waits for her chance to perform during the Youth America Grand Prix semifinals auditions.
Charlotte Elliott, 13, of Columbus, Ohio, get some quick repairs before performing during the Youth America Grand Prix semifinals auditions.
Jayla Thacker, 13, of Baltimore, as well as hundreds of young ballet hopefuls gathered for experience and exposure at the Youth America Grand Prix semifinals auditions.
A dancer prepares to enter the stage during the Youth America Grand Prix semifinals auditions.