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Hinsdale Dancers Qualify for Youth America Grand Prix Finals in NYC

Sarah Gresik
Sarah Gresik
The Hinsdale Dance Academy competed this past weekend at the Youth America Grand Prix Semi-Finals.  Five dancers (Alaina Gonzalez (Hinsdale, IL), Hannah Gonzalez (Hinsdale, IL), Sarah Gresik (Bolingbrook, IL), Julia May (Elmhurst, IL), and Julia Pontarelli (Elk Grove Village, IL) qualified, with three routines, to go to the YAGP Finals held in New York City, NY, April 4-11, 2014.  The girls were chosen out of nearly 1,000 routines and seventy-three local and non-local dance schools.  Madison Bartuch (Clarendon Hills, IL) also placed in the Top 24 dancers for her classical solo. 

The Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) is the world’s largest student ballet scholarship competition that awards over $250,000 annually in scholarships to leading dance schools worldwide. The competition is held annually around the world and in New York City, and is open to dance students of all nationalities 9-19 years old. Since its inception, the Youth America Grand Prix has become an internationally known meeting place for dance students and dance teachers, where they can exchange ideas and learn the most up-to-date information on a variety of issues in ballet and contemporary dance. YAGP's reputation level as a showcase for dance students (from America and abroad) is such that even passing the semi-finals round (and being selected to participate in the New York City Finals) gives the student an important distinction and a boost to their professional dance career.  

In order to prepare for this prestigious completion, the dancers begin preparing 6-8 months ahead of time.  As well as being chosen to go to the YAGP Finals in NYC, the girls have also been accepted into the prestigious summer dance programs at American Ballet Theatre, Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet Austin, and the Bolshoi Academy.  Ms. Pontarelli is a senior and has been accepted, on scholarship, to Point Park University. 

The Hinsdale Dance Academy (HDA) was founded by Jennifer Grapes on October 22, 2012.  HDA is currently enrolling students of all ages and levels.  The Hinsdale Ballet Theatre is the official pre-professional ballet company for HDA.  For more information, please visit www.hinsdaledanceacademy.com

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