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BWW Previews: CURRENT AND FUTURE BALLET STARS PERFORM TOGETHER IN STARS OF TODAY MEET THE STARS OF TOMORROW GALA  at Straz Center For The Performing ArtsYouth America Grand Prix (YAGP), the world's largest ballet student scholarship competition and global dance network - is kicking off its 21st season with the Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow Gala performance, on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, at 8 p.m. in Ferguson Hall, as a co-presentation with the Straz Center for the Performing Arts.

The gala features performances by international ballet stars. It also showcases the world's brightest young dance talent on the same stage, such as the Straz Center's Next Generation Ballet (NGB) and YAGP.

Larissa Saveliev, the YAGP founder, looks for exemplary technique and artistry, as well as impressive contemporary choreography. Soloists, duets, and ensembles are selected by her as she watches the competition. A stepping stone for great dance talent, NGB prepares dancers for professional employment through instruction, coaching, and performance opportunities.

"As in the past years, the audience can expect to see talented young artists performing alongside professionals, including YAGP alumni, from some of the most renowned companies in the US and abroad. The program will feature classical and neoclassical Pas de Deux, as well as some standout contemporary choreography," she explained.

Hosted by Java Ingram, Great Day Live, CBS Tampa, the program features performances by world-class dancers, many of whom are YAGP Alumni, from some of the world's leading dance companies. The cast includes Constantine Allen* - Principal, Dutch National Ballet, Sterling Baca* - Principal, Pennsylvania Ballet, Skylar Brandt* - Soloist, American Ballet Theatre, Juliet Doherty* - Principal Guest Artist, Nayara Lopes* - Soloist, Pennsylvania Ballet, Gabe Stone Shayer* - Company Artist, American Ballet Theatre, Anna Tsygankova - Principal, Dutch National Ballet, Daniel Ulbricht - New York City Ballet, and Myles Woolstenhulme - SALT Contemporary Dance.

"As organizers, we love being able to bring our alumni and professionals together on the same stage with youngsters who aspire to become professional dancers one day. Witnessing the interaction between generations of dancers and the sincere way pros cheer for band offer guidance to the young performers is extremely gratifying," said Larissa.

When asked to relay a favorite experience, Larissa said that there were too many to pick.

"There is a 'favorite' moment from every year, with gorgeous choreography performed; new friendships formed and wisdom shared," she said. "Just last year, choreographer Juliano Nunes and YAGP Alum Derek Dunn met at the studios inside the Patel Conservatory for the first time three days before the Gala, creating a completely original new piece. Juliano and Derek showed the 'work in progress' to the Tampa audience, then presented it as a 'world premiere' at the YAGP 20th Anniversary Gala in Lincoln Center. We are looking forward to creating a new special memory this year."

YAGP has provided opportunities to over 100,000 dancers worldwide to participate in international workshops and auditions, earning talented young artists over 4 million in scholarships awarded by leading dance schools around the globe. Over 450 YAGP alumni are now dancing with 80 companies around the world, including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Paris Opera Ballet, The Royal Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Washington Ballet, among many others.

"We are grateful to the entire Straz Center team, who are instrumental in bringing the YAGP 'Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow' Gala to Florida audiences."

Regularly priced tickets for the Saturday, Jan. 11, 8 p.m., Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow Gala start at $35 and may be purchased by calling 813.229.7827, in person at the Straz Center Ticket Sales Office or online at For additional information about the Youth America Grand Prix organization, visit

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From This Author Deborah Bostock-Kelley

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