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DanceMommy2Riley

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Hi!!!

We will be attending YAGP in the spring for the first time and DD is super excited. She has been competing for 3 years, but this is her first year competing as an "independent." She's been dying to compete at YAGP, but never got the chance because it wasn't one of the usual comps that our studio attends (our studio isn't really big on competing). I am totally lost because although she loves pointe, she has never competed a pointe solo at a competition. Please bear with me and all of my questions lol. [wink] 

1. Where do you purchase your DD's tutus? I am kinda cheap lol, so I am looking for the cheapest possible solution. I have searched on eBay, but I really didn't find one that was cheap enough for me. 

2. Awards. My daughter is all about wanting to win an award. I really do not know about how their awards work (how many kids in each age division win?) and does every child receive some type of participation award? I believe there is a top 24? Does each child in the top 24 receive an award? What kinds of awards are given out? Hoping a day comes when she isn't so "awards crazy," but for right now it is pretty important to her. 

3. New York Finals. She ultimately wants to get the opportunity to be invited to the New York Finals. How many kids are usually invited? I am guessing only a handful of kids are chosen?

I think that is all of my questions for now. TIA! [wink]

DanceMommy2Riley


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Rebelina

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Reply with quote  #2 
We are new to YAGP this year too but I have gotten a lot of advice from other dance moms. We used Twirling Ballerinas for my DD’s tutu. I found that cheap tutus do not exist unless you stumble across a resale. We paid $350 for her tutu and it is gorgeous! They do a great job. Some ballet companies will rent out their tutus so that could be an option for you.

My understanding is that they only award 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. They could also award a special award in each age division that is considered the best of that age group. They will either recognize a top 12 or 24 depending on the number of entrants in the age division but do not award them based on placement. My understanding is that it is extremely difficult to place at YAGP. This is not a competition to go into for wanting it to be all about the awards. She will most likely leave disappointed.

They have to have a score of 95 or above to be invited to NY finals.

Good luck to her! My DD is competing in January and is so excited!


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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #3 
Can I ask how old your dd is?

We are new to YAGP this year as well but my dd is on the older end.  She'll be 18 in March.  As far as costumes... you don't have to buy a fancy tutu.  In fact, you can dance in a leo if you want (although I understand that very few would want to do that).  If you don't wish to spend a lot of money I might suggest buying a practice tutu for 50 bucks or so, embellishing it yourself w/some trim (or a simple overlay you can make yourself), and then wear it w/a simple leotard (or perhaps embellished as well).  I've seen people create some beautiful looking costumes doing just that. 

As far as awards/placing, to be honest, if that's a primary concern I wouldn't suggest going.  Unless your dd is at the top of her game (for her age).  YAGP awards are nothing like regular comp.  There are no participation trophies.  And very few advance to New York City.  Even if she is used to scoring high at regular comps, it's apples to oranges.  Keep it in perspective & you/she'll be fine.  If not... you're likely to end up very disappointed.  Good luck.
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DanceMommy2Riley

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Reply with quote  #4 
My daughter is also on the older end (she just turned 15 a few weeks ago), so I believe she will be in the senior division. I will search for a practice tutu and hopefully I am skilled enough to embellish it myself lol! 

Awards certainly aren't the primary concern, however she is pretty competitive and she does really want to do well/win. I think that being competitive is a good thing at times, but there are several times where it is negative and she leaves disappointed. She knows that advancing to the New York Finals may be an outlandish goal considering that this is her first time competing at YAGP, but she is staying hopeful that she will place well, regardless of whether or not she is invited to New York. I honestly don't know. 

Originally I thought that everyone in the Top 12 received an award, but Rebelina thinks that only first, second and third place is awarded. I checked out their website, but they really didn't post much about awards. 
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heidi459

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As is always the case but especially if you're not at the top of your game, a lot of how well you do will depend on who else shows up at your particular regional.  Do you mind sharing which one you're attending?  We have two in our area... one in Boston in March and one 45 minutes away in Worcester in January.  My guess is that the Worcester one will be much easier to do well at because of it's location and date.  My understanding is that it's attracting a lot of dancers from local comp studios (it's a new venue for YAGP).  My own dd will be going to Boston but she isn't even thinking about awards... it's all about the training opportunity/ performance experience for her
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DanceMommy2Riley

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Reply with quote  #6 
We will be competing at the Regionals in Toronto Canada in March. 

I agree 100% that if you aren't at the top of your game, a lot depends on who else shows up. It really could go both ways too. Canadian comps aren't usually as packed as U.S (or I think anyway), however it is the ONLY YAGP in Canada so it could be crazy busy. We shall see! [wink] 
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joriebelle

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Reply with quote  #7 
The dancers are all sitting in the audience and they will announce the top 24, who will stand up.  Then they will call the top 12 up to the stage, for classical and for contemporary.  Then they will announce the top 3 places for each, which will receive a certificate, and the Hope Award and Grand Prix Award may or may not be awarded.  Yes, very hard to get selected for Finals in NY.  There are only about 120 in each category for Finals, which reduces to about the top 3 or 4 in each city.  It's not easy.  There are no trophies received.  Some dancers, especially in the older categories, will be offered summer intensive scholarships.  You don't need to place to be noticed and given a scholarship.
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PasDeChatMom

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Reply with quote  #8 
Which variation is your daughter doing? That might help us give you ideas on cheaper costume alternatives.
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ScottishDanceMum

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Reply with quote  #9 

Watch the documentary "First Position"... good insight for the YAGP.

I've got experience embellishing plain tutus, but I wouldn't tackle one for a competition of this calibre.  Wanting to save money is one thing, but you can't send her in there not looking like she belongs there.

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meatball77

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The top twelve gets a sheet of paper generally offering them a free pair of tights.  1-3 and Grand Prix gets a plaque.  They do give everyone a patch (it was a metal one year)

I've seen very very talented dancers not make the top 12 or 24 (ones who have been consistently admitted to top SI's), kids who placed (top three) who weren't invited to NYC.  These are kids who live and breathe ballet.  YAGP is tough.

YAGP is a fine goal if you are just looking to perform there and be part of it.  However, the senior levels are insane and even hoping to make top 24 (if they have one) if you are there for the first time and from a studio without a noticeable name is a huge reach and realistically isn't going to happen.  She'll be competing against dancers who have been on pointe since they were 11 (or younger) and who are dancing 10-25+ hours of ballet a week. 
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meatball77

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Reply with quote  #11 
Oh, I get my costumes from Aliexpress.  They are very slow to deliver and the factories close for a month for Chinese new year so if you're going to order one you need to do so now.
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heidi459

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottishDanceMum

Watch the documentary "First Position"... good insight for the YAGP.

I've got experience embellishing plain tutus, but I wouldn't tackle one for a competition of this calibre.  Wanting to save money is one thing, but you can't send her in there not looking like she belongs there.



The regionals are not of the caliber they once were.   No longer is it only about the most serious of ballet dancers from the most serious of ballet schools.  An embellished plain tutu, provided it isn't mickey moused, would not make one look like they didn't belong.
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PasDeChatMom

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanceMommy2Riley
We will be competing at the Regionals in Toronto Canada in March. 

I agree 100% that if you aren't at the top of your game, a lot depends on who else shows up. It really could go both ways too. Canadian comps aren't usually as packed as U.S (or I think anyway), however it is the ONLY YAGP in Canada so it could be crazy busy. We shall see! [wink] 


9 of the top 12 senior women's classical spots in 2017 were taken by dancers training in the United States including a handful from Ellison Ballet, which has a strong track record at YAGP. There will be contestants from all over the U.S. at the Toronto regional. In 2017 they had enough participants to award a top 24 so I would go into this expecting a large turnout with some amazing talent in the senior category. 


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PasDeChatMom

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Reply with quote  #14 
I couldn't find a video of the Toronto 2017 1st place winner's performance from that competition but here's a video of one of her YAGP performances in 2014 when she was 15 - just for reference. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2fKE_9PTMs

My daughter is competing at YAGP for the first time this year, she's 14. She has danced with some of the regional and final Hope/Youth Grand Prix/Grand Prix award winners so she knows the level of training that these dancers have. She's going into her first YAGP season planning to immerse herself in the entire experience - the growth that comes from private coaching, the fun of a tutu, performing her solos on stage, the bonding time with her ballet friends at these competitions.
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ggsmith

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Reply with quote  #15 
I'm not sure what the situation is this year, but last year some locations were full very early in the fall.  If you are sure you are going, register as soon as possible.

The costume will depend on the variation.  Some variations are traditionally performed in pancake tutus of stiff netting, while others are performed in a longer soft tutu that ends just below the knee.  The longer tutus are I believe referred to as romantic tutus and it is actually much easier to find an inexpensive tutu in that style.  Some ballet companies will rent costumes and I have seen attractive costumes from AliBaba.  I've seen pancake style costumes at AliBaba from $180 - $500 and I know they require a bit of extra time because they are manufactured and shipped from China directly.  

As far as placing, there were about 60 senior women in the regional nearest us last year and from that group a top 12 was chosen.  From that group a first, second, and third place were awarded in addition to the Grand Prix.  They do not announce the names of those invited to compete in NY.  It's possible for even the top three to fail to secure an invitation to NY, so attending a regional competition that draws a less talented group overall might improve your chances for top 12 but not necessarily a chance at NY.  There is at least one powerhouse ballet competition studio that sends students to different regional competitions around the country.  At our regional a huge majority of the top 12 or 24 dancers are consistently chosen from two schools.  Make of that what you will.
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Phx115

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Reply with quote  #16 
My DD11 competed last year in the precompetitive division in Toronto, which is less crazy than the junior/senior levels. Still, even these 9-11 yr olds are pretty amazing. I did see a fair amount of comp studio dancers/routines, but overall the level was still high.

I tend to think Toronto will fill up with dancers that competed at earlier regionals and are trying to get to Finals, thus making the ability level that much stronger. Last year, Toronto was a month earlier AND a new regional.

Personally, I really don't think - short of inappropriate or completely unrelated to the variation - the costume will determine whether a dancer places at YAGP. Body type and technique - and not necessarily both - win out over a costume. "Potential" in the ballet world still means body attributes desired in classical ballet. Especially at the precompetitive level, I witnessed "potential" trump so-so technique.

I'll take the unpopular opinion - and I'm speaking about solos only. Any event labeled a competition IS a competition. I really don't understand the mentality that it is JUST about the process, etc., and "We don't care about awards." Of course, if the dancers achieve technical/artistic goals set for themselves; are dancing their personal best; and are gaining skills from the private lessons - that IS success. However, is entering a competition necessary to achieve those goals? Of course not!

So, why enter a competition? Really, the definition of competition is, "The activity or condition of striving to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others." - Oxford Dictionaries. I'm not afraid to admit that while my DD, and I to some extent, go into these competitions not expecting an award or recognition, the fact is that we DO care about placements, and are genuinely excited if she does place. Otherwise, why enter them in the first place? We look at it as the icing on the cake, especially b/c she isn't a consistent presence in overalls, nor has she placed at a ballet comp. These comps - YAGP or KAR - are not inexpensive, and I work and sacrifice a lot for DD to do them. Maybe if money was no object, I wouldn't care about the outcome? I have noticed that with each passing year, I see MY ability to justify competition becoming increasingly difficult.

Despite all this, DD will be going to YAGP Toronto again this year because it is her last year in precompetitive. After that, it's a YAGP break.

Just my two cents.


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PasDeChatMom

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Reply with quote  #17 
Why not? It sounds fun to my daughter and it’s something she wants to do so we are allowing her to do it. There’s no one right answer regardless of the definition of the word competition. It may be a competition but not everyone that enters it is competing, regardless of what the dictionary says.

Edited: Now that I'm not mobile. I understand your reasoning especially since you've been doing competitions for awhile and you're sacrificing a lot for them. My daughter competed once at age 6 before starting on a strict ballet path with schools that didn't compete. So this is basically new territory for her. We're also in a position, financially, that it isn't as much of a sacrifice. Yes it is expensive and we're not made of money but the expenditures don't push us out of our comfort zone. If that weren't the case, then I may feel differently. But that's kind of the point I was trying to make earlier - there is no one right answer because all of us have different circumstances and different goals. For us it is 100% about the experience.
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tendumom

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If only those who thought they could win entered YAGP, there would not be anywhere near the amount of dancers competing that we see today. 

Some folks have a sense of reality with regards to that particular competition. They know the dancer does not have 100% of all that is part of having a ballet body or perhaps the perfect technique, high extensions, musicality or whatever. Preparing for this particular competition, at least with the classical variation, does involve a process from which there is value far greater than anything one can win from the competition. That close coaching, taking about a variation technically, musically and emotionally is something that is not readily available on a one to one basis for dancers, especially those in ballet schools where privates may not be encouraged. 

The financial rewards from this competition are limited to a small number of dancers vs the number who do compete. If you win a scholarship to an SI program from the NYC finals, you may very well still need to pay for room and board plus air travel etc. When you add in costumes, costs of coaching, travel and stay in NYC, you could have paid for that SI tuition possible even twice over depending on how much you spend. And, many of these programs also give scholarships from their SI auditions as well. If the talent is there, along with the other necessary attributes, the scholarships will come. Of course, an even smaller number at the right age/stage will get year round positions with scholarships. Sometimes even with a stipend to help with housing, etc. That's different but an even smaller number. 

If the idea of entering it only to win, then why bother unless your dancer is one of the creme de la creme?  To me, some recognition would be the icing on the cake. I think of the whole thing as the cake, a nice dessert to accompany normal training but something that is not necessary by any stretch of the imagination. 

 

To be fair, I have my own biases with this. My kid, who is now dancing professionally, never competed in YAGP. She did want to, after the first time we saw a regional competition several years ago and she saw that most dancing were quite ordinary. She was at a school where only one dancer was selected to go. That dancer got a boatload of coaching and dd saw how that dancer benefited and grew as a dancer. She also wanted that opportunity to take the stage all alone, something she actually did not do until last year (she had solos and leads, but there were always others on stage- something that is not that unusual in classical ballets). Did it hurt her in anyway to have never done YAGP? Absolutely not. 

I have also watched YAGP regionals from before First Position came out. I was surprised the first time to see it was just a more sedate normal competition. I was also surprised that first time by some of dancers who clearly were not ready for what I thought was a higher level of competition. NYC is a higher level of competition, the regionals are not so much. As some have said, there are times at some regionals when even the winners are not invited to NYC. Now that the competition has expanded, the numbers at the top have not. It's still 12-24 in each division that get recognized and still a small number who get invited to NYC based on scores or politics or whatever. 

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Phx115

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Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PasDeChatMom
Why not? It sounds fun to my daughter and it’s something she wants to do so we are allowing her to do it. There’s no one right answer regardless of the definition of the word competition. It may be a competition but not everyone that enters it is competing, regardless of what the dictionary says.

Edited: Now that I'm not mobile. I understand your reasoning especially since you've been doing competitions for awhile and you're sacrificing a lot for them. My daughter competed once at age 6 before starting on a strict ballet path with schools that didn't compete. So this is basically new territory for her. We're also in a position, financially, that it isn't as much of a sacrifice. Yes it is expensive and we're not made of money but the expenditures don't push us out of our comfort zone. If that weren't the case, then I may feel differently. But that's kind of the point I was trying to make earlier - there is no one right answer because all of us have different circumstances and different goals. For us it is 100% about the experience.


I wasn't judging your decision. I'm sorry if that's how it appeared. Heck, for all that I wrote AND my feelings about competitions, my kid is still competing at YAGP and doing the regional comp scene. Personally, I come from a place that if I'm spending a lot of money on training, comp fees, hotels, etc., for a competition, then I do care what type of score she gets, and I hope that she might place. To say it doesn't matter at all, for me, would be untrue.

Others come to these boards with the completely opposite view. To each his own. Good luck to your daughter!
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PasDeChatMom

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phx115


I wasn't judging your decision. I'm sorry if that's how it appeared. Heck, for all that I wrote AND my feelings about competitions, my kid is still competing at YAGP and doing the regional comp scene. Personally, I come from a place that if I'm spending a lot of money on training, comp fees, hotels, etc., for a competition, then I do care what type of score she gets, and I hope that she might place. To say it doesn't matter at all, for me, would be untrue.

Others come to these boards with the completely opposite view. To each his own. Good luck to your daughter!


I didn’t feel like you were judging at all. Just sharing my perspective on it. Thank you and good luck to your daughter this year too!
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heidi459

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phx115
I wasn't judging your decision. I'm sorry if that's how it appeared. Heck, for all that I wrote AND my feelings about competitions, my kid is still competing at YAGP and doing the regional comp scene. Personally, I come from a place that if I'm spending a lot of money on training, comp fees, hotels, etc., for a competition, then I do care what type of score she gets, and I hope that she might place. To say it doesn't matter at all, for me, would be untrue. Others come to these boards with the completely opposite view. To each his own. Good luck to your daughter!


Thank you for clarifying because tbh, yeah...it did strike me as if you were accusing those who state otherwise of being disingenuous.   As has been pointed out, if only the dancers who were actually in a position to win were to compete there would be very few dancers competing. The very nature of this type of competition is that the overwhelming majority will not only go home w/nothing... they know that they will likely go home w/nothing going in.  And as a result?  IDK.... it almost feels more disingenuous to me to suggest that of course we all must care about winning or we wouldn't be competing at all.  Disingenous.... or perhaps just delusional.

eta:  unless of course the hope is just that no one amazing will show up.  But then.... IDK.  There are other words for that, I think  lol   

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5678StarMom

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1. Where do you purchase your DD's tutus? - Aliexpress all the way. I've purchased tutus there for 3 years now. Last year I got a platter tutu completely decorated for under $300 shipped, it is amazing quality. Many of the tutus you will find on ebay and even other standalone tutu sellers in the US are just resold from China direct at a huge price increase. The one we purchased is being sold for $700+ elsewhere. Look for sellers with reviews and the shop open a while. I just bought 2 tutus from Dance Favourite and paid $10 for expedited shipping. One is a plain platter that I am embellishing myself with appliques purchased also from Aliexpress, the other is just a white romantic tutu on a basque that won't need anything more added for the variation. I also like to make headpieces. IMO beautiful costumes help my daughter get into character...and I just like costumes, lol.

2. Awards. - Like others have said, go into this without expectations. Last year my DD 14 at the time was shell shocked and out of her element at her regional, partially because she was independent for the first time and we had never been to Chicago (which is a 4 hours farther drive than we normally go to compete) before. And she is an experienced soloist, including multiple pointe solos, at "regular" comps for years.

3. New York Finals. - I know that there weren't that many chosen from our regional at all. Plenty of kids made the top 12 and didn't even score high enough. And as far as cost, consider what tendumom said above.


Additional info you may consider -

At the awards ceremony, know that as an independent she will be announced by name individually and go to the front of the stage and curtsy by herself. Just prepare her so she knows. There were lots of independents at our event but it still felt odd for my daughter as she was used to being at comps with friends, and the announcing schools thing was different for her. They announce schools together and all the kids go up in school groups. After they are announced they go off stage and sit in the audience in chairs with the rest of the participants in the order they are put in by the competition.

Also at the awards ceremony, there isn't any requirement but a vast majority of participants dress up. My DD wore a fitted knee length wiggle dress and ankle boots and straightened her hair and did her makeup. (that was a fun rush as she went to an audition in the city right before the ceremony!) There were only a handful of kids wearing warm ups or not dressed up and they stuck out. I know one girl was wearing jeans and a tee shirt and seemed very uncomfortable.  

And just in my limited experience YAGP is far more political than "regular" comps that we have attended in the past. I acknowledge and understand that it's all objective, but my DDs teacher watched the entire junior contemporary field, as she was a professional contemp/modern dancer for many years and choreographed a beautiful piece for DD. Since it was our first time at YAGP, she wanted to see where we stood with everything. She was certain that DD would be recognized, if not in the top 3. That was not the case and teacher was highly annoyed that several other kids were put in the top group...but when you saw what schools they were from it made sense. I have no personal judgment of how my DD did reference the rest of the field in classical because we didn't watch, so I have nothing to note on it except we had many complements after she was off stage...and no placement, scores were ok but not amazing. They put the schools on the score sheets so it is right in front of the judges where the kids are from. We saw many teachers talking with judges and even introducing their dancers. The ballet world is small, so it's not unexpected that people know each other and are friends, but I do believe that creates bias even if unintentional. They recognize top teachers and schools at the awards, which is not unheard of but it is interesting to note.

Don't forget about the master classes. They are really a good deal at $100, and it's nice to share class space with the kids you compete against. Some aren't quite as good in class as they appear in their polished solos and that was a confidence boost for my kid. The judges teach. Plus scholarships come from classes as well. We know dancers who have received full scholarships for SIs from regional YAGP master classes. It's amazing how many kids don't attend them that compete. The classes DD went to were missing dozens of soloists. I don't understand this at all, since you have to pay the class fee regardless of attendance. We are from a small town and DD loves the opportunity to take class at beautiful studios with accomplished teachers.

For my kid who has been wanting to go to YAGP since first position came out, and we made her wait until she had a good amount of classical training, it was actually anticlimactic. She had placed all these "different/better than regular competition" expectations on it. It was really nice to be around so much classical ballet but it was still just a comp with a ballet slant! I think she will have a better experience this year now that she's done it before. I hope! Plus we went to a new school for coaching and will be attending with a small group of likeminded soloists, in a city that is closer and more familiar, and for my girl that will put her in a better headspace for competing.
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DanceMommy2Riley

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Reply with quote  #23 
Thanks everyone for such the detailed answers! I have found a tutu on eBay for a pretty good price (thank goodness!!) and I am trying to enter her.. I have a question about the online registration...

I created an account on DanceComp Genie and filled out all the info (she will be performing the Grand Pas Classique variation and also a contemporary variation). When I proceeded to payment, I got a notification saying 

"Almost ready! The next step is to complete the waiver for the dancer(s) listed below. YAGP will send you the waiver to your email. Please wait for the waiver email. It will arrive after we have reviewed your registration details."

Does anyone have any experience with this? How long does it usually take for YAGP to review the registration details and message you with the waiver? TIA [wink]

ETA: I think I figured it out!!! LOL!
 
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classydance

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Reply with quote  #24 
The purpose of YAGP is really to place kids in companies in professional jobs or in pre professional schools that are better than their local schools. 

If you want something else, you are missing the point because the organization was basically developed to recognize and place talent.  

At YAGP finals there is TONS of stuff going on behind the scenes to try to connect kids with schools and companies.  That's where the benefit is-- a meeting place with a chance to see each dancer give their very best.

Grand Pas Classique is a  widely performed variation. 

I found the culture at YAGP more serious. Judges don't really smile much at the kids.  There is no loud whooping or yelling. It's very different than the jazz comps which feel more "kid friendly," IMO. 

It's a very "Russian" organization and that means a lot of things--namely that they don't really care what parents think.  They see themselves as the experts on ballet.  They like a tall, thin body. And it is political--very much so. Many of the winners have Russian teachers.  Listen when you go and you will hear a lot of Russians--they all know each other.  Many danced with the Bolshoi.  They like a classical style with lots of flexibility and turning. 


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tiptoemom

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Reply with quote  #25 
@classydance is absolutely correct. My daughter attended one of the schools profiled in First Position. They have a long established tradition of sending dancers to YAGP. They are very connected to and with the organizers. They also judge in other locations. Walking in the Philly YAGP was like walking in with an entire football squad. Dancers were there to find connections to companies and/or even better training. They were there to be seen and to place. After First Position there was and still is a rush of dancers attending and they have grown to an unwieldy size. It was very interesting to observe. At least at that school, if you did not participate you missed out because it is a huge focus.
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