Earlier this month, 170 standout high schoolers ventured to Miami to participate in National YoungArts Week. The group of YoungArts finalists—whittled down from roughly 11,000 applicants nationwide—included 21 dancers, and they were treated to master classes with artists like former New York City Ballet principal Phillip Neal (who's a YoungArts alum himself), Miami City Ballet director Lourdes Lopez and Montreal's RUBBERBANDance Group director Victor Quijada. Sounds pretty great, amirite?
Dance finalist Kaleb Sims from Jacksonville, FL (Pedro Portal, Courtesy YoungArts)
It gets better. Throughout the week, students are further adjudicated for a chance to win monetary awards (ranging from $1,000 to $10,000), and they're considered for nomination as 2015 U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts. Dance finalists are following in some pretty giant footsteps: Desmond Richardson, Ida Saki, American Ballet Theatre CEO Rachel Moore—even Ricky Ubeda!—were all YoungArts winners.
Hayden Hopkins at YoungArts Week in Miami (Pedro Portal, Courtesy YoungArts)
For those of us not in Miami, YoungArts posts all finalists' performances on their YouTube channel. Check out Sarah and Hayden's solos below, and then click here to watch the others. And to get details about applying for next year, visit youngarts.org.
And here's a special gift for making it all the way through this blog—Ricky Ubeda's performance from the 2014 National YoungArts Week in Miami: