Metropolitan Ballet Academy Student Dancers Excel in Youth America Grand Prix 2014

April 14th, 2014 |

Children’s Ensemble Wins First Place in Philadelphia Regional Semi-Finals;
Soloists Win Top Honors in Philadelphia and Providence;
Faculty Members Win Awards for Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Teacher

18 Students Perform in New York City Finals


Jenkintown, PA—Metropolitan Ballet Academy (MBA) student dancers from the Philadelphia region garnered significant honors in the 2014 Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP), the world’s largest international student ballet scholarship competition. Young dancers from the Jenkintown-based pre-professional ballet studio captured top awards at the Regional Semi-Finals held this winter in Philadelphia, PA and Providence, RI.

18 MBA students went on to compete in the YAGP New York City Finals, April 3-10, 2014 where finalists selected from semi-final rounds conducted all over the globe competed for more than $250,000 in scholarships to 30 of the world’s leading dance schools, as well as job offers from companies in the U.S. and abroad.

In the Philadelphia Semi-Finals, MBA’s Children’s Mazurka from Paquita won First Place in the Ensembles Category, with choreography by Petipa, as staged by MBA Faculty Member Natalya Zeiger.  A second ensemble, Aloft, with choreography by Ashley Sass, placed in the top 12 Large Ensemble Category.

Soloist awards in the Philadelphia Semi-Final included Daniel Shevelev (14, Huntingdon Valley), who won Third Place in the Classical Dance Category, Junior Age Division; and Sierra Levin (17, Doylestown) who placed in the top 12 in the Contemporary Dance Category, Senior Age Division.  In the Providence Semi-Finals, soloist awards included Devon DiBello (17, Rydal) who placed in the top 12 in the Classical Dance Category, Senior Age Division.

In the YAGP NYC Finals, a total of 18 young dancers (ages 9-17)  performed, with the Children’s Mazurka from Paquita placing in the top 12 Ensembles from around the globe.  Both MBA soloists Mr. Shevelev and Ms. DiBello were presented with scholarship offers following their performances.

MBA students performing in NYC  included Juan Castellanos (13, Philadelphia), Aiden Daly (9, Philadelphia), Eoin Daly (13, Philadelphia), Tyler Diggs (12, Holland), Jacey Gailliard (9, Philadelphia), Grace Garrett (10, Meadowbrook),  Marguerite Gelfin (12, Wyncote),  Hannah Henderson (13, Huntington Valley), Ekaterina Hulayev (9, Abington), Ksenia Hulayev (11, Abington), Christian Lavallie (14, Abington), Caroline McKenzie (11, Wyncote), Micah Sell (11, Philadelphia), Cecilia Steel (11, Elkins Park), Kieran Versaw-Barnes (13, Elkins Park), Charles-Henry Waché (11, Maple Glen). MBA students performing in the Soloist categories include Daniel Shevelev (14, Huntingdon Valley) and Devon DiBello (17, Rydal).

Other noteworthy performances in the YAGP Philadelphia Semi-Finals included: Nancy Wenger (15, Newtown) and Brianna Yarnoff (15, Meadowbrook), who each performed in both the Classical and Contemporary Dance Categories, Senior Age Division; and Rafaella Rader (13, Philadelphia) and Tyler Diggs (12, Holland), who each performed in the Classical Dance Category, Junior Age Division.

Additionally, in Philadelphia, MBA Faculty Member and Alumna Sarah  Mettin won the 2014 award for Outstanding Choreography in Philadelphia.  In Rhode Island, MBC Faculty Member Natalya Lushina Zeiger won the 2014 award for Outstanding Teacher.

Vidnovic said, “I am so proud of our students, who worked extraordinarily hard to achieve these honors again this season, and thrilled that the Youth America Grand Prix jury has recognized our extraordinary Faculty Members Sarah Mettin and Natalya Zeiger.   The entire Academy congratulates Devon DiBello, Daniel Shevelev, and all of the students in the Ensemble for their performances in NYC last week.”

Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships to the world’s leading dance schools. More than 25,000 dancers worldwide have participated in YAGP’s international workshops, competitions, and audition classes, and more than 200 YAGP alumni are now dancing with 50 companies around the world, including such acclaimed companies as American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, and San Francisco Ballet.