Inside the Youth America Grand Prix 20th Anniversary Gala with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Oliver Sarkozy & more
The 20th Anniversary of the annual Youth America Grand Prix “Stars of Today Meets the Stars of Tomorrow” Gala featured talented young finalists of YAGP’s 2019 ballet scholarship competition sharing the program with today’s most prominent international ballet stars.
The evening featured the World Premiere of Porte Rouge; a collaboration by Mick Jagger and Melanie Hamrick. The Rolling Stones provided music (Sympathy for the Devil, She’s A Rainbow, Paint It Black), orchestrated by Mick Jagger. Choreography by Melanie Hamrick and Joanna DeFelice. Melanie’s American Ballet Theatre colleagues — dancers Skylar Brandt, Thomas Forster, Sung Woo Han, Herman Cornejo, Calvin Royal III, and Christine Shevchenko, as well as New York City Ballet’s Daniel Ulbricht — performed. Mick Jagger joined Melanie backstage in the wings to watch the premiere.
Olga Smirnova and Kimin Kim from Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet and Mariisnky Ballet (respectively) stole the show with Black Swan Pas de Deux from Swan Lake. YAGP proudly discovered Kimin, who is now arguably today’s best male ballet dancer.
In a poignant moment between dances, Cicely Tyson graced the stage with YAGP Board Member B Michael, and Calvin Royal III, to honor the late Arthur Mitchell, sharing, “I knew Arthur for more years than I can remember” and spoke movingly about the creation of Dance Theatre of Harlem out of the tragedy of Martin Luther King’s assassination, and with the blessing of his mentor, George Balanchine. Calvin Royal III explained that both Cicely and Arthur we’re his role models and dedicated his performance to Arthur Mitchell.
The dedication was followed by Dying Swan, which featured Bolshoi Ballet’s Olga Smirnova performing the classical version of the piece with Mikhail Fokine’s choreography, whileAmerican Ballet Theatre’s Calvin Royal III danced a contemporary piece d’occasion, choreographed by Juliano Nunes, and Camille Saint-Saëns’ music, played live by pianist Micah McLaurin.
The program was followed by a Gala Dinner, honoring Marcella Guarino Hymowitz, on the promenade of the David H. Koch Theater. Dinner co-chairs included Marcella Guarino Hymowitz along with Rebecca Hessel Cohen, Candice Miller, Colby Mugrabi, Ashley Olsen, Mary-Kate Olsen, Lesley Thompson Vecsler, and Annelise Peterson Winter.
Marcella is also spearheading Beautiful At The Ballet; a new initiative where one-of-a-kind ballet tutus are auctioned off to help talented young artists realize their dream of a professional dance career. Tutu creations by fashion houses Carolina Herrera, MONSE, and The Row were on display at the Gala. The tutus are for auction online at www.charitybuzz.com/YAGP and will close on April 25th at 3:00pm.
YAGP Board Member Barbara Brandt and YAGP Founder Larissa Saveliev surprised Marcella with a framed piece of sheet music from “She’s A Rainbow” signed by Mick Jagger and Melanie Hamrick.
A live auction also took place during the dinner with auctioneer Harry Santa-Olalla from Givergy who danced his way around the room, encouraging guests. A bidding war broke out between Olivier Sarkozy and Andrew Martin Weber over a Ruinart At Home Champagne tasting. As the evening went on, guests were encouraged by young ballet dancers, dressed in signature tutus from fashion label Loveshack Fancy, to get on the dance floor and show off some dance moves. The tables were dressed in kiwi branches with black calla lilies and pink fabric table runners.
Guests included Janet Montgomery from NBC’s New Amsterdam, Something Navy’s Arielle Charnas, Oliver Sarkozy with daughter Margot Sarkozy, Mary McFadden, Joanna Fisher, Franco De Vita and Raymond Lukens, Irina Dvorovenko and Maxim Beloserkovsky, DanceMedia owner Fred Seegal, Allyson Tang, Anne Hamrick, ABT’s Stella Abrera, Yaz and Valentine Hernandez, Libbie Mugrabi, Amy Fine Collins, Andrew Martin Weber, Beverly D’Anne, ABT’s Isabella Boylston and James Whiteside, as well as YAGP Founders Larissa and Gennadi Saveliev, YAGP Board Chair Linda K. Morse and YAGP Board Members Barbara and Gary Brandt, Judith M. Hoffman, B Michael, Howard Paley, Margot and Alan London, Sergey Gordeev, Suzanne Hall, Christina Lyon, Ellen Mondshine, Richard Osterweil, and Hee Seo.