Every spring, flocks of posture-perfect students from around the world alight in Manhattan to compete, learn and dance for days as part of the Youth America Grand Prix International Student Ballet Scholarship Competition.
On Thursday night, this year's winners showed off their skills.
Among them, Madison Penney, age 12 from the Master Ballet Academy in Arizona, danced a variation from "Esmerelda" with cheeky sparkle.
At age 19, Luciano Perotto is incredibly muscled for a teenager; Trained at the Rock School for Dance Education in Penn., he dazzled in a solo called "Lacrymosa," choreographed by Edward Stierle.
Taro Kurachi, age 18 and from Ellison Ballet in New York City, delivered a rendition of Basilio's variation from "Don Quixote" that managed to breathe new life into a solo that is seen repeatedly at competitions.
The gala evening also included a tribute to master teacher Bruce Marks, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Marks' career was launched at the New York High School of the Performing Arts, before he danced at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, the Royal Danish Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. He later led Ballet West and the Boston Ballet, and has been an advocate for the arts as a founding member of Dance/USA, a national service organization, and the chair of the National Endowment for the Arts Dance Panel.
On Friday night, the ballet world convenes again to see a tribute to the Argentinean Romeo of all Romeos, Julio Bocca, who danced with American Ballet Theater for 20 years. In an interview with Dance.com, Bocca described his current work as director of Uruguay's national ballet company, where he is expanding the repertory and leading an effort to raise the standards of ballet teaching throughout the country.