Rochester’s Draper Center for Dance Education was the big winner at the 2019 Youth America Grand Prix regionals in Toronto.
Not only was the Draper Center named an outstanding school, but the 16 competing Draper students won 10 awards in total. Abra Geiger, 14, of Spencerport, is the junior Grand Prix winner and Olivia Bevilacqua, 15, of Hilton, is the senior Grand Prix winner.
Clara Theile, 14, of Pittsford, won first place in the junior contemporary category and top 12 in the junior classical category. All three dancers will compete in the YAGP finals in New York City on April 12-19.
“I feel so grateful and honored to be chosen for the YAGP finals and am most excited to be surrounded by talented students from all over the world,” Geiger said. “I hope to be able to learn from each dancer and work to bring their best qualities into my own technique.”
“I’m so thankful to all of my teachers at Draper for everything they have done for me,” Olivia Bevilacqua said.
Katarina Weissbach, a 19-year-old dancer from Maine, will come to Rochester this spring to be coached by Draper Center artistic director Jamey Leverett.
“It’s quite an honor for me to be chosen by YAGP director Larissa Saveliev herself to work with Kat,” Leverett said. “Having Draper Center recognized for its outstanding training is also a very proud moment and a huge tribute to all the hard work that happens here.”
“We have been following the Draper Center for Dance Education for the past 20 years, and their students always stand out for the unprecedented quality of training,” said Saveliev, who founded YAGP. “We look forward to seeing them in New York this year and in the future.”
Additional YAGP award winners were Hannah Boyer, 17, of Webster, top 24, senior classical; Anna Joy, 14, of Fairport, top 12, junior contemporary and junior classical; Vivian Li, 17, of Penfield, top 12, senior classical; Morgan Throumoulos, 14, of Webster, top 24, junior classical; and Jocelyn Wynn, 14, of Rochester, top 24, junior classical.
Four Draper participants were offered scholarships to Boston Ballet’s summer intensive: Riley Bevilacqua, 17, of Hilton; Giuilana Fauth, 13, of Brighton; Savanna Ross, 15, of Brockport; and Sarah Schiffhauer, 15, of Penfield.