After receiving multiple awards at the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) semifinals in Kansas City, Missouri, True Dance & Company student Leah Andersen, 17, advanced to the final round of the international student ballet competition that is underway April 12-19 at SUNY Purchase College and the Lincoln Center in New York City.
Andersen’s solo performances at the YAGP semifinals, held Feb. 21-24 in Kansas City, earned her a spot in the top 12 Contemporary category and second place in the Classical category for the Senior Division, which included 119 competitors ages 15-19. Andersen’s winning solos included Reflection, a contemporary piece choreographed by Ryan Jolicoeur-Nye, and the Medora variation from Le Corsaire for her classical piece.
The 2019 YAGP marks Andersen’s fourth consecutive year performing in this prestigious competition. In 2018, she placed in the top 12 of the Senior Classical and Contemporary divisions at the semifinal in Austin, Texas. In 2017, she placed in the top 12 of the Junior Contemporary division in Chicago.
Andersen has trained with True Dance & Company for nine years under the direction of Shari True, TDC owner and director. Leah was coached this year by her mother, TDC Ballet instructor Betsy Andersen, and has been coached in the past by True and Rachael Hummel.
Leah is a member with the Lincoln Midwest Ballet Company, under True's direction, and has been featured in several productions including "The Nutcracker" and "Snow White." She has trained at Ballet West in Salt Lake City, Utah; Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, Washington; University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell in Washington D.C., and will train this summer on scholarship at Charlotte Ballet in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Now in its 20th season, YAGP has awarded over $4 million in scholarships to leading dance schools worldwide. Over 100,000 dancers have participated in YAGP’s international workshops, competitions and audition classes. Currently over 450 YAGP alumni are dancing with 80 companies around the world, including American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, among others.
“We are thrilled to have Leah represent TDC at the YAGP national finals in NYC," said True. "She has worked very hard for this moment and is well deserving of this honor!”