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Dancers leap for spot in Youth America Grand Prix finals at regional audition in H.B.

Hundreds of ballet hopefuls turned out Friday to Huntington Beach High School to compete in the semifinals for the Youth America Grand Prix, the largest nonprofit international student ballet competition and scholarship program for students aged 9 to 19.

A panel of judges, comprising professional dancers and dance company directors, considered entries in both classical and contemporary dance categories across multiple age groups during the Los Angeles Regional Semifinals, which run through Sunday.

Judges watch dancers audition Friday for the Youth America Grand Prix semifinals at Huntington Beach High School.

The Huntington Beach competition is the second regional competition to be held, due to the high number of registrants from the area, said Eve Hodgkinson, a representative of the organization.

“There’s so much talent, we had to come back twice,” Hodgkinson said, adding the competition is a great way for dancers of all ages, nationalities and experience levels to be seen by industry professionals.

“If you go to a local ballet school they’ll push you toward this competition, because it’s such a great exposure and YAGP has so many connections in the ballet world,” she continued. “Even those who don’t place at the top in their city or more onto finals have a chance for scholarships and job offers.”

Those who earn top marks at the Huntington Beach auditions will move onto the finals, scheduled to take place April 12 through 20 at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, Fla.

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