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Update: Dance students soar at Youth America Grand Prix

April 30, 2012|By Laura Bleiberg
  • Chrissy Donatelli
Chrissy Donatelli (m31yjlpd20120430125449/600 )

Tyler Donatelli, one of the young L.A. dancers featured in a Sunday Arts & Books story about ballet students competing at the Youth America Grand Prix, had a double whammy over the last week.

Donatelli, 15, won the silver medal in her age group at the Youth America Grand Prix finals Thursday in New York City. She then flew home and won the top prize in classical dance at the Music Center Spotlight Awards on Saturday. She is deciding among various scholarship offers  for this summer (some received earlier), from San Francisco Ballet School, Houston Ballet School and others, her mother, Chrissy Donatelli, said Monday.

The two boys also featured in the article had successes too. Eli Gruska, 13, made it to the final round of competition in his age category, although he finished below the top three, said his mother, Denise Gruska. He received a scholarship offer to study at American Ballet Theatre’s school and was singled out in class by Élisabeth Platel, a former “etoile” with Paris Opera Ballet and now director of its school, for both complements and suggestions for improvement, Gruska said.

Adam Bernstein, 15, did not make it to the third round of the competition but mother Lynne Bernstein said he and his partner Maine Kawashima “rocked the house” in their pas de deux variation.  Bernstein said it had been an emotional week, inspiring conversations about “competition versus art.” Still, Bernstein said her son is already talking about what solo he might perform next year.


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