Local dancer Taylor Hogan performed at the Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP) over the weekend at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. The annual competition is the world’s largest student ballet scholarship competition that awards over $250,000 annually in scholarships to leading dance schools worldwide. Started in 1999 by world-renowned Bolshoi Ballet, Larissa and Gennadi Saveliev, YAGP is a non-profit organization that aims to “provide extraordinary educational and professional opportunities to young dancers, acting as a stepping stone to a professional dance career.”
At the age of eleven, Taylor has already been dancing for 7 years and participating in performances for 5. At the YAGP Taylor performed a classical variation of the Princess Florin in Sleeping Beauty. Although her performance was not part of the larger competition, Taylor had the opportunity to perform for a world-class audience at such a young age. Over the weekend, Taylor was also able to watch older dancers take stage, interact with performers her own age and attend dance classes at the famous Rock School for Dance Education.
“She did beautifully , it is a big events and she did not let it faze her,” commented her dance instructor Michele Xiques, who was in attendance. “The Youth American Grand Prix really allows Taylor to see what else is out there. Sometimes dancers get comfortable with their own area but this allowed her to see other great dancers from around the country.”
Pure dedication is something seldom found in younger dancers but Taylor is anything but the typical younger dancer. She is at the First State Academy of Dance Studio in Milford four nights a week, 2 to 3 hours per night, training 12 to 15 hours per week with classes and training. Taylor also maintains high marks in school and most days wakes up at 5:30 in the morning to study for classes. Vice President of her class, she also has a strong love for biology and will be volunteering this year with the Kent County SPCA and the Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation program at the University of Delaware in Lewes.
“We are so proud of her, we can see her passion for dance,” commented Taylor’s mother Cindy Tatman-Hogan. “She really loves it and is doing a wonderful job at managing it all.”
This week Taylor and dance instructor Michele Xiques will be going over her routine and the critiques from the judges at the Youth American Grand Prix competition. Michele is excited to see what the future holds for Taylor and believes she has what it takes to compete at the highest of levels.
“She was born with the dancer’s body and has natural grace and talent,” commented Ms. Xiques. “She is very committed and I can see her making it as a professional dancer.”