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Gabriel Figueredo in a variation from Raymonda. VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.

This week, more than 1,000 young hopefuls gathered in New York City for the Youth America Grand Prix finals, giving them the chance to compete for scholarships and contracts to some of the world's top ballet schools and companies. Roughly 85 dancers made it to the final round at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday. Today, the 20th anniversary of YAGP came to a close at the competition's awards ceremony. Read on to find out who won!

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One tactic: Post a statement on your studio's website about your commitment to proper training, per master teacher Susan Williams, seen here at Gus Giordano Dance..Photo by Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth Photography

Former American Ballet Theatre soloist Anna Liceica has been judging the Youth America Grand Prix since 2007. "Once in a while, we see someone who tries to do too many turns without good form or musicality," she says. "We don't encourage it, and that dancer does not place high." Judges (and artistic directors in attendance) might appreciate the spectacle, but they take technique and artistry into account when assessing the overall dancer. "Of course it's nice to do a lot of pirouettes and jump high," says Liceica. "But if the rest isn't there, the tricks mean nothing."

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Sarah Daley with Vernard J. Gilmore in Johan Inger's Walking Mad. Photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy of AAADT

Before joining Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Sarah Daley learned how to find inspiration in everyday life from her mentor Watmora Casey.

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Courtesy of Spotlight Competition

The music can barely be heard from the foggy courtyard, where Malu Rivera-Peoples and Cristina Fargas-Newell (“Miss Tina" to the students) allow a visitor to observe through the windows of a spacious studio as 20 or so youngsters dutifully execute grands battements in Cuban ballet star Jorge Esquivel's ballet class. “That's much better," says Rivera-Peoples, the school director, nodding toward a young girl who is stretching into a long arabesque line. “She's improved a lot this summer. They all come back mid-August, because we start rehearsals right away, so they're working hard to be in shape for the fall."

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