Youth America Grand Prix


Dance In Higher Education 2014

In an effort to further expand the educational opportunities YAGP provides to its participants, this year YAGP is introducing its newest dance education initiative, Dance in Higher Education, at three Regional Semi-finals in its 15th Anniversary Season. As part of the program, representatives of the country's leading colleges and universities' dance programs meet and audition YAGP participants, accepting some into their programs on the spot. The program is led by Professor Peter H. LeBreton Merz of Point Park University’s Dance Department, and YAGP Dance in Higher Education Administrator Erin Mellott.

Each event consists of:

1. An information session presented to the dancers, their parents and teachers, by the college representatives.
2. An audition class (ballet, pointe, jazz and modern combination).
3. Interviews with college reps.

One mother wrote to YAGP, “At a time when dance companies and other opportunities to dance professionally are shrinking, combining one’s dance training with academic education seems to be an excellent idea. My daughter is just now at a point in her life where she is considering pursuing ballet in college, and your new program, ‘Dance in Higher Education,’ could not have come at a better time.” 

Speaking from the colleges and universities’ perspective, Professor Peter Merz said, “I think this opportunity for us as university level professors to have contact with such a wealth of talented dancers will be good, not simply for our institutions, but for our art form in general.” 


Philadelphia, PA – January 12, 2014 at The Rock School for Dance Education from 3:30-5:00 PM
San Francisco, CA – February 23, 2014 at the San Francisco Ballet from 3:30-5:00 PM
Canceled Chicago, IL – March 2, 2014 the Joffrey Ballet Academy from 3:30-5:00 PM Canceled
New York Finals – April 6, 2014 at the Juilliard School from 12pm-3pm

The registration deadline for attending any of these events is 3 weeks before the competition begins. Please download the following registration form and submit it (with the accompanying resume and photos) to

Click here to download an application form

The program will include the following participating institutions (may vary per Regional Semi-final):

  • Adelphi University
  • Goucher College
  • Point Park University
  • Slippery Rock University
  • Temple University
  • The Boston Conservatory
  • University of Cincinnati
  • Cornish College of the Arts
  • Alonzo King LINES Ballet/Dominican University
  • Mercyhurst University

“Dance in Higher Education” is free and available to all registered YAGP participants who are juniors or seniors in high school. For more information, please contact Erin Mellott at