Competing in YAGP 2017: Sophia Lucia Shares Advice

  • December 28, 2016
  • by Chelsea Thomas

As many bunheads already know, the 2017 season of the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) has already begun. Sponsored by Capezio, this international student dance competition that boasts a reach of 7,000 dancers annually has already held its International Semi-Finals in South Korea, Brazil, Australia, Japan and France. Soon, the U.S. Regional Semi-Finals will kick off in January and run through March, concluding before the New York Finals on April 7–14, 2017.

Student dancers ages nine through 19 compete in Regionals for the chance to advance to the week-long New York Finals, where more than 1,200 of the world’s most promising dancers receive in-depth mentoring and various scholarship and performance opportunities. YAGP is a proven gateway for many dancers seeking professional careers, as more than 300 YAGP alumni now perform with 80 companies around the world.

Here, we’ve spoken to seven young Capezio Athletes who will be returning to YAGP to compete again this season. Each offers advice to dancers who are participating for the first time.

Sophia Lucia on stage at YAGP. Photo by VAM, courtesy of Jaclyn LuciaSophia Lucia

2nd Place in Contemporary Pas de Deux at YAGP 2016 Finals in NYC.

Do you plan to compete again this season?

“I am so excited to be competing this season in my hometown of San Diego this February.”

What advice do you have for dancers competing for the first time?

“Trust your training! Make sure you are completely warmed up before you take the stage for your rehearsal time. Remember to perform your variation; artistry is just as important as the technical side of ballet. If you get nervous before you take the stage, try to take in a long breath and hold, then exhale really slowly. This should help to calm your nerves. Remember to sew your ribbons on your pointe shoes so they don’t untie as you’re dancing. Don’t forget to enjoy every moment on stage. For me, it’s the best feeling in the world to perform.”

In the past, what Capezio products did you use while competing?

“My favorite Capezio products and must-haves are definitely my Hanami flat ballet slippers and my Capezio TuTu Bag!”

For more information on YAGP and its 2017 competition schedule, visit

Article Produced by Dance Informa.

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