Nine-year-old first ever Mal­tese dancer to com­pete in the Youth Amer­ica Grand Prix

Malta Independent - - LIFESTYLE & CULTURE -

Nine-year-old dancer Lea El­lul Sul­li­van, who has been train­ing at Art­sEx­cel dance school for the past five years, is set to be­come the first ever Mal­tese dancer to com­pete in the Youth Amer­ica Grand Prix (YAGP) – an in­ter­na­tional dance com­pe­ti­tion with en­tries from as far afield as Ja­pan, Brazil and Aus­tralia. Lea’s first trial will be at the Paris Semi-fi­nals be­tween 9 and 13 Novem­ber, be­fore she finds out if she’s made it through to the Fi­nals in New York.

The YAGP, which is the world’s largest global dance net­work, sup­ports and de­vel­ops world­class dancers aged be­tween 9 and 19 from var­i­ous eco­nomic, eth­nic and ge­o­graphic back­grounds through schol­ar­ships and au­di­tions, as well as ed­u­ca­tional and out­reach ac­tiv­i­ties, among oth­ers. By qual­i­fy­ing, Lea will now be step­ping into the shoes of many past alumni of the YAGP, in­clud­ing Melissa Hamilton from The Royal Bal­let and De­nis Matvienko from the Bol­shoi Bal­let.

“Lea started train­ing at an in­ter­na­tional level at the School,” says Mar­isha Bon­nici, the artis­tic direc­tor at Art­sEx­cel. “She has al­ways shown great po­ten­tial and she has the will and the artistry to go far. As per our School’s ethos – which is that if you re­ally want it, we will push you to achieve it – we have helped Lea gain in­valu­able train­ing and ex­po­sure abroad, in­clud­ing in San Remo, Prague, Bari, Livorno, and with the Bal­lettschule The­atre School in Basel.

“The Clas­si­cal Fac­ulty at Art­sEx­cel, which in­cludes Mireille Coleiro and Tamara Mi­callef, en­sures the train­ing each stu­dent re­ceives is of a high level in or­der to give the stu­dents the op­por­tu­nity to suc­ceed… Teach­ing stu­dents who want to suc­ceed is an ab­so­lute plea­sure, and we’re in­cred­i­bly proud of what all our stu­dents have man­aged to achieve so far!”

Lea will be com­pet­ing in the pre­c­om­pet­i­tive cat­e­gory with a Clas­si­cal and Con­tem­po­rary solo against an­other 100 dancers from Ro­ma­nia, France, the UK, Ger­many and Italy, among many other na­tions. The young dancer was nom­i­nated for the elite com­pe­ti­tion by Art­sEx­cel after var­i­ous in­ter­na­tional teach­ers and judges be­lieved she could make the cut. She has since trained in­ces­santly for the Semi-fi­nals, which will take place at the Paris Opera The­atre. While there, she will also at­tend Master­classes with world-renowned tu­tors as part of the com­pe­ti­tion.

“We be­lieve Lea has what it takes to make Malta proud and, above all, do her very best,” Ms Bon­nici con­tin­ues. “What­ever hap­pens, how­ever, she is al­ready com­pet­ing at such a high level, so even just be­ing given this op­por­tu­nity is an achieve­ment in it­self! Even so, we are com­mit­ted to nur­tur­ing the tal­ents of all our stu­dents, and we’re happy to see so many of them achieve their dreams.”

The YAGP Fi­nals, which will take place in New York in April 2017, of­fer dancers in­nu­mer­able op­por­tu­ni­ties and schol­ar­ships with some of the best dance and bal­let schools from all across the globe. Lea will find out if she’s made it through on Sun­day 13 Novem­ber and, un­til then, we all wish her the best of luck!

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