From past participant, Ricky Ubeda (2014 YoungArts Winner in Dance and So You Think You Can Dance Winner, Season 11)
In January 2014, during my senior year of high school, I spent a week in Miami all-expenses-paid, surrounded by more than 170 young artists from across the nation. There were 19 other dancers, and it was so inspiring to be with talented, ambitious people my age, going through the same highs and trials in their lives, but from all styles and backgrounds. We received feedback on our solos and took master classes (with legends such as Debbie Allen, Jacques d’Amboise, and Rita Moreno) to help us grow as artists, but it wasn’t with the goal of “perfection” or to dance like one person or the next. The goal was to find the strongest, most honest versions of ourselves.
YoungArts is one of those unique communities that will support YOU. They are here to validate your talent—to let you know that you can pursue your passion and that it matters that you do.
Basically, YoungArts was a reminder that what you have inside is the spark that makes your art wonderful—and that is such a life-changing reminder. I wouldn’t have enjoyed or survived SYTYCD without that belief.
About YoungArts: YoungArts identifies and supports the next generation of artists, and contributes to the cultural vitality of the nation by investing in the artistic development of talented young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts.
The National YoungArts Foundation (formerly known as the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts) was established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison to identify and support the next generation of artists and to contribute to the cultural vitality of the nation by investing in the artistic development of talented young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts. Each year, there are approximately 11,000 applications to YoungArts from 15-18 year old (or grades 10-12) artists, and from these, approximately 700 winners are selected who are eligible to participate in programs in Miami, New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. (with Chicago and other regions in the works). With the guidance of YoungArts Artistic Advisors Plácido Domingo, Frank Gehry, Bill T. Jones and others, YoungArts provides these emerging artists with life-changing experiences and validation by renowned mentors, access to significant scholarships, national recognition and other opportunities throughout their careers to help ensure that the nation’s most outstanding emerging artists are encouraged to pursue careers in the arts.
To date, YoungArts has honored more than 20,000 young artists with over $6 million in monetary awards; facilitated in excess of $150 million in scholarship opportunities; and enabled its participants to work with some of the most distinguished artists, such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jacques d’Amboise, Renée Fleming, Zaha Hadid, Joan Lader, Branford Marsalis, Robert Redford, Martin Scorsese, Marisa Tomei, Kathleen Turner and Bruce Weber. In addition, at the request of the Commission on Presidential Scholars, which is appointed by the President of the United States, YoungArts serves as the exclusive nominating agency for the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, the country’s highest honor for young artists. Presidential Scholars in the Arts receive a Presidential Medal at the White House and perform at the Kennedy Center or exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution.
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