Marina Halama - April 2016 Judges' Choice
I have been dancing since I was 3, but began studying seriously at 8. My serious training started at Illinois Dance Conservatory with Alyce Brinkmann. Alexsander (Sasha) Kozadayev recently became the co director in late 2015. Sasha was the one to realize that my previous variation that I was preparing for YAGP was not choreographed by Gsovsky and he feared that I might be disqualified if I performed it. Then he suggested that instead of learning a variation from another ballet, that I should perform Grand Pas Classique.  It was a real shock considering I had only been en pointe for nearly a year and a half, but I was thrilled. The balones were extremely difficult and they only started to be clean two weeks prior YAGP Chicago. Grand Pas Classique has dramatically changed my dancing, I have learned to become more graceful and a lot stronger from it. Apart from the classical variation I also study in Lyrical, Acro and Jazz classes, but only about once a week. But no other style of dance compares to ballet for me. I love performing and love pointe work. Youth America Grand Prix and other classical competitions have helped me grow so much as a dancer. Studying every last detail in a variation makes you more aware of arm and leg positions in ballet class. These competitions have helped me realize my passion for ballet, and I am truly grateful to them for it. In addition to performing YAGP offers many scholarships, connecting students to summer intensives, full year positions, and job contracts. This year at YAGP finals, I was lucky enough to to get one of these scholarships. Houston Ballet offered a full tuition summer intensive scholarship, and that is where I am planning to attend this year. Ellison Ballet offers a two week classical variation intensive which I am also interested in. The classical ballets inspire me to dance because I love being on stage performing for friends and family. "The Nutcracker" is a great example of performing with other members, props, set, and all that goes in to a creating a wonderful production. My future goals in ballet are to improve my strength and artistry, then eventually stay year round at an academy that leads to an opportunity to dance professionally at a great company!
 
Thank you again!