International dancers compete this weekend at the Straz Center

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Thirty ballet students from Next Generation Ballet will be competing in the world’s largest ballet student scholarship competition this weekend at the Straz Center in Tampa, Florida.

The top 300 students from the regional competition for the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) will move on to compete in New York City in April.

This international competition is important because it gives the students a chance to be seen. Talent scouts will be in the audience throughout the weekend.

“I’m trying to get exposed to all these different schools and companies to try and find hopefully a job next year,” said Kenny Allen, a new artist in the Next Generation Ballet.

The Artistic Director of Next Generation Ballet, Philip Neal has referred to this contest as the “Olympics of Ballet.”

Neal will have 30 students in the competition, all hoping to be discovered by judges or scouts. Next Generation Ballet has had several students win scholarships and go on to great careers throughout the world.

“Their dancing solos are extremely hard these are renowned classical solos that principal dancers dance in companies around the world,” Neal explained.

The show is called “Stars of Today Meet the Stars of Tomorrow.”

The competition will take place Friday and Saturday, January 4 and 5. The winners will share the stage with international ballet stars Saturday night. The gala performance is at 8 p.m. in the Ferguson Hall. Tickets start at $35.00.