Dance shines with RUBY success


Lindy Mesmer has done it again.

The 13-year-old Radford University Ballet Youth student won the top prize at a Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) regional in Philadelphia, held Jan. 14-16.

With the Grand Prix award, judges lauded Mesmer as the top junior dancer in both ballet and contemporary styles, in a field of nearly 200 other young dancers. Prior to this year’s success, Mesmer was a gold medal winner of the 2014 YAGP international ballet competition.

Mesmer showcased her skills at the competition with a classical variation of the Sugar Plum Fairy from "The Nutcracker," choreographed by Vasili Vainonen, and a contemporary piece, "Dusk," choreographed by Kyle Shukis.

This year’s Philadelphia regional – the semi-finals of the YAGP – hosted fifty ballet schools from nine states and ten independent competitors

Mesmer studies with Aleksey Plekhanov, principal faculty of RUBY, and adjunct professor of dance at RU. He has coached and prepared her for her Youth America Grand Prix competitions.

Plekhanov and Inessa Plekhanova, RUBY director and associate professor of dance, received Outstanding Teacher Awards at the Philadelphia competition for their work with Mesmer.

RUBY was co-founded by Plekhanova and College of Visual and Performing Arts Dean Margaret Devaney in 2005 as a community outreach program that could provide serious high quality ballet training to aspiring young dancers. It also provides its students with unique performance opportunities through its direct association with the Radford University Ballet Theatre.

Youth America Grand Prix is the world’s largest student ballet scholarship competition for dancers of all nationalities between the ages of 9 and 19. Each year more than $250,000 worldwide leading dance school scholarships are awarded to winners. Since its inception 17 years ago, more than 50,000 dancers have participated in its workshops, competitions and audition classes.

For more information about the Youth American Grand Prix, visit their website.

Jan 27, 2016