Oct 27, 2020
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Larissa Saveliev — Founder and Artistic Director at the Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) — and Sergey Gordeev, who is the Founding Director of Communications and External Affairs at the Youth America Grand Prix. Larissa, who was trained at the Bolshoi Ballet, has received a mountain of accolades, including being named one of Dance Magazine’s top 25 most influential people in dance. Sergey is an Emmy Award-winning broadcaster, actor, writer, jazz pianist, journalist, translator, and composer.
The Youth America Grand Prix has literally changed the dance industry since its founding in 1999 and has allowed young dancers from all areas of the globe to be celebrated for their talents, regardless of economic status. On the podcast, Larissa and Sergey dive deep into the fascinating (and funny) story of how the competition was born, discuss how coming up with “the big idea” is the easiest part of the process, and explain how life’s real winners are the ones who are willing to put in the work to make their ideas a reality.
“We didn’t want to have a competition for the sake of competition. We wanted to have a competition with a purpose where the kids can receive something more than just a trophy."
“[YAGP] has created a different paradigm that dancers grow up in. The world is literally their oyster. They can go anywhere if they’re good enough."
“The fact that Youth America Grand Prix is still here after 21 years shows that this is needed, this will go on. Whatever form this takes, this is here because people need it to be here."
“It’s not enough to just have a good idea. It’s the central ingredient — the necessary start — but it’s not enough. You have to put in the work and be willing to literally go the distance to get there."
“Like any good idea, unless you can communicate the idea to other people in a way that they really can understand, it’s just an idea."
“Success at any endeavor all depends on developing a great team."
“Even if you have nothing, if you have a good idea and the willingness to put the time, energy, and effort into the idea, it will for sure blossom. You just have to believe in it and keep working."
Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:
4:05: Larissa and Sergey discuss the founding idea behind the Youth America Grand Prix and how they wanted to rethink the modern dance competition.
9:19: Sergey retells the funny story of how he and Larissa initially met and how the YAGP was born inside of a humble NYC café.
14:32: Larissa and Sergey explain how Youth America Grand Prix has grown and has literally changed the paradigm for young dancers.
19:20: Larissa and Sergey discuss the nature of ideas and how every idea — even the great ones — require hard work and grit to make a reality.
25:08: Larissa explains why she believes there is a discrepancy between males and females in dance leadership.
27:38: Larissa and Sergey share some ideas that could possibly help prepare and advance more women into dance leadership roles.
36:09: Sergey shares his vision for the future of YAGP, which includes using technology to reach an even broader audience.
Bullet List of Resources –
Youth America Grand Prix