Our Community

Youth American Grand Prix Competition

In 2013, BalletNova began its participation in the Youth America Grand Prix Competition, the world’s largest student ballet scholarship competition that awards over $250,000 annually in scholarships to leading dance schools worldwide. This prestigious event is held annually around the world and in New York City, and is open to dance students of all nationalities 9-19 years old. YAGP was featured in the recent film, “First Position. ”

Candidates for this elite competition are chosen from the Conservatory Division at the discretion of the Artistic Director.

Participation in this program requires a significant commitment of time and resources. Coaching sessions are scheduled in addition to the regular class and company rehearsal hours. All candidates must be available during the winter break.

Four BalletNova Center for Dance (BNCD) dancers won awards and placed in 2015:

            Alexa Mengenhauser, 16 years old (Reston, VA): 2nd Place in Senior Women's Contemporary, Top 12 in the Senior Women's Classical

            Amara Forsley, 17 years old (Fairfax, VA): placed in the Top 12 in Senior Women's Classical

            Cadence Rolland, 16 years old (Burke, VA): placed in the Top 12 in Senior Women's Classical

            Madeline Gradle, 17 years old (Falls Church, VA): placed in the Top 24 in Senior Women's Classical

Three (BNCD) dancers won awards and placed in the top 12 in 2014:

 Chelen Middlebrook, 14 years old (Springfield, VA): 1st Place in Junior Division Contemporary; 2nd Place in Junior Division Classical

 Joe Ogren, 17 years old (Arlington, VA); 2nd Place in Senior Men’s Classical; 2nd Place in Senior Men’s Contemporary.  Joe will be going to the Finals in New York in April 2014.

 Amara Forsley, 16 years old (Fairfax, VA) placed in the Top 12 in both Senior Women’s Classical and Senior Women’s Contemporary.

In 2014 BalletNova received the YAGP award for Outstanding School!

Dancers Care! 

Members of BalletNova's Dance Community regularly participate in fundraisers and other charitable endeavors. Our dancers, staff, and faculty all reside within the Metro DC area, with many living in the Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax communities. We continue to give back to the community with more than just dance.

During the fall dancers participate in a food drive benefiting the Arlington Food Assistance Center.  Non-perishable food times are dropped off at the studio throughout the month of November. Tap Instructor Candy Braden offers an afternoon workshop where dancers can donate food items in lieu of entrance fee. When things start to get colder, dancers at BalletNova collect gently used winter coats to be donated to Campbell and Carlin Springs Elementary Schools. 

In the Spring months our dancers collect Gift Cards to places like Target, Safeway and Giant to benefit Doorways Family and Women's Shelter. Doorways is dedicated to helping families that are homeless or in otherwise unfit living conditions. In Spring of 2014, our adult dancers collected $985 in gift cards to be donated to Doorways. 

During the Summer BalletNova offers a variety of Summer Camps and Workshops. During our Dance Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Camp, kids ages 9-12 work together with instructor Candy Braden to create a quilt. The quilt is donated to the Ronald McDonald House of Greater DC

 Do you have ideas for more ways for BalletNova to get involved in community service? Send us an email! 


Summer Intensive Program Placements

Each summer, our advanced dancers audition for and attend prestigious summer intensive training programs around the nation.  They are encouraged to pursue this experience as a way to experience different teachers, and expose them to professional companies in case they want to pursue future apprenticeships or jobs.

Here are a few of the summer program placements: 


Cadence Rolland – Houston Ballet

Grace Sisel – Sarasota Ballet

Sophie Paczak – Ballet Magnificat

Emelia Dagradi – Boston Ballet

Cait Hagan – Alonzo King LINES

Chelen Middlebrook – Alonzo King LINES

Natalie Murphy – Houston Ballet

Tessa O’Hara – Sarasota Ballet

Laura Powell – Nutmeg Conservatory

Nicola – Pacific Northwest Ballet

Willa Frantz – ABT New York

Allison Vernon – Orlando Ballet

Lea Winston – Pittsburg Ballet

Mary Whelan – ABT California

Grace Cogley – Washington Ballet

Kaya Chun – BalletNova Center for Dance

Nicola McHugh – BalletNova Center for Dance

Maddie Rose Notarianni – Princeton Ballet School

Madeleine Ames – BalletNova Center for Dance

Sabrina Atkin – Princeton Ballet School

Cassie Downing – Richmond Ballet



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