Southland Ballet Academy (SBA) awarded Outstanding School by Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP)
YAGP Regionals Los Angeles - Sunday, January 24, 2016
Youth America Grand Prix is the world’s largest network of dance for aspiring artists ages 9-19. YAGP provides performance and education opportunities, scholarship auditions, and a national network of students, teachers, schools, dance companies, dancers, and audiences.
Fountain Valley, CA | January 28, 2016 Southland Ballet Academy (SBA) was awarded Outstanding School by Youth America Grand Prix at their regional competition in Los Angeles on Sunday, January 24th, 2016. 10 girls and 2 boys represented Southland Ballet Academy in the competition, held at Huntington Beach High School. Artistic Director Salwa Rizkalla received the award on behalf of the studio. Southland Ballet Academy also received this same accolade in 2003, 2006, 2008, and 2013.
SBA student Ashley Lew (Age 12) was awarded Youth Grand Prix, the highest honor in the Junior Category, for her excellence in classical and contemporary performance. In the classical division, Ashley performed three variations from Sleeping Beauty, La Fille Mal Gardee, and Paquita . In the contemporary division, Ashley danced “La Vie en Rose”, choreographed by Festival Ballet Theatre company dancer Tara Ghassimieh. Lily Turner (Age 12) received 2nd place in the Junior Classical Division for her variations from Sleeping Beauty and Coppélia. Both Ashley and Lily will be performing in the YAGP Finals (April 22-29, 2016) at The Jack Skirball Center for the Performing Arts , New York City. Ashley and Lily also received full scholarships to the Royal Ballet School Summer Course for 2016.
In the coming months, Southland Ballet Academy students will also be competing in YAGP regionals in San Diego, Denver, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City.
About Southland Ballet Academy
Southland Ballet Academy (SBA) offers a comprehensive program to fulfill the needs of the serious dancer, as well as those who simply want to explore the artist within. Since opening its doors in 1983, Southland Ballet Academy has acquired a national and international reputation through training world-class dancers who have gone on to dance in companies across the globe. Under the direction of Salwa Rizkalla, esteemed Southland Ballet Faculty provide excellent classical ballet instruction, , as well as classes in jazz, hip hop, and tap for students ages 3 through adult. Pre-professional ballet students also train in pointe, character, conditioning, and partnering; Southland Ballet Academy boys have their own men’s class. All Southland Ballet faculty are highly regarded in their own technique and artistry, and understand how to properly cultivate strong, smart, and confident dancers of the 21st century.
Performance opportunities for Southland Ballet Academy students include an in-studio holiday show, a fully-staged June recital at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, and national competition opportunities through Youth America Grand Prix. Southland Ballet Academy is the official school of Festival Ballet Theatre (FBT) - our students have the opportunity to perform in children’s roles in FBT’s ballet productions, including The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, Swan Lake, and Coppélia.
About Salwa Rizkalla
Artistic Director Salwa Rizkalla has served the Orange County community for over 30 years by presenting excellence in dance performance through Festival Ballet Theatre, and providing top-tier classical ballet training at Southland Ballet Academy.
During her own professional dancing career, Ms. Rizkalla graced the stage in leading roles in well-known classical ballets, as well as contemporary pieces. She had the privilege of working under the direction of world-renowned choreographers Leonid Lavrovsky and Serge Lifar. As a young dancer, Ms. Rizkalla trained in the Russian Vaganova method and studied with ballet masters of the Bolshoi and the Kirov. As the culmination of her training, Ms. Rizkalla completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Ballet Pedagogy. She established Southland Ballet Academy in 1983, and debuted Festival Ballet Theatre in 1988. In addition to teaching and directing, Ms. Rizkalla was a faculty member of several local area institutions.
Salwa Rizkalla’s contributions have been recognized by many local organizations - she was named Orange County Arts Educator of the Year Award for Secondary Dance (2003); Youth America Grand Prix awarded Ms. Rizkalla Outstanding Teacher accolades from 2002-2015, and Arts Orange County and also recognized Ms. Rizkalla with the Helena Modjeska Lifetime Achievement Cultural Legacy Award (2014).
Ms. Rizkalla has been honored to impact the lives of hundreds of students and their families through her teaching, and is proud to be a dedicated educator, a tireless promoter of the arts, and an active participant in the cultural life of her community.