Greenwich Ballet Academy takes honors in Boston

Aidan Buss

Aidan Buss

Students from the Greenwich Ballet Academy (GBA) showed professionalism, talent, style and grace as they took top honors at the Boston Youth America Grand Prix. Out of more than 100 highly accomplished dancers from across the country competing in each category, students and faculty from GBA took awards in four categories.

Lee Melton

Lee Melton

Aidan Buss, age 13 and from Old Greenwich, won first place in the Junior Classical Dance Category for Men and Women. GBA’s Lee Melton, age 14 from Darien, placed in the Top 12 in the Junior Classical Dance Category. Aidan also placed Top 12 in the Contemporary Dance Category.

GBA’s Artistic Director Yuri Vodolaga was recognized in Boston as well, taking home the award for Outstanding Teacher. Mr. Vodolaga graduated from the State Ballet Academy in Ukraine and received his Masters in teaching at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia, and he was a member of the Kiev State Ballet Theatre. “It is a great honor for me to receive this acknowledgement,” said Mr. Vodolaga. “It is my great pleasure to be able to offer instruction and guidance to these highly talented dancers, and I know they will go on to achieve great success in the future.”

Ruth Schultz

Ruth Schultz

Aidan, Lee as well as 12 year-old Ruth Schultz of Ossining, N.Y. have received the highly coveted invitation to go to New York City for the YAGP Finals competition, to be held April 22 through 29. “I am so excited at the prospect of being able to dance at the YAGP Finals in New York,” said Aidan. “It is a great opportunity to meet some of the world’s best dancers as well as leaders from some of the world’s greatest ballet schools. I am thrilled and honored to be given this chance to represent Greenwich Ballet Academy.”

“It was such a valuable experience for me to be able to dance at the John Hancock Hall in Boston,” said Lee. “Everyone there was so talented, and it was an inspiration to be a part of it.”

The much anticipated New York event will host top ballet students from around the world. Contestants in the Finals are seen by directors and representatives of some of the world’s leading dance companies, and over 250 YAGP alumni have joined over 50 dance companies around the world. At the New York competition, grand prize winners will receive scholarships and valuable contracts to some of the most prestigious dance companies in the world.

“We’re proud of Aidan, Lee, and Ruth’s accomplishments, and are excited to see them represent the Greenwich community, Westchester and Fairfield counties,” said Marisol Thurman, Chairman of the Board of GBA. “Students throughout the area are fortunate to have access to world-class ballet training, and the fact that our students can compete at an international level is an incredible accomplishment for our dancers as well as our renowned faculty.”

Youth America Grand Prix holds competitions in 17 U.S. cities and six international locations, with each season culminating in the week-long Finals in New York City, where more than 1,200 of the world’s best dancers compete for top honors.

About Greenwich Ballet Academy

Greenwich Ballet Academy is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) institution that nurtures talented dancers, ages 4-21, toward careers in classical ballet and contemporary dance with a unique emphasis on the Russian Vaganova method of instruction. GBA is the only school in the lower Fairfield and Westchester County area to offer this specialized type of training. The professional faculty also provides classes in modern and character dance, and contemporary ballet. GBA students have earned accolades at international ballet competitions and have joined professional ballet companies. For more information on performances and training, please visit the GBA website:

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