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KC Ballet School has Historic Showing at Youth American Grand Prix


For the first time, Kansas City Ballet School sent a large group of students to Chicago to compete in the annual Youth American Grand Prix which holds competitions in more than 17 cities across the United States and six cities around the world. The Chicago competition took place Feb. 4-7. School Director Grace Holmes accompanied the students and teachers.

“I am SO proud of our students who performed at Youth American Grand Prix,” Ms. Holmes said. “We brought 18 students (our 19th injured her foot the week before the competition), aged 9-19. KCB School has made a big impression this year. Not only did the students dance well, they also acted as gracious ambassadors for our organization.

Our students began working on their solos and duets in September and have been diligent about refining their technique and artistry through private lessons that fell outside of their already rigorous Academy schedule.  You can imagine how difficult it was for them (and us) to make time for rehearsals during The Nutcracker.  It can also be an overwhelming experience to work for four months on something and then have only 1-2 minutes of performance time to show off your hard work. There were more than 600 entries in this competition, so we are thrilled to have our students perform so well under pressure and to place so highly.”

Kansas City Ballet students performed quite well earning the following rankings:

Junior Classical Solos (167 competitors):

Top 24 – Melody Sasser (12 yrs, Level 6)

Top 12 – Leah Reiter (13 yrs, Level 6)

Junior Contemporary Solos (112 competitors):

3rd Place – Leah Reiter (13 yrs, Level 6)

Duets and Ensembles (43 competitors):

Top 12 – Aurora Wessel (9 yrs, Level 4) & Grady George (11 yrs, Level 4), Leah Reiter (13 yrs, Level 6) & Lukas Pringle (19 yrs, Level 8), Penelope Guezuraga (9 yrs, Level 3) & Poppy Trettel (9 yrs, Level 3)

Two of our dancers have been chosen to participate in an ensemble piece in the Gala performance at the New York City Finals (April 22-29):

Melody Sasser (12 yrs, Level 6), Leah Reiter (13 yrs, Level 6)


Two of our Pas de Deux couples have been chosen to compete in the New York City Finals (April 22-29):

Leah Reiter (13 yrs, Level 6) & Lukas Pringle (19 yrs, Level 8)

Aurora Wessel (9 yrs, Level 4) & Grady George (11 yrs, Level 4) [both pictured below]


Ms. Holmes would like to thank all of the coaches: Racheal Nye, Ryan Nye, David Justin, Dima Trubchanov, and everyone else who contributed to this wonderful opportunity.  And she would like to extend a second extra big THANK YOU to Racheal Nye, who put in literally hundreds of hours coaching, sewing, doing makeup and hair, and organizing the ‘behind the scenes’ in addition to making sure KCBS students were fully prepared to dance their best.

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