Perf. Arts

Waukesha ballet student makes national finals
Alaina Anderson to represent Milwaukee ballet school



By DWAYNE BUTLER - TimeOut Editor 

February 27, 2014


WAUKESHA - The Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy announced that Waukesha native Alaina Andersen, 15, has advanced to the next level of the Youth American Grand Prix Senior Women Division competition.

Andersen will compete in the finals of the YAGP in New York City on April 9. The YAGP is the world’s largest student ballet scholarship competition that awards more than $250,000 annually in scholarships to leading dance schools worldwide. The competition is held in locations around the world and is open to dance students of all nationalities 9 to 19 years old.

“I’m so thrilled by this opportunity to compete,” said Andersen, who began studying with Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy when she was 9. “Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy has led me to this point; it’s my home away from home and my family away from my family.”

Andersen and two other Milwaukee Ballet School students, Kessia Andersen, 14, and Claire Buehler, 17, competed at the YAGP in Indianapolis last weekend. Alaina and Kessia Andersen are sisters.

Alaina Andersen competed in the senior division and took first place in contemporary and second place in classical.

Kessia Andersen competed in the junior division, taking second place in contemporary and placing in the top 12 of the classical.

Alaina Andersen has studied with a number of instructors, including Nadia Thompson and Mireille Favarel, at Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy, which is directed by Rolando Yanes.

“Everyone at Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy is extremely proud of these three students,” Yanes said. “We enthusiastically look forward to supporting Alaina in this next phase of competition, knowing we have prepared her for her dance career and beyond.”

Andersen’s mother, Jenny Andersen, credited the unique, holistic approach of Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy as a major factor in her daughter’s success.

“(The) Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy emphasizes the development of the whole child,” she said. “Alaina’s instructors have helped her grow not only as a dancer but as a person, keeping her focused on a goal, while keeping her modest and respectful of others.”

Last year, Jennifer Hackbarth became one of just five Americans to rank in the top 12 of the YAGP event in New York City, making her the first Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy student to achieve such the standing.