Solana Beach dance students to compete in New York

L-R: Danielle Esposito with Brian Warkentien; Robbie Downey. The students are from the Ballet Arte Academy in Solana Beach.

Three students from the Ballet Arte Academy of Classical Ballet in Solana Beach placed within the top 12 in their individual age and Classical/Contemporary categories in the recent San Diego Regionals of the Youth America Grand Prix. As a result, they have qualified to compete this month in New York City for the Grand Prix finals.

Robbie Downey, 16, placed in the top 12 in Classical/Contemporary in the regionals. She is hoping for scholarship or invitation opportunities from major ballet company directors.

Brian Warkentien, 15, placed third in Classical/Contemporary and second in Pas de Deux in the regionals and is pursuing a career as a professional ballet dancer.

Danielle Esposito, 14, placed third in Classical/Contemporary and second in Pas de Deux in the regionals. Her goal is to be a professional dancer with the elite New York City Ballet Company.

The Youth America Grand Prix is the world’s largest global network of dance for students ages 9-19. The YAGP reaches over 7,000 dance students annually by holding auditions in approximately 15 U.S. cities and five international locations. Each season culminates in the New York City Finals, where more than 1,200 young dancers receive mentoring and greater scholarship, professional and performance opportunities.

The 2015 San Diego Regionals were held in February and attracted more than 300 students from local dance schools. The Grand Prix also honors the best school of the year with an Award. Ballet Arte has won the Award for both 2014 and 2015.

Ballet Arte is at 742 Genevieve St., Solana Beach. Call 858-259-5505; visit