Dominican University

Ballet’s best: Youth America Grand Prix comes to Chicago

Ballet’s best: Youth America Grand Prix comes to Chicago

One by one, the soloists took to the stage, in a blur of tutus, tiaras and petal-pink toe shoes.

Too young to vote — or even, in some cases, to baby-sit — they seemed almost indistinguishable. But then, slowly, a few came into sharper focus. The girl with the rose in her hair and the full red-and-black skirt? Even to the untrained eye, she was faster, more precise, more graceful than the rest.

The girl with the tambourine? You had to notice her. Even if you'd only seen just two ballets in your life. Even if both of those were "The Nutcracker."

The tambourine girl, 12-year-old Kate Thomas of San Antonio, Tex., had that strange quality the best ice skaters...

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