Supporting Dance Since 1979



Inspiring Dance Excellence for 37 Years

The Young Dancers Competition provides an opportunity for ballet students, ages 10 to 18, to work with a nationally prominent ballet master or mistress and compete for thousands of dollars in awards to further their ballet training. The Young Dancers Competition is only open to dancers who live and train in Colorado. 

Be part of an organization that recognizes the importance of art and creative expression 
in our lives and the lives of Colorado children. 


Young dancers competition 

The Denver Ballet Guild's 37th Annual  Young Dancers Competition on March 6, 7, and 8, 2020, was a huge success for all involved!  This competition is one of the longest running classical ballet performance competitions for young dancers in the country and we award over $25,000.00 to talented young dancers.

The goals of the competition are to recognize excellence in Colorado dancers and provide an opportunity for further enrichment of their art. A nationally recognized Master Teacher will conduct all classes. A panel of highly respected judges from the international dance community will observe and score students as they work through their master class and variations and will select finalists from Categories II, III, IV, and V for award consideration.

Kathy Wells, the Guild photographer has taken some amazing photos of the Young Dancers Competition and has genrously offered to share them with all of the YDC families.  Please click here to access the photos


2020 Young Dancers Competition Winners

The Denver Ballet Guild awarded a total of $27,500 overall to the 2020 Young Dancers Competition winners. 

 The Florence Rushton Medallion  Poppy Martinez-Cox 
 The Presidents' Award  Poppy Martinez-Cox
 The David Parvin Award  Olivia Key 
 Emily's Inspiration Award  Gabrielle Gates

The 2020 Presidents' Award has a very special meaning.  The Presidents Award In Honor of Elise Mallon Ford is awarded to the 2020 recipient of the Florence Ruston Medallion. The Denver Ballet Guild presents this award in memory of Elise Mallon Ford, a longtime supporter of the Young Dancers Competition. For more than 20 years, Elise was a member of the Denver Ballet Guild and an active board member. Most recently she served as the 2020 Young Dancers Co-chair. Once an accomplished dancer herself, Elise’s kind encouragement of aspiring ballet dancers was heartfelt and respected. Her knowledge and enthusiasm for dance inspired and supported young Colorado dancers. The Presidents Award is given to the Florence Ruston Medallion winner who was chosen by our judges as an exceptional young dancer exhibiting overall excellence in dance throughout all aspects of the competition.


The Denver Ballet Guild is pleased to announce that Ms. Louise Nadeau will be the Master Teacher for the 2020 Young Dancers Competition. We are most fortunate to have a teacher with Ms. Nadeau’s experience and talent join us for the March 2020 competition.

Louise Nadeau attended the School of American Ballet and has danced with the Basel Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, and the Pacific Northwest Ballet.

Upon retiring from the stage in 2009 Ms. Nadeau continued to teach ballet and accepted the position of School Principal for Evergreen City Ballet in September of 2013. She returned to the Pacific Northwest Ballet school faculty in the fall of 2015 where she continues to be a most popular, busy and well-loved instructor.

For Ms. Nadeau's full bio please click here.

Louise Nadeau took her first ballet lesson at the local Girls Club in Pittsfield, MA. She trained with the Cantarella School of Dance in Pittsfield and the Alexandra School of Ballet in St. Louis before moving to New York City at age 15 to attend the School of American Ballet on scholarship. She danced with Basel Ballet under direction of Heinz Spoerli and Kansas City Ballet under direction of Todd Bolender before joining Pacific Northwest Ballet as a Soloist in 1990. She was promoted to Principal in 1992 and retired from the stage with a celebratory gala in June 2009. Her versatility and powerful interpretive skills made her a favorite in full length classical ballets as well as contemporary works. She has performed leading roles in over 25 Balanchine ballets as well as having the good fortune to work with many contemporary choreographers and perform works by Forsythe, Robbins, Limon, Ailey, Caniparoli, Byrd, Tetley, Tharp, Taylor-Corbett, Maillot, Gibson, Wevers, Liang, Taylor and Wheeldon. Her classical repertoire includes Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Romeo and Juliet, The Merry Widow, Don Quixote and Cinderella.

Ms. Nadeau has performed both nationally and internationally with Pacific Northwest Ballet and as a guest artist. She performed the Divertissement pas de deux in the BBC’s 1999 film version of PNB’s production of Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, filmed at the Sadler Well’s Theatre in London. In 2000 she participated in The George Balanchine Foundation’s Interpreters Archive series, dancing excerpts from Balanchine’s Agon, coached by Melissa Hayden.

Upon retiring from the stage in 2009 Ms. Nadeau continued to teach ballet and accepted the position of School Principal for Evergreen City Ballet in September of 2013. She returned to the Pacific Northwest Ballet school faculty in the fall of 2015 where she continues to be a most popular, busy and well-loved instructor.


Our Young Dancers Competition, held on March 6, 7, and 8th 2020 at the Performing Arts Complex at Pinnacle Charter School was another huge success for the dancers and dance community as a whole.

The Denver Ballet Guild offers a huge congratulations to all competitors.

The event is open to classical ballet students who are residents of Colorado, living and training in Colorado. 

Thank you to all who made the event possible.  Particularly to the YDC Chair Karen Crossman and also to our amazing Artistic Director, Monica Hill.  Monica has been impacting the lives of young dancers with the YDC for 20 years.  To learn more about Monica and YDC click here.  

To see photos of the 2020 YDC Competition taken by Kathy Wells, please click here.

Thank you to our volunteers:

David Andrews   

Jean Armstrong  

Trish Armstrong 

Carol Binder  

Rosemary Cleary-Hague  

Christy Crase 

Karen Crossman 

Kelli Fisher 

Monica Hill 

Gail Kassan  

Merry Logan 

Kim Manning 

Ericka McDaniel

Pam Piro 

Anne Slucky  

Marlo Wagner  

Kathy Wells 

Claire O’Neal 

Marissa Benway   

Susan Struna  

Kathy Terry  

Loretta Kelce 

Christine Wilson 

Ellen Bywaters   

Debbi Tryon   

Katrina Benes   

Annabel Benes  

Colleen McKinley   

Hilary Morland  

Amalia Teran      

Allison Dodge

Kathleen Bohland   

Rob Harris  

Jim Crossman

Sam Stratton

Ellie Bane

Maggie Bane

Marla Gentry

Holly Price

Kathy Konopka

Nancy McCurdy

Pam Gatz


 Category II 
 1st Place Olivia Key
 2nd Place Daria Prokhnitski
 3rd Place  Paloma McCurnin
 4th Place Zachariah Nagle
 5th Place Estelle Guyman
 6th-10th Place  Sylvia Williamsen, Madelyn Lehrman, Brielle Shore, Aja Davis, Emma Dibildox
Category III 
 1st Place Poppy Martinez-Cox
 2nd Place Isabel Harris
 3rd Place Brooke Janney
 4th Place Sarah Van Breemen
 5th Place Eliza Fogdall
 6th-10th Place

Maggie Pontiff, Katie Kaprielian, Weston Collins,Audrey Gomes, Madeline Nguyen

Category IV 
 1st Place Gabriella Vidano
 2nd Place Noelle Burtschi
 3rd Place Tomasin Corrente
 4th Place Olivia Daugherty
 5th Place Josi Hawkins
 6th-10th Place Gabrielle Gates, Alea Brown, Cadey Turner, Mia Iwasa, Dayne Collins
Category V.Jr 
 1st Place C.J. Robinson
 2nd Place  Andrew Adams
 3rd Place Dashiell Klingsporn
Category V.Sr  
 1st Place Samuel Portillo
 2nd Place Gilbert Armstrong
 3rd Place Ignacio Rivera
 4th Place Derek Martinez
 5th Place Daniel Coates


The Florence Ruston Medallion is awarded to a dancer in recognition of overall excellence in ballet throughout the competition. One dancer selected by the judges from among the competitors in Categories III, IV, and V receives the Florence Ruston Medallion annually. Florence Ruston was an early member of the Denver Ballet Guild and founded the Young Dancers Competition in 1981 to recognize achievement in ballet and help advance the careers of young dancers. This award honors Florence Ruston’s lifetime dedication to dance and her commitment to supporting ballet students in Colorado.

The Presidents’ Award was created by presidents of the Denver Ballet Guild to encourage young dancers to continue their pursuit of excellence in dance. The current DBG President presents this award to the recipient of the Florence Ruston Medallion.

The David Parvin Award for Outstanding Young Artist was created to recognize excellence in an aspiring dancer early in her or his ballet career. One dancer selected by the judges from among the competitors in Category II (12-13 years old) receives this award annually. The Denver Ballet Guild established this award to honor the memory of local artist and sculptor David Parvin, whose friendly presence and artistic contributions to the Young Dancers Competition over nearly two decades are remembered fondly by those who knew him.

Emily’s Inspiration Award recognizes a dancer who demonstrates a special love and passion for dance and who performs with exceptional emotional commitment. Beginning 2018, the Denver Ballet Guild has the privilege of offering an Award in memory of Emily Redosh, a young local woman who embraced life and pursued dance with unfettered passion and dedication despite the challenges of coping with a life-threatening disease for over 20 years. 

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