Sophia Zhang prepares. / Koltun Ballet Boston photoArlington's Sophia Zhang prepares. / Koltun Ballet Boston photoA Watertown-based ballet school recently took home the award for outstanding school at this year's Youth America Grand Prix (YAGP) ballet competition. 

Koltun Ballet Boston (KBB), with a team of 26 young Massachusetts dancers, including one from Arlington, scored the award for overall performance in the competition.

Sophia Zhang of Arlington was part of the KBB team at YAGP, a global dance network that hosts the world’s largest student ballet scholarship competition.

Ranging in age from 10 to 18 years, the team’s 26 students come from 10 Massachusetts communities.

The competition included an ensemble performance of “Weather,” a new work by dance-maker Lesley Telford. She won the Outstanding Choreographer Award for the piece, which the school commissioned specifically for this competition.

More than two dozen young Massachusetts dancers, most from greater Boston, comprise a team from KBB led by decorated former dancers Alexandra Koltun and Alex Lapshin.

This is the fourth time in five years that the organization has been recognized as the region’s top school.

The regional leg of this ongoing international competition was held last month in Worcester. Two KBB ensembles participating last month have been invited to the YAGP finals in Tampa, Fla., from April 3 through 9.

In addition to winning the Outstanding School Award, the KBB team placed second in the Ensembles Category for its performance of “Weather.” Several dancers received individual honors at YAGP as well.

“We are incredibly proud of our young dancers and grateful to YAGP and UBC for recognizing the incredible hard work these students put in to build their knowledge, poise and discipline, and compete successfully on a regional level,” said Alexandra Koltun, who cofounded Koltun Ballet Boston with husband Alex Lapshin. “It’s rewarding to know our school is at the top of the field in greater Boston, where there are many fine dance programs. We differentiate ourselves by fostering a positive, caring and kindness-centered environment. I think that comes through in the joy for training and performance that our students show.”

Open house April 29

Koltun Ballet Boston is scheduled to be the host for a community-wide open house on Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at its Watertown studios, where prospective students and their families can visit, participate in a full day of classes and dance-oriented activities, and meet YAGP and UBS winning students and KBB teachers as well as current students and families. An RSVP for the event is recommended at

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 This news sumary was published Sunday, March 26, 2023, based on information from a news release by Jennifer Astin.