Hara tops U.S. ballet contest

NEW YORK (Jiji Press) — Asuka Hara, 11, has won the first place in the pre-competitive division at the Youth America Grand Prix international ballet competition for young dancers.

In the announcement Tuesday of the final-round results of the contest held in Tampa, Florida, the girl from Yokohama received “Hope Award” for the best dancer in the division for participants aged between 9 and 11 as of Jan. 1 this year.

In the pre-competitive classical category for women, Yuna Yamada, 10, from Sapporo, won the first spot.

Among other Japanese dancers, Nao Nakajima, 14, from Tokyo, was at the top in the junior division for female dancers aged 12-14. Denis Watanabe, 14, topped the junior division for men.