Twelve dancers from the Baton Rouge area will be traveling to Houston on Feb. 9-11 to test their abilities against hundreds of other hopeful dancers across the country.

The regional Youth America Grand Prix, one of the most widely recognized ballet competitions, will hold its semifinals to select dancers for the finals in New York City, which provide thousands of dollars in scholarships and job opportunities, a news release said.

Participating dancers this year are Jada Alfred, Anna Baumgartner, Leah Cox, Vivian Dille, Lena Laroussi, Molly McMaster, Abigail Melancon, Kendyll Monceaux, Caroline Petty, Riley Richard, Adrienne Simmons and Maeve Zeldon. The dancers are coached by Rebecca Acosta and Christine Perkins. These dancers, all students of the Dancers’ Workshop, are from Baton Rouge, St. Amant, Prairieville and Denham Springs.

In Houston, each dancer will perform a short work or “variation” for a panel of judges.

“These girls have been rehearsing to perfect their variations for months, and it all comes down to how they perform for no more than I.5 minutes of dancing,” said Christine Perkins, one of the dancers’ coaches. “It’s an enormous amount of pressure. The girls are very excited and a little bit nervous to put themselves on this wider stage but it’s been such an opportunity for artistic growth for all of them.”