The Youth America Grand Prix is being held at Dominican University. There are also masterclasses at the Joffrey Ballet Tower in Chicago. The dancers are ages 9 to 19.
"It's always exciting to see what they're going to bring to us," said choreographer and judge Maria Konrad.
The Youth America Grand Prix said past participants have gone on to dance for the American Ballet Theatre, Paris Opera Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, and New York City Ballet.
"[Ballet] teaches you discipline, it teaches you motivation, all of these things at such a young age. Whether you go on to be a dancer or a lawyer – you're ready to do either," Konrad said.
She said one goal is to help dancers improve, and that the only competition should be with one's self.
"Don't look at the girl next to you – look inside to see what you can do individually," she said.