Chicago dance student Arayah Lyte wins national award

Deeply Rooted Dance Theater of Chicago, Illinois congratulates student Arayah Lyte, also a student at the Chicago Academy for the Arts, for receiving a YoungArts 2022 award for her caliber of artistic achievement. Lyte is among the 720 of the most accomplished young visual, literary and performing artists from across the country. Selected through the organization’s prestigious competition, the winners of the YoungArts Prize, all aged 15 to 18 or grades 10 to 12, are chosen for their caliber of artistic achievement by juries of specific renowned artists. to each discipline through a rigorous blind selection process. YoungArts Award winners have access to one of the most comprehensive programs for artists in the United States, in which they will have opportunities for financial, creative and professional development support throughout their careers. The full list of the 2022 winners is available online at

Photo credit: Elliot Lyte

“We are delighted to announce the winners of this year’s YoungArts Awards, an extraordinary group of promising and accomplished young artists, and to congratulate each of them on this exciting step in their artistic careers,” said Executive Director Jewel Malone . “YoungArts enables artists to pursue a life in the arts, beginning at the critical juncture when many are faced with decisions about life after high school. We are proud to support these young artists early in their journey and look forward to becoming a resource for them at all stages of their careers.

The YoungArts Awards are presented in three categories: finalist, honorable mention and merit. This year, the YoungArts Award winners will have the opportunity to learn from leading artists such as singer La Tanya Hall, visual artists Loni Johnson and Yashua Klos, and award-winning writer Dr Joan Morgan. YoungArts Award winners become eligible for exclusive support for creative and professional development, including a wide range of scholarships, residencies and awards; micro-grants and financial rewards; virtual and in-person presentation opportunities in collaboration with major sites and cultural partners nationwide; and access to YoungArts Post, a private, free online platform for YoungArts artists to connect, collaborate, and discover new opportunities.

Arayah Lyte has been named a YoungArts in Dance finalist. A young dancer and artist from Chicago, she began dancing at the age of four at the Mayfair Academy of Fine Arts. She is currently a student at the Chicago Academy for the Arts and a member of the school’s Repertory Company. She is also a member of the Deeply Rooted Dance Theater Youth Ensemble in Chicago. Lyte has participated in several summer programs, including intensive internships with the Interlochen Arts Academy, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and the Juilliard School. Her training covers all genres, but she has found her true love for art through dance in modern and contemporary styles. Her interest in creating art with movement began very early on when she learned the beauty of storytelling in dance. In love with the marriage of history and movement, dance becomes a transport for her. Pursuing at the college level, Lyte aims to showcase her dance education and love for the art.

Deeply Rooted Artistic Director Nicole Clarke-Springer commented, “Arayah joined the Deeply Rooted Youth Ensemble in 2018, and it has been wonderful not only to witness, but also to contribute to its formation and development. of his art. It was definitely an honor to have a talent like hers entrusted to Deeply Rooted. We are all so proud!

The winners of the YoungArts Prize join a distinguished group of accomplished artists such as Daniel Arsham, Terence Blanchard, Camille A. Brown, Timothée Chalamet, Viola Davis, Amanda Gorman, Judith Hill, Jennifer Koh, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Andrew Rannells, Desmond Richardson and Hunter Schafer.

Finalist-level YoungArts Award winners, including Lyte, are invited to participate in YoungArts Week + virtual performances and presentations from January 29 to February 4, broadcast live on Lyte will perform a solo titled Quimey Neuquen choreographed by Rena Butler during the dance performance on Monday, January 31 at 7 p.m. CST. To sign up and receive reminders and links to view, visit

Finalists can also be nominated to become US Presidential Scholars in the Arts, one of the highest honors bestowed on high school students, awarded by the President of the United States. As the sole nominating agency, YoungArts annually appoints 60 artists to the White House’s Commission on Presidential Fellows. The Commission then selects the 20 US Presidential Scholars in the Arts.

The YoungArts competition is open to artists aged 15-18 (or grades 10-12). For more information on how to become a YoungArts Award winner Click here.

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Corina C. Butler