Japanese dancer Yuna Yamada won first place on Saturday in the women's pre-competitive age classical division at this year's Youth America Grand Prix international ballet contest in New York.

"I want to be a dancer influential enough to make the audience smile," said Yamada, 12, from Sapporo.

Among other Japanese in the pre-competitive age division, which is for dancers between ages 9 and 11 as of Jan. 1, Anne Takahashi, 12, from the city of Saitama, was awarded third place in each of the women's classical and contemporary categories.

Yuto Teranishi, 10, from Nagoya, finished third in the men's classical category and Kohaku Kihara, 12, from the city of Kyoto, second in the men's contemporary category.

In the junior division for those between ages 12 and 14, Eita Akita, 14, from Minoo, Osaka Prefecture, won third place in the men's category.

The YAGP provides promising contestants with opportunities to study at ballet schools around the world on scholarships.