This Is What Inspires Tap Guru Nick Young's Choreo
Lee Gumbs, courtesy Nick Young
Nick Young has been making music with his feet his whole life. Young grew up at his mother's studio, Young Dance Academy, in Oak Creek, WI, and at competitions like New York City Dance Alliance. He caught his big break with "So You Think You Can Dance," making it to the Top 20 on Season 8. That led to three viral tap videos, teaching gigs at 24 Seven Dance Convention and NYCDA, and two appearances by himself and his company, Rhythmatic, at the Capezio A.C.E. Awards—where they won second runner-up in 2017. Catch his latest full-length work when it hits film festivals later this year, and read on to find out how Young gets inspired to create. —Helen Rolfe
Young, center, with Rhythmatic on "World of Dance" (courtesy "World of Dance")
"Appearing on 'World of Dance'Season 1 turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We didn't get more than a tiny bit of TV time, and one piece of feedback from the show really bothered me at first. When we were eliminated, the judges said our work needed to be more visually appealing. My initial reaction was, 'That's not what tap is!' But I slept on it, and realized: I want my work to be accessible, so it needs to be visual and tell a story. If you want to get someone who's not a tap dancer to really enjoy tap, it has to be more than a bunch of cool sounds. It's become my mission to get people who aren't familiar with tap to change their minds."
A version of this story appeared in the February 2019 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Choreographer's Collage: Nick Young."
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
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James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)
Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.
Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.