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."
Gabriel Figueredo in a variation from Raymonda. VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.
This week, over 1,000 young hopefuls gathered in New York City for the Youth America Grand Prix finals, giving them the chance to compete for scholarships and contracts to some of the world's top ballet schools and companies. Roughly 85 dancers made it to the final round at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday. Today, the 20th anniversary of YAGP came to a close at the competition's awards ceremony. Read on to find out who won!
After a string of ballet-company rejections, Jennifer Sydor (here in Laura Peterson's "Failure") found success in other areas of the dance world. (Stephen Delas Heras, courtesy Jennifer Sydor)
In her senior year at Butler University, Jennifer Sydor auditioned for more than a dozen regional ballet companies—and got a string of "no, thank you" responses. "I have an athletic build, and my movement quality isn't the typical ballet aesthetic," Sydor says. "But I'd been laser-focused on ballet. When I didn't get a ballet contract, I was heartbroken."
Her one job offer came from Kim Robards Dance, a small modern company based in Aurora, CO. After attending KRD's summer intensive, Sydor ended up accepting a yearlong position with the troupe. "I was relieved and happy to begin my career," she says. She's been working as a contemporary dancer ever since.
In the dance world, rejection is part of the package. That doesn't make it any more pleasant. But whether you didn't get the Nutcracker role of your dreams or you weren't picked for a job despite feeling like you aced the audition, you can emerge from even the most gut-wrenching "no" smarter and stronger.
Ballet West principal Beckanne Sisk as Kitri (Luke Isley, courtesy Ballet West)
Guess who's baaaaack?! Your resident Dance Spirit astrologers! And on the eve of the Youth America Grand Prix awards ceremony, we thought it was the perfect time to pair each zodiac sign with a variation commonly seen during the competition. After many painstaking hours spent researching, consulting the stars, and staring wistfully into the sky, we compiled our data and present you with the definitive list of each star sign as a YAGP variation! As we said last time, don't @ us if you're not happy with your pairing—the stars don't lie, baby!