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
"One time, Andy Blankenbuehler was teaching at NYCDA Nationals, and he said, 'The music plays because you are dancing. The music is being produced because you are dancing.' Normally, we think about it the other way around, like we're just dancing to this song. What he said changed the game for me in terms of what I wanted to make and what I think about when choreographing."
A version of this story appeared in the February 2019 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Choreographer's Collage: Nick Young."