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
"I'm a perfectionist to a T. I played sports growing up, so I'm my biggest competitor. I can't move on until I feel comfortable with a phrase. Of course, things change as the rehearsal process goes on. I just don't want to ever put out anything that I'm not personally happy with, and the only way to do that is to take care of every single detail. As I'm getting older, I'm trying to not be as hard on myself. It's really great to have people in your life who will say, 'Nick, it's great. You're overthinking it.' "
A version of this story appeared in the February 2019 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Choreographer's Collage: Nick Young."