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
"For Rhythmatic's current full-length piece On Top of the World, we created a world that asks, 'What happens when you die? What do you go through before you move on or don't?' It's a crazy concept for a tap show. But I just love creating so much that I'm not worried about criticism. People aren't going to like it. That's just a fact. If you don't worry about that, the information doesn't even really get to you. There's so much positive energy with this show, because everyone loves being in it. We're not just out there doing tap steps. It's a story the dancers interpret with their own intellects, to play their own characters."
A version of this story appeared in the February 2019 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Choreographer's Collage: Nick Young."