My mom says that I was always dancing—even when I was a very little boy. When I was in the first grade atWestcreek Elementary School in Fort Worth ISD, my teacher Mrs. AndreaWyatt, also noticed that I just loved to dance. I even got in trouble for entertaining the class and I danced to the principal’s office. I practiced again and again the Michael Jackson “MoonWalk”.
One day a flyer came to my school — it was sent by Imagination Celebration Fort Worth and was a call for kids from 7- 18 to come to an audition with the world famous Ms. Debbie Allen! It was for a show called “Pepito’s Story” which had been produced by Ms. Allen and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D. C. Now Imagination Celebration was going to produce it here for the opening season of the Bass Performance Hall. They actually wanted children to be a part of the cast! You did not have to have had any classes in dance to audition. Mrs. Wyatt gave the flyer to my mom and told her that she should take me to these auditions.
I went and after two days I got a part as the “Little Frog!” I got to work with Ms. Allen and Mr. Steven Smith and I was one of a cast of more than 100 kids, and Mr. Lacy Phillips from Broadway. This performance planted my dream of someday growing up to be on the stage.
After that time I was given a scholarship each summer by Imagination Celebration for its new Debbie Allen Dance Institute. Later I even got to go to Los Angeles one summer to Ms. Allen’s Debbie Allen Dance Academy. When with the Debbie Allen Dance Institute and also with DADA in Los Angeles I went on some auditions and met many different people. I would sometimes see famous people in LA and I would say “One day I want to get there.” Through Debbie Allen, I was exposed to “everything from hip hop to flamenco.”
All through the years my dream of dancing stayed alive even though it seemed out of reach. I attended several different schools in the Fort Worth ISD from elementary until high school. During my elementary school years I attended many other Imagination Celebration shows and was a part making clay art tiles for the Imagination Celebration Mars Millennium Project. I remember seeing puppets and other things.
I later attended and graduated from North Crowley High School. Throughout school I excelled in track and football. I would only take dance classes during the summer and during school I would just practice on my own. I still just wanted to be on stage. As the level of competitiveness rose with each year, I ultimately had to take a chance and choose between track and football or dance. I decided to pursue dance full-time. My coaches were upset as the chances of success seemed less probable for me in dance than in sports.
Imagination Celebration kept the dream alive and continued to help me attend the summer intensive and to have some dance classes during the year. In the winter of 2007 IC asked me to come and train to be a part of a new dance piece set to new music. This would be performed for the 20th Anniversary Celebration of IC. I was rusty and discouraged at that time but I said yes. I got to train with an amazing choreographer and Dance Master named Mr. Terry Beeman. It was a Modern Dance piece and Mr. Beeman was tough on me. He helped me remember that I still had that form of dance in me – and that hard work would bring it to life.
After graduating from high school, I auditioned in Dallas, TX for the Fox TV show / dance competition, So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) - Season 4. I had to work very hard each day, but it was thrilling. I got to work with some of the world’s leading choreographers in many disciplines. Throughout the entire competition I never appeared in the Bottom 3 couples, or the Bottom 4 contestants. Miraculously and with a lot of hard work, I became the youngest winner of the competition at 19 years old.
I am now living in North Hollywood. I have been on a tour across the country and also in Canada with So You Think You Can Dance. I am dancing in two films. My dream is coming true. I hope with continued work and perseverance that my career will continue to grow. I am grateful to Imagination Celebration for constantly being there for me and for providing unimaginable opportunities to help me find my dream.