Ballet Stars
Nashville Ballet's Kayla Rowser and Nicolas Scheuer in Swan Lake. Karyn Photography, Courtesy Nashville Ballet.

Pre-professional ballet students know this to be true: Training comes first; everything else fits when—or if—it can. Are the sacrifices pre-professional ballet dancers make to pursue a highly competitive career worth it? Four professionals weigh in.

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Aaaand...cue music!


If you've been following Season 12 of "So You Think You Can Dance," you know Houston Ballet demi-soloist Jim Nowakowski can dance. The pro decided to put his classical career on hold to pursue something a little bit different, and his gamble paid off. He's now in the Top 16 dancers on the show going into next week's episode.

Jim was born in South Korea and was adopted by American parents when he was a baby. He was born with a cleft palate and underwent multiple facial surgeries during his childhood. But, he says in his "SYTYCD" audition package, he felt beautiful when he danced.


Click here to watch his contemporary audition solo!


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