We have a story tonight about a young up and coming talent who won't let anything stand in his way. In fact, he's dancing around all the obstacles to success.
With strength, grace, and power, Jaylen Williams is mastering all the moves in his training to become a professional ballet dancer. It's been his ambition since the 8th grade.
"It took me a while to come out of my shell because I mean I am a very quiet person," Jaylen said.
Jaylen is in the Pinellas County Center for the Arts program at Gibbs High school. He impressed his teachers so much he was invited to participate in the Patel Conservatory Next Generation Ballet. It's an exclusive workshop for up and coming dancers.
"We are a stepping stone for great talent and we are trying to prepare tomorrow's ballet stars," Patel Conservatory Dance Instructor Peter Stark said.
Jaylen's success has not come easy. He lives in a tough south St. Petersburg neighborhood known mostly for its high rate of poverty, drugs, and crime. Ballet isn't really a life choice here.
"At first it was kind of rough. I used to get made fun of a little bit. But eventually, it just bypassed it because it is something that I love to do," he said.
Love, passion, and talent his dance teacher says will take him far.
"When he performs, you can't help but watch. Not the steps, but what he is doing with the space," Gibb's High School Performing Arts teacher Suzanne Pomerantzeff said.
Jaylen wants to be an example for other kids who have dreams.
"Whether you have people behind you or not, as long as you have yourself, you should be fine and you just keep pushing on with life. Because you are your biggest inspiration," Jaylen said. "If I want to do something, I'm going to do it, and I'm going to do it with a 100 percent effort."
An effort that's helping Jaylen rise up from the challenges of life around him.
Jaylen is going to college this year and one day hopes to become a professional dancer.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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