Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, James grew up dancing at Dancenter North. He trained in ballet, jazz, tap, modern and musical theater. After high school, James studied at Butler University under Marek Cholewa, Susan McGuire, Derek Reid, Cynthia Pratt, Tong Wang, Stephan Laurent and Michelle Jarvis. In 2010, he graduated with a BFA in Dance and was offered an apprenticeship at Ballet San Jose under the artistic leadership of Dennis Nahat. In his second season, James was promoted to Corps de Ballet. During his five years with Ballet San Jose, he was featured in a number of works including Paul Taylor’s Piazzolla Caldera, Twyla Tharp’s In The Upper Room and Jorma Elo’s Glow/Stop. Since arriving at Charlotte Ballet, James has enjoyed performing a number of pieces such as Alonzo King’s Map, Dwight Rhoden’s The Groove and Jiri Kylian’s Sechs Tanzes.
- Hometown: Lake Villa, IL
- Dancing Since: Age 3
- Seasons with Charlotte Ballet: 3
- What is your most powerful dance moment or story? It was probably when I broke my nose mid show, and had to finish the program. You can’t choose adversity. It hits you like a brick wall, and as a dancer you must choose either the easy path or the hard path. How you choose to meet that adversity defines you as a dancer.
- Favorite thing about Charlotte: Coming from California, it is going to be nice to have seasons again! Also, all of the hiking trails in the Charlotte area
- Great performance moment: Nailing my pirouettes in the Black Swan Pas de Deux.
- Advice for aspiring dancers: “Please be yourself. No one got anywhere by being someone else.”