Once homeless teen is inspiring others through tap dance
NEW YORK - From humble beginnings performing on New York City subways to appearing on national television, Josh Johnson has tapped his way to success.
“I would sleep on trains, I would sleep couch-to-couch depending on what friend was available that weekend,” said Johnson.
Once a homeless teen from Harlem, Josh is now on a mission to inspire others to chase their dreams. His latest project is a collaboration with the non-profit Accent Dance NYC. The organization’s President, Andrea Ziegelman, helped choreograph a piece with Josh and two other professional dancers.
“It really is about my idea of bringing together ballet, hip-hop and tap dancing in one piece, really challenge the dancers to bridge their styles together and come together,” said Ziegelman.
It’s a full-circle moment for Josh, who’s now gearing up to perform that piece alongside Steven Vilsaint and Dannys Gonzalez, who both have inspirational stories of their own. Steven grew up in Haiti and became an orphan at 13 years old. Now, he dances hip hop with some big moves that match the big smile that’s always on his face.
“Dancing really makes me feel happy and brings a lot of joy to me because anything else I do, I just do it, but when I’m dancing, dancing is the only thing that makes me feel I’m alive,” said Vilsaint.
Ballet dancer Dannys Gonzalez is a Cuban refugee who came to the U.S. just a few years back with only $24 in this pocket.
“Very excited, it gives me a lot of energy at the same time, it’s very tiring but at the same time you feel really full of energy and passion,” said Gonzalez.
The three dancers are combining their unique skill sets in their piece, which is called ‘Inflection.” It’s the perfect title to accentuate each of their talents.
“Every day I kept on working hard, progressing, I’ve been consistent, I was confident and I had a lot of faith, that’s where it comes from, a lot of faith that things tomorrow will be better than today,” said Johnson.
The performance is set to take place in the coming weeks and will be live-streamed. Details are still being worked out. Until then, they will be rehearsing several times a week. The trio hopes to inspire others who may face hardships to always reach for the stars.