OKC Ballet Dancer Qualifies For The Super Bowl Of Ballet

An Oklahoma ballet dancer started at just four years old and has made a name for himself. News 9's Mike Glover spoke with Julien DeJear in today's Something Good.

Monday, February 19th 2024, 4:30 pm

By: News 9, Mike Glover


At just 17 years old Julien DeJear already knows what he wants to do with his life, and is already really good at it.

“You find something new every day in ballet, so I just like expanding upon that,” said DeJear.

His love for ballet was sparked at a very young age. “My grandma took me to see Swan Lake when I was four years old, so, ever since then, I knew I liked it,” said DeJear. “Julien sat on the edge of his seat, and said, I want to take ballet,” said DeJear’s grandmother, Vallene Cooks.

Later that evening she noticed just how serious he was. “He was mimicking what the ballet dancer had done, and it looked good,” said Cooks.

She would eventually get him into classes at Oklahoma City Ballet where his instructors saw the same passion. “Even from that first class there was a level of, he was so serious about it that was different from other kids in the class,” said Erica Portell, dance instructor with OKC Ballet.

Even at six years old, not only was there a love for ballet there was a drive to be the best. “Everyone else has stopped, they’re tired, Julien is like let me practice it at least five more times,” said Portell.

At seventeen that drive is still there. “I practice Monday through Friday, 9 to 2, 9 to 4, 9 to 5, sometimes 9 to 10:30 p.m.,” said Dejear.

He recently competed in Dallas in the Youth America Grand Prix with over 500 participants, and to no one’s surprise he placed third in his age group. “No, I’m not surprised, it lines up perfectly with that little eight, nine-year-old cutie that was in my class,” said Portell.

The event qualifies him for the Super Bowl for ballet competition in New York. “That’s when people from all over, even people from Indonesia, Japan, Australia, everywhere,” said Dejear.

As his grandmother watches in awe of his ability, she remembers that four-year-old kid who only wanted to dance. “To see him do that, to reach that goal, just gives me chills,” said Cooks. 

The competition is in New York in April, we of course will track his progress.

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