By Evan F. Moore
October 7, 2014
[Orland Park, Illinois] – If you happen to watch “Dancing With The Stars” or “America’s Got Talent” in the upcoming years, you might see Orland Park resident Yiannis Ekonomou as a contestant. The 11-year-old boy’s resume is impressive. He has been dancing since he was 5.
“He was always dancing around the house,” Nicholas, Yiannis’ father, said. “We took him to a dance lesson one day and he liked it.”
Ekonomou said he saw something special in his son and knew that dance wouldn’t be a passing fad for him. “You can see it was something that came from his heart,” Ekonomou said. “He has a natural talent, and he can elevate himself.”
This summer, Yiannis won two national dance titles for his hip hop and contemporary solos as well as several judges’ choice awards in multiple competitions. He also danced in fundraisers sponsored by the American Heart Association and the Safstrom Children Education Fund.
He performed in the 2013 Nutcracker with the Joffrey Ballet as the lead boy in the party scene.
The Century Junior High School student has a strict regimen that requires him to train 15 to 20 hours a week.
“When I started doing hip-hop, at that moment, I knew what I wanted to do with my life,” Yiannis said. “I love dancing.”
Alyssa Johnson, the artistic director and owner of Perfection Dance Artistry in Palos Heights, has Yiannis as a student in her contemporary jazz and power company class. She said she knew he was something special during their first session. “For a young gentleman, he is dedicated to this,” Johnson said. “I was impressed the first day he came into my basement. He picked up right away.”
She also said that she was surprised at Yiannis’ drive at that age.“If you tell him to do something, he picks up the correction right away. In this industry, you’re looking for a kid that knows what he wants,” she said.
Yiannis’ parents support his dancing but have stressed that he must maintain good grades in school if he wants to keep his demanding schedule. Ekonomou said his son also plays soccer and is taking piano lessons.
Yiannis’ goal is to become a professional dancer and join “Dancing with the Stars” as a choreographer. His other favorite shows are “Dance Moms” and “So You Think You Can Dance?”
“I look at their (dancers’) technique. I look at how they do things,” he said.
Yiannis said he gets plenty of support from his classmates at school.“They think it’s pretty cool because they’ve seen me on TV auditioning,” he said.
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