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With his father's support Yiannis Ekonomou, 11, successfully auditioned for the Joffrey Ballet's Nutcracker 2014

By Natalie Bomke
Good Day Chicago
October 8, 2014


Chicogo (FOX 32 News) – A Chicago father’s passion for his son’s craft has helped his little boy land one amazing role.

Most dads dream about their son becoming a star on the football field or baseball diamond. But Yiannis Ekonomou is a star on the stage. “When he first started competing a lot, I’d be meeting people, they’d be like, ‘you have a girl?’ And I would say, ‘No it’s my son and his name is Yianni.’ And they go, ‘Your boy is in dance?’ And I’d go ‘Yeah, what’s wrong with that?'” says Nicholas Ekonomou, Yiannis’ father.

At the age of 11, Yiannis has won three national dance titles. His dad’s support is no doubt part of his winning strategy. Nicholas says, “[Yiannis] eats, sleeps, dance all day long, twists and turns around the house. It never stops, never stops. You can see it’s in his heart. It’s something he was born to do.”

“I think dance is one of the coolest things on Earth and I don’t know what I would do without it,” Yiannis says. And now, Yiannis is part of a first for Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet. He will be performing in two roles in the upcoming Nutcracker.

Katie Kirwin, the Children’s Ballet Mistress for Joffrey says, “during the run of the program, he’s dancing two roles in the first act and a role in the second act. Which is just a little more dancing than most kids.”

It also means an additional day of practice each week, on top of the 20 to 30 hours Yiannis spends at his dance company.

Yiannis’ father Nicholas grew up in a family of Greek immigrants who he says didn’t push him to pursue sports of the arts. That’s why he believes his role in Yiannis’ life is the most important part he’ll every play.

You can see Yiannis perform in Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” December 5th through the 28th. Single tickets are on sale right now, starting at $32 dollars. Click here for more details.


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