GARRETT — Bryson Hickman’s passion for dance began when he tagged along to his older sister Addi’s dance competitions, according to his mom, Angie Hippensteel,

The Garrett High School freshman started dancing when he was 8-years-old by looking up “how to” videos on YouTube, according to his mom. He joined classes at a studio the next year.

“I knew then it was his passion,” his mom said. “He practiced all the time. Before classes, after classes, everyday. And he still does” she added.

During the past year, Hickman, 15, has been reaping the rewards of his hard work and perseverance.

In June, he competed against 97 advanced teen soloists in the Nexstar Nations in Sandusky, Ohio where he captured first place with his self-choreographed solo to “Only Love.”

In July, Hickman traveled to Chicago for the In10sity Dance Nationals. He took a master class from the legendary dance Nan Giordano, artistic director for Giordano Dance Chicago. Giordano was also the guest judge for a portion of the competition. Out of all the participants at Nationals, Giordano chose Hickman for a scholarship to attend one of her company’s intensives.

At the end of July, he attended the World Dance Pageant in New Jersey where he competed in dance, modeling, on-stage speaking, interview and dance auditions (jazz, ballet, hip hop, tap, lyrical, contemporary). There he was named first-runner up Teen Mr. World Dance.

Hickman’s dance training is from Ratio Dance in Auburn under the direction of Leah Stupeck and several other instructors. Last year, he was named Ratio Dance’s Dancer of the Year. He also attends ballet training during half of his school day at Grant Training Program in Fort Wayne.

“Dance means different things to different people,” said Hickman following his Dance of the Year award last year. “For me, dance has shaped me into the person I am today. It has given me confidence, yet gratefulness for all the abilities I possess. It has taught me to be humble in success, yet patient when I start to doubt myself.

“It has shown me what it is like to be inspired by others and to appreciate when I am the one inspiring,” he added.

“Dance has taught me discipline and helps me overcome physical, mental and emotional challenges in my everyday life. Dance means so many things to me and I am grateful it has taught me all the great values needed to succeed in life.”

Hickman hopes to one day become a professional dancer and choreographer.

He and his sister, Addi still dance together, his mom added.

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