If you didn’t know Nick Daniels before his debut performance on NBC’s World of Dance, you’ll want to keep an eye on him from here on out. The 18-year-old contemporary dancer wowed the judges with a powerful routine full of emotion, strength, and some truly insane flexibility.

“Now I know what contemporary without bones looks like,” celeb judge Ne-Yo told him. (Catch the full episode recap here.)

Nick Daniels

Style: Contemporary (Solo)

Category: Upper

From: Miami, Florida

That talent is no surprise. Nick grew up in his mom’s New Jersey dance studio, Encore, and he’s been training at the world-renowned Stars Dance Studio in Miami since age 16. But while you’d think he’d been doing contemporary since he could walk, Nick says he actually didn’t discover it until later.

“I was inspired because of YouTube and social media, where I was seeing the older generation do it. I did jazz, ballet, and tumbling growing up. But I really started getting into contemporary around 13 or 14,” he says.

When you watch him dance, it seems he was born for contemporary. And in some ways, he was. That incredible flexibility comes from his naturally “open hips,” which he’s had since he was a baby. He even says his mom would have to put two or three diapers on him when he was little because he was always breaking them off.

such a pleasure working with @michaelhigginsphoto ✨

A post shared by nick daniels (@nick1epac) on

Now, those hips have become an asset, giving him a unique contemporary style that is mesmerizing to watch. For a lifelong dancer, however, an international competition pitting the world’s best dancers against each other for a $1 million prize is a next-level challenge. So, what was the World of Dance experience like?

“I think the biggest thing that was nerve-wracking was performing in front of other dancers and the judges. I’d never performed for an audience that big or for huge artists, so it was a crazy experience. I just put my headphones on and warmed up to get in my head,” he says.

Luckily, he had no problem impressing the judges or audience in the first round. And even though getting advice from pros at that level can be intimidating, he was grateful for their feedback.

“I thought everything they said was good, and I really took it in,” he says.


A post shared by nick daniels (@nick1epac) on

For Nick, World of Dance is just the platform he needs to challenge himself and get to the next level, and he doesn’t plan to slow down. In fact, he’s been making appearances all over the country, including a stop at the recent 2017 World of Dance New Jersey event, where he got to share his contemporary style with the urban dance world.

“I was really inspired by everyone there—especially their attitude and vibe. Personally, I don’t incorporate any hip hop into my style. But as an outsider, I love to watch hip-hop.”

We’re sure to see Nick continue to expand his horizons. For now, however, he’s happy that competing on World of Dance will give him a chance to share his art and journey with the world.

“I’m just excited to show everybody what’s been happening,” he says.

To keep up with Nick Daniels, follow him on Instagram .

For more World of Dance goodness and interviews:

Love dance as much as us? Tune into NBC’s World of Dance Tuesdays at 10/9 central to see the world’s best dancers battle it out for a whopping $1 million prize. (Here’s everything you need to know about the show, from the competitors to the rules, in case you’re out of the loop). Don’t miss exclusive interviews, performances, and more from the definitive source for all things World of Dance.