Professional Dancer Returns Home With Important Message - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Professional Dancer Returns Home With Important Message

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by Marcus Washington

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Being a teenager is tough while trying to find your way and just fit in with the crowd, but one young man decided to go his own way with one big "leap" of faith.

At 16 years old and 200 pounds, Deondre Horner looked like he would be more comfortable on the football field than in a studio, but it was his love of dance that motivated him and kept him out of trouble growing up in North Nashville.

Now a professional dancer for the Dayton Contemporary Dance Center in Ohio, the 32-year-old said he is always ready to pour his knowledge into the next generation of dancers.

"Dance - it chose me," he told NewsChannel5. 

Horner said his movements express the pain, joy, even the rejection he felt in his world of dance.

"Is there place for me and my big thighs, my chest and me being black?" he said he often asked himself. 

For a week, Horner has been a visiting instructor at the place he got his start - the Nashville Ballet.

"It's been wonderful to watch him grow as a dancer, as an artist over the years," said Paul Vasterling, CEO and artistic direct for Nashville Ballet.

"Every organization wants to leave a legacy and this makes me think, 'wow we are leaving a legacy and (Deondre) is going to passing it on,'" said Vasterling.

Passion through expression of dance was the very thing Horner said made him feel different 16 years ago, but now it's the thing that allows him to be a mentor and leader.

"I'm happy because I love what I do every single day," said Horner.

Since Horner's time in the Nashville Ballet's Training Program, enrollment among males has grown from two to eight students. 


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