Jaxon Willard showed his talent and emotional strength in an incredible performance on the Aug. 8 episode of ‘World of Dance’. Here’s what you should know about the heartwarming contestant.
World of Dance contestant Jaxon Willard, 16, brought some judges, including Derek Hough, 33, and Jennifer Lopez, 49, to tears when he gave one of the most emotional dancing performances of the show on the Aug. 8 duels episode. After being open about his family struggles and the uncomfortable feelings he had when dealing with them, he’s been one of the favorites of this season’s competition and could very well win by the end. Here’s everything you should know about him.
1.) He was adopted by a white family. As an African American, this was hard for Jaxon and he was often made fun of for his skin color. His performances often reflect the insecurities he felt growing up due to looking different from those around him. It’s one of the reasons his dances are so powerful.
2.) His performance on the Aug. 8 episode helped him express his anger towards his birth mother. In order to get past the anger he had about her choosing to give him up, he embraced the love he feels for his adoptive mother, who he sweetly hugged at the end of his performance. The touching performance gave him near perfect scores of 98 from Jennifer, 97 from Ne-Yo and 93 from Derek.
3.) He has been choreographing emotional dance routines since he was a kid. He began dancing at the age of 11 in Utah and was inspired by his sister, who took part in an after-school ballroom dance program. He ended up learning various styles of dancing, including ballroom, hip-hop, jazz, ballet and contemporary.
4.) He considers his hard life a good learning experience. “Nobody is the same, but when I dance and I’m around dancers, we all have the same passion, and so ultimately, I don’t look at that experience in a negative way,” he explained in an interview with the Daily Herald. “I look at it in a positive way because I wouldn’t be where I am without these experiences.”
5.) He started creating his own choreography for a very good reason. “I mainly started choreographing because I don’t really like being told what to do and how to dance, and so for me to be able to choreograph and be able to put my own spin on it is really fun,” he continued to tell the Daily Herald. “No one should be told how to dance, really, because everyone moves a different way, and so it’s just fun for me to be creative and just do what I want to do.”