Dance Sensation Julian DeGuzman Goes Global

With so many talented dancers on the rise, it’s difficult to break through in today’s industry--but 18-year-old Julian DeGuzman has done just that. The New York City native--who started training at age seven--has danced in numerous television shows including Saturday Night Live alongside Pharrell Williams, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, America’s Best Dance Crew (Season 7), and Live to Dance. In addition, DeGuzman has been featured in several commercials for brands such as Macy’s, The Gap, Chuck E. Cheese’s, and even Target for a Grammy’s campaign with Zedd and Maren Morris. In 2014, he had the opportunity to perform with Mariah Carey at the prestigious Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting as she sang her chart-topping hit, “All I Want For Christmas is You.” DeGuzman’s most recent endeavor was teaming up with his friend, Charlize Glass, to compete on NBC’s World of Dance in front of celebrity judges Jennifer Lopez, Neyo, and Derek Hough. The dynamic duo was a part of the junior division, presenting showstopping hip-hop routines each round. Glass and DeGuzman made it all the way to the Divisional Finals, short of the World Finals by just one-third of point. Get to know DeGuzman as he discloses the details of his dance experience:

How did you get your start in dance?

I got my start in dance from watching the “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” music video. After I heard the song, I made a video of me dancing to it. My mom signed me up for my first hip-hop class when I was seven years old. That was when I was first introduced to Michael Jackson, and I absolutely fell in love with that style of dance.

Why is dance so special to you?

Dance is special to me because it’s another form of communication, and it’s a universal language. It helps me say what I need to say without even speaking.

What’s your favorite style of dance and why?

My favorite style of dance is hip-hop because I’m so fascinated with the culture and music. I’ve always loved rap songs.

What was it like performing alongside Pharrell Williams on Saturday Night Live?

Performing with Pharrell on SNL was a dream because I’ve always looked up to him. He is one of my one of my favorite producers. I was also happy to be working with an amazing choreographer, Fatima [Robinson].

How did you initially meet your World of Dance partner, Charlize?

I met Charlize at the dance convention “The PULSE On Tour.” She was phenomenal, and we became friends while training there.

Why did you decide to audition for World of Dance?

All our lives, we’ve worked so hard in dance and have been through so much, so Charlize and I really wanted to show the world what we can do. Watching past seasons really inspired me to choreograph on the show as well.

What inspires your choreography? What is your process for conceptualizing a dance?

When a song makes me feel something, I can visualize creating something to it. I usually start by making a rough draft, then filming it so I can see how to expand on the first draft and improve.

What was your favorite part about competing on the show?

Creating new choreography and dancing it with Char. Meeting the other talented individuals competing was also amazing.

What was the most challenging part?

Trying to stay true to who I was. This was the first time I’ve ever choreographed for a duo, let alone a national television show, so it would have been very easy to try and impress other people. This show helped me learn that the only person I need to impress is myself, and my growth was important.

Now that it’s over, do you have any regrets?

I have no regrets, just lessons I learned from the show--amazing lessons and experiences that I will never forget.

What are your future plans?

To keep choreographing and challenging myself and to inspire the world through dance. That means traveling and teaching, sharing my choreography with the world, meeting new people, and sharing the love of dance with everyone.

This or That:

Contemporary or Hip-Hop? Hip-Hop.

Jumps or turns? Turns.

Traveler or homebody? Traveler.

Ice cream or pizza? Pizza.

Sneakers or baseball caps? Baseball caps.

Follow Julian on Social Media:

Instagram: @juliandeguz13

Snapchat: @jdeguz