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The Lifeline

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Dance prodigy Wyatt Rocker is making it big, both on screen and on the world’s most coveted stages.

Fans of American Idol and The Voice may recognize a local face on their TV screens. Contemporary dancer and Hagerty High graduate Wyatt Rocker is in the process of making his dreams come true.

Wyatt has been featured in a number of major dance productions. Choreographer Erica Sobol cast him in Runaway, choreographer Matt Cady chose Wyatt for It’s About Robots and Humans and the Meaning of Life, and he also danced for Talia Favia in The Difference Between Actions and Words. The life of a professional dancer has its ups and downs, and a dancer’s schedule can be rigorous, but Wyatt remains focused.

“I can have three different rehearsals, four hours each, every day for two weeks,” he says. On days off, Wyatt stays active by practicing yoga, hiking, and swimming.

Wyatt’s most significant accomplishment thus far is his recent role as one of three dancers on stage with Sia, best known for her hit song Chandelier. Wyatt danced in Sia’s new music video, Cheap Thrills; he performed with her on American Idol and The Voice; and he’s accompanied her to well-known music festivals like Coachella. In August, he’ll travel with Sia on her international tour that begins in Moscow.

What are Wyatt’s thoughts on all of this?

“I can’t believe that it’s real life,” he says. “You grow up as a dancer, dreaming of dancing for famous artists and traveling the world. Now it’s my reality, and I get paid for it, which is crazy.”

It was Wyatt’s sister who introduced him to the idea of dance.

“Wyatt idolized Savannah, his older sister by three years,” says Wyatt’s dad, Dr. Jeffry Rocker. Savannah was in gymnastics, so Wyatt followed her lead, beginning his own gymnastics lessons at the age of three.

Later, when Savannah wanted to take dance classes, “Wyatt would go with me to take Savannah to dance and just sit at the window and watch the classes,” says Selena Rocker, Wyatt’s mom and owner of Skinology Medical Spa in Oviedo. “At the end of the first year, before recital, the teacher who had watched Wyatt sit at the window invited him in.”

Because of his impressive gymnastics skills, the studio invited Wyatt to be in the recital. By age nine, he had joined a dance company and was training daily in ballet, jazz, contemporary, acro, and tap.

“I’ve always made dance my number-one priority since I started,” Wyatt says. “I felt if I focused on anything else, I would be wasting time rehearsing, training, and working toward my craft.”

Wyatt’s dad quickly recognized his son’s talent. “It didn’t take long before we realized Wyatt was different. He was special,” explains Jeffry. “A combination of artistry and athleticism allowed him to do things that other dancers couldn’t.”

Wyatt thrived as a company dancer.

“His growth was amazing,” says Selena. “Wyatt absorbed everything they would throw at him, and he came alive on stage. He never seemed nervous about any of his performances.”

At the end of his eighth-grade year, Wyatt made two important decisions. He changed dance companies and confided in his parents about his after-graduation plans: to move to Los Angeles and pursue his dream of becoming a professional dancer.

“Ever since I started dancing, I always thought it would be cool if this would be what I could do for the rest of my life,” says Wyatt. “But I think it started getting to be a reality around middle school. I went to Los Angeles for the first time in 2006 to take a class at The Edge PAC [a well-known dance training center, where Wyatt now teaches], and I absolutely fell in love with dance.”

Over the next four years, Wyatt won many titles, and he established himself as a great contemporary dance artist. He was cast in a company called marInspired; the storytellers, choreographed by Marinda Davis, and he performed in her show in New York, Unbreakable. Two months after his graduation from Hagerty High in 2012, Wyatt moved to Los Angeles to begin his professional career.

“Wyatt has always made his own decisions about his dance career,” says Jeffry. “Selena and I merely gave our support and provided transportation. Wyatt has made it to the pinnacle of contemporary dance through hard work and dedication to his art.”

Selena agrees. “This is such an exciting time for Wyatt and for us as parents,” she says. “He has trained and worked hard to be the best he can be. Watching Wyatt perform has always taken my breath away even when he was little. And those feelings have not subsided.”

“I’m passionate about something, and it’s my job,” Wyatt marvels, making no attempt to hide his enthusiasm. “I am so lucky and grateful for this life I have.”

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