Some of the most memorable dancers on So You Think You Can Dance move you not only because of their talents, but because of their journeys to the stage. After the Season 14 premiere, Darius Hickman on So You Think You Can Dance is perhaps the dancer you'll be left thinking about the most. That's because during the Los Angeles auditions in the June 12 episode, Darius proves how powerful dance can be in uplifting the human spirit. This 18-year-old Floridian is one to watch for the rest of the season and the adversity that he has already faced in his young life is just another reason to root for this dancer.
During the SYTYCD Season 14 premiere, Nigel Lythgoe says he is absolutely "shocked" by Darius' story even before he gets the chance to dance. As host Cat Deeley discusses with him, Darius has never known his father and his mother struggled with drugs and was placed in jail. He was raised by his aunt, who was in an abusive relationship, and along with seeing his aunt being abused every day, he was also abused during his childhood. Darius and his aunt were finally able to escape the situation after moving multiple times, but his aunt died three years ago. After his aunt's death, his godmother took him in and provided him with a loving home.
From his mature demeanor and dancing though, you'd never know about his past struggles and Darius credits dance for helping him get through every day. He then showcases what an amazing dancer he is as his awe-inspiring audition is full of powerful grace and control. Of course, all three judges — Nigel, Mary Murphy, and newbie Vanessa Hudgens — send him straight to the Academy with hugs.
According to a spotlight from his high school, the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida, Darius has been dancing since the sixth grade. The Miami New Times reported he was a finalist in the National YoungArts Foundation competition as a senior at Dreyfoos and the video of his piece "Perfect Sense," which he choreographed, is perhaps even more impressive than his SYTYCD audition.
His Instagram account indicates that he will be attending Butler University as part of the school's ballet program. And if you follow him on social media, you'll get even more excited to see how far he'll go in this season of So You Think You Can Dance since he shares photos and videos of him tearing up the dance floor.
Before his appearance on So You Think You Can Dance, Darius created a GoFundMe page to help him earn money to make it to the auditions in Los Angeles. Now that he succeeded in making it on the show and getting a ticket to the Academy, something tells me he won't need to ask for help for much longer to achieve his dreams. And that's certainly something Nigel supports, since — as he says in the SYTYCD premiere — Darius "deserves something good" in his life and his dancing will help him make that good happen.