Dancer, “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 12 tour
Jim Nowakowski has the kind of backstory that’s catnip for “So You Think You Can Dance”
producers. Born in South Korea and adopted by an American family at six months old, he under-
went multiple surgeries to correct a cleft lip and palate, which made him a target for schoolyard
But that narrative, moving as it is, faded to the background over the course of Nowakowski’s
run on Season 12. It was overshadowed by the pure thrill of his dancing: high-octane, astonishingly controlled, girded by the rock-solid technique he honed during his eight years with Houston Ballet. Nowakowski’s remarkable versatility—he looked nearly as impressive in hip-hop
routines as he did in ballet—earned him comparisons to fellow ballet-pro-turned-“SYT”-star
Alex Wong. And his elimination just before the ;nale episode provoked a storm of social media
outrage from #TeamJim.
Currently on tour with “SYTYCD,” Nowakowski faces a future full of diverse options:
A commercial dance career? A convention gig? A triumphant return to ballet? Whatever he
chooses, he can rely on the continued adoration of his devoted “SYT” and classical fans alike.
Nowakowski (right) and
Alex Wong during the