Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe audiences who’ve seen young Derric Gobourne dance in shows like Best of Stevie Wonder, Black Nativity, A Motown Christmas and How I Got Over: A Tribute to Mahalia Jackson will not be surprised to hear that the talented Gobourne has been named a YoungArts Finalist, one of just 166 out of nearly 700 YoungArtists award winners from across the country to make it to the level of finalist. That means Gobourne will be on his way to Miami this week to participate in National YoungArts Week.
Gobourne was named a finalist in dance/hip hop and will have the chance to receive mentorship and learn about professional development opportunities in Miami, Jan. 8-15. Winners can also receive awards, including cash prizes of up to $10,000.
Not bad for a 17-year-old. The senior at Manatee High is a self-taught musician who has also performed as a Michael Jackson impersonator.
National YoungArts Week aims to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration and community while offering participants the guidance to prepare for the next stage of their artist development. WBTT’s artistic director, Nate Jacobs, says, “The most satisfying aspect of my job is seeing talented young artists develop their skills and achieve success. Derric is a supremely talented, hard-working and truly delightful young man….I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him.”
As for Gobourne himself, he says he's "beyond excited" for this opportunity. "It means a lot to me to be recognized as one of the elite artists in the country. I never looked at myself in that way; I just enjoy doing what I do. Dancing and music make me happy, and I love sharing my gift and talent with others."
He hopes when he goes to Miami he's "hoping to get to network with other artists who are like myself. I'm looking to learn from other seasoned dancers."
And he's not afraid to dream big. "In the future I see myself as one of the greatest entertainers of all times--that is what my goal is. I want to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in the fall and learn all I can about dance and musical theater and come back and give the world my all."