How Nick Palmquist Became the Teacher He Is Today

Photo by Nathalie Van Empel, courtesy of BYU CFAC

It's been a good month for choreographer and teacher Nick Palmquist. While he's been on DT's radar for quite some time, he burst onto the social-media scene in late November when the biggest professional ballet stars in the country participated in the #nickpalmquistchallenge. Prompted by Palmquist's choreography, stars from Marcelo Gomes to Stella Abrera were digging into the sultry stylized movement of the Steps on Broadway commercial jazz teacher, and sharing it on social media. He now has 38.4K followers and counting.

Photo by James Jin, courtesy of Palmquist

In spite of all of the attention, Palmquist insists his purpose has not been to create viral videos, but to produce movement that his students work hard at and feel proud of.

"I post these things on Instagram because I am proud of them, not because I am trying to get likes," Palmquist says. "This whole thing was so spontaneous and organic, and that's what I love about it. It started because Marcelo and Gillian [Murphy] were kind and shared my work because they loved my stuff. Since then I have been overwhelmed with how quickly the challenge has spread and how much positivity it has brought."

Palmquist says much of his current teaching style represented in these viral videos has been influenced by his time as a student with teacher Ann Buehler in Missouri. He has been particularly influenced by her, he says, when it comes to his choice in music (which is pretty fantastic, by the way).

"I always appreciated Ann's eclectic taste in music," Palmquist says. "She did a good job of picking songs that could really speak to a wide range of students. More than half the battle of being a great choreographer is finding great music. She helped me cultivate a love for it and taught me to find music that will help my dancers feel more comfortable and excited to be in my classroom."

You can take Palmquist's commercial jazz class on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at Steps on Broadway in New York City.

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