Spend a few minutes speaking with JT Church and one thing is immediately clear—the 15-year-old was born to dance, act, and entertain.
“I’ve always been super active, and I’ve put on shows for my parents since I was born,” he says.
Church, who is originally from Virginia and moved to Chandler with his family in July of 2017, took his first jazz dance class at the age of 5.
The following year, he was dancing on a competition team, where he did ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop. Over the years he has added contemporary, ballroom, jazz funk, acro, and lyrical to his repertoire.
The freshman at Perry High School and member of the school’s Moveo Dance Company enjoys dancing so much, he decided to audition for the television show So You Think You Can Dance when he was 10.
“We went to Chicago for the auditions and I got into the academy, which was 100 people, and then I was in the top 10, and then I made it to the top four and ended up getting second place,” he says.
In 2018, Church wowed audiences with his dancing talents again when he was selected to be a pro on the show Dancing with the Stars: Juniors.
Church and his partner, skateboarder and surfer Sky Brown, took first place in the show.
Although Church admits that his favorite style of dance changes with his mood, he says he is currently especially fond of contemporary, jazz, and hip hop.
He is also thoroughly enjoying his newest entertainment-related interest—acting.
After appearing on So You Think You Can Dance, Church signed with an acting agency and started the often-challenging process of auditioning for parts.
“It was hard for me to get roles and it was especially hard being a young actor who hadn’t done anything. You have to hear one thousand ‘no’s’ before one ‘yes.’”
His hard work and perseverance paid off last year, when he was chosen to play the role of Nicky in the Hallmark movie, The Christmas Waltz, starring Lacey Chabert and Will Kemp.
The director and producer of the movie had seen him dance, and they thought he would be a great fit for the part, he says.
“I was so thankful I was chosen,” Church says, adding that he and his mom, Leslie, traveled to Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada in late August for the filming.
“I learned so much about how to make a movie and it was really cool to see how it all played out. And Lacey and Will were so amazing and inspiring, and such a joy.”
When Church is not busy with his dance lessons, both in-person and via Zoom, he enjoys practicing in his dance studio, which was once the home’s formal living room.
He also likes hanging out with his friends and loves watching movies.
In regards to his passion for dancing, acting, and entertaining, Church says he will definitely continue for as long as he can.
“When I’m older I want to continue to be in the industry and maybe also get into choreography,” he says.
As for other kids, and especially boys who want to get into dancing and acting, Church says they should definitely go for it.
“You should follow your passions and dreams and not worry about it. If you love it as much as you thought, then pursue it and never give up,” he says. “And if you are hard on yourself the way I am, remember you are perfect the way you are and you can do anything.”