AURORA | For most Americans, dancing is an activity largely reserved for personal, intimate circumstance.
Shimmying shoulders and frantic feet often crop up during isolated moments of exaltation — at stop lights, during sudsy ceremonies of matrimony and other bliss, and while stumbling across Internet clips of “The Ellen Degeneres Show” or myriad late-night talk show hooligans.
But for Aurora resident Jonathan Jaramillo, the bigger the stage, the better. The 11-year-old modern dance phenom has made a name for himself among the Front Range dance community in recent years, consistently nabbing the top spot in breakdancing competitions and even appearing on an episode of “The Tonight Show” when it was under the helm of comedian Jay Leno.
And this weekend, Jaramillo will be taking the biggest stage in his short yet decorated career when he performs in front of some 15,000 pop music aficionados and alongside the genre’s presiding prince, Justin Bieber.
“I’m just overwhelmed with excitement,” Jaramillo said.
Jaramillo will perform a short dance routine onstage with Bieber, the pop star’s professional backup dancers and three other young dancers from the metro area during the singer’s performance of his song “Children” at his upcoming concert Monday at the Pepsi Center.
“We are thrilled that he’s getting this opportunity because we know it’s something he’ll never forget,” said Desiree Jaramillo, Jonathan’s mom and manager.
Also a student at Denver School of the Arts, Jonathan was one of four winners of a YouTube dance contest organized by Bieber’s creative director and choreographer, Nick DeMoura. Given just two days to memorize a roughly 30-second routine, Jonathan uploaded a video of himself performing the steps the first week of March and shortly thereafter learned he had beaten out dozens of other young dancers to co-win the contest.
“We were so excited,” Desiree said. “I got the email when I was at work and I started crying at my desk all by myself. I was so proud.”
Partial to any dance that allows him to pop and weave, Jonathan said that the Bieber routine is a sort of funky hip-hop.
In recent weeks, Jonathan has been perfecting his Bieber steps at his home in southeast Aurora and at the Millennium Dance Complex in Centennial, one of two professional dance studios at which he studies. The other is School of Breaking on East Jewell Avenue in Aurora.
Taryn Vincent, co-owner at Millennium, said that Jonathan’s reputation among the Front Range dance community preceded him.
“I’d seen him dance several times, so as soon as he walked in (last year) I knew who he was,” Vincent said. “He has a little reputation for being awesome.”
Jonathan, who has talent agents in both Los Angeles and Denver, said that he’s excited about the prospects the Bieber performance and subsequent exposure could yield.
“I hope this will open a lot more doors for me,” he said.
Desiree said that Monday’s performance could provide a glimpse at what Jonathan’s future might hold.
“I think he’s really excited to get the experience of what it’s going to be like on a stage that large and get a look at what he can do when he gets older,” she said.