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The Dancer Who Didn’t Let His Body Stop Him From Pursuing His Dream

Erik Cavanaugh is the little engine that could.

Despite his footballish figure, he has made a name for himself doing pirouettes, elegant leaps and tilts, and graceful tumbles. He’s competed on “America’s Got Talent,” been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, and had a video of him go viral with over 11 million views.

His tagline on Instagram sums up what he’s about: “Trying to change the mind and body of dancers.”

The 24-year-old told NTD that he switched from doing theater to dance in high school, and has never looked back. He majored in dance at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania and earlier this year moved  to New York City to pursue his dream of becoming a professional dancer.

He was contacted by “America’s Got Talent” shortly after college, and his notoriety has spread from there. But he says he’s still got a ways to go in making his dream a reality, starting with himself.

“Even to this day, I get in fights with myself, like, ‘Am I in the right career, am I going to keep doing this, am I going to be successful?’ Definitely people on Instagram and Facebook have reached out and let me know how much I’ve helped them and it really helps me to keep going,” he said.

The Pittsburgh native said it was people like his teachers in high school, who never doubted that he could do what he put his mind to, that made it all possible.

His advice to someone else who has chosen an uphill path?

“All I can say is that you’re unstoppable and you can go as far as you want to go, that limitations were made to be broken, and stereotypes are only made by people who gave up. When people say you can’t do, prove how much you can and go beyond that.”

With reporting by Tingting O