Rockettes’ Pick for Dancer of the Week: Ballet Dancer Erik Cavanaugh

Who: Erik Cavanaugh

His dance: 

Why we chose him: This guy proves two things about ballet dancers. One, it takes hard work, motivation and discipline. Two, you don’t need to have a “perfect” dancer body.

Erik Cavanaugh, a 23-year-old Pittsburgh native who’s been dancing for six years, is turning the idea of the “dancer body” on its head. He’s showing the world through his Instagram account that anyone who works hard enough can rock a ballet class and that dancers come in all shapes and sizes. He may not look like your “average” ballet dancer, but look at his moves; they speak for themselves. Like any outstanding performer, he exudes grace, strength, fluidity and energy.

“Dancing has this stereotype that only the thinnest can be successful, when that is not true,” Erik tells PEOPLE. “Dance is for everyone and anyone who is willing to put in the work. I want people to finally see the world of dance as much more than just one size.”

Bravo, Erik—keep slayin’!

Fun fact: Guess who inspired Erik to dance? None other than our genius choreographer and director of the New York Spectacular, Mia Michaels! “I started dancing because of the choreographer Mia Michaels from So You Think You Can Dance … her choreography is so beautiful and inspiring,” Erik tells BuzzFeed.

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