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FERRIER FILES: Tennessee dreamer makes his mark as professional dancer

FERRIER FILES: Tennessee dreamer makes his mark as professional dancer (Fox 17 News)

There are certain careers and industries that are extremely difficult to make it in; professional athlete, actor, musician and navy seal to name a few.

They are big dreams with small chances, and a path littered with broken dreams. Being a professional dancer is one of those highly competitive professions with grueling hours, where dancer are often plagued by injuries and age.

Chattanooga’s Brian Gephart is one of the lucky few. He has been dancing professionally since he was 18 years old.

Ten years after his career began, he is dancing in the national touring production of 'An American in Paris' playing at TPAC in Nashville through Nov. 5.

“There are a lot of moments where I have to pinch myself," Gephart said. "There are so many of us growing up hoping to be a professional dancer, and I get to do that."

Gephart said it's been a rocky road to get where he is today.

There are times in between jobs or before you get the job where it’s a little disconcerting," Gephart said. "You put in so much work, but it's not just work. It's yourself. Being a dancer, you identify wholly and 100 percent as being a dancer."

Gephart is touring the country with the award-winning show. It re-imagines the famous musical with all the Gershwin tunes but adds ballet, tap and jazz dancing to a classic love story.

“This show was developed by one of the giants of ballet, Christopher Wheeldon," Gephart said. “He is a giant in ballet. But this show has everything; tap, jazz, even a chorus line. It is a magnificent mix of dance including beautiful ballet. And then of course all surrounding this beautiful story of an American soldier and a mysterious French girl trying to get past the war.

It's not easy making it in the world of professional dance so hard that Gephart tells young dancers you don't absolutely have to do this. He said if you can imagine life without it, then don't do it. But if you do, you will soar.

“There is nothing like it," Gephart said. "It’s like flying being able to jump across the stage. It's incredible. ?There is nothing like it. You are transported."

You can catch the Tennessee native in 'An American in Paris' playing at TPAC in Nashville through Sunday Nov. 5. Tickets are available at TPAC.ORG

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