There's a delicious bit of mischief in everything Kolton Krouse does. He'll toss off some impossibly difficult sequence—a quintuple pirouette into a prolonged développé into an aerial, say—and end with an impish smile that's the stage equivalent of saying, "How good was that? And how much fun did I have doing it?"
The 21-year-old brings that sense of fun to all his dance pursuits. Currently a junior at The Juilliard School, he performed in CATS on Broadway on and off during 2016 and 2017. (For a few months, he was committed to both Juilliard and CATS full-time.) And he regularly posts virtuosic Instagram clips showcasing his contemporary and commercial skills, including Beyoncé-caliber heels work.
Krouse's versatility is unsurprising given his background as a do-it-all competition kid: He earned the National Senior Male Outstanding Dancer title at New York City Dance Alliance in 2014. "I don't ever want to be boxed into one thing—'Oh, you're a theater dancer' or 'Oh, you're a commercial dancer,' " he says. "I want to do a bit of everything, without limitations."
My best running buddy was on my left. To my right, a total stranger with whom I'd suddenly become competitive. As the 15-person group headed into a two-minute push, the instructor got hyped, and the remix blasting Rihanna's "We Found Love" transitioned to "Smooth Criminal."