The principal dancer for the New York City Ballet didn’t have an easy journey to taking centerstage.

By Thatiana Diaz
Updated December 05, 2016 10:58 PM

Amar Ramasar isn't afraid to take a leap. Although his upbringing didn't encourage his choice to dance, the Bronx native is now pushing the limit everyday as a principal dancer for the New York City Ballet. “Growing up in the Bronx, all the kids on my block wanted to be baseball players, basketball players, rappers — and I wanted to do ballet,” he shared. “It's a tough neighborhood and everyone wants to feel manly and, of course, the jokes came. But the manliness and masculinity I felt as a dancer gave me the confidence to say it out loud.”

The dancer revealed that he knew he wanted to work for the world-renowned company from a young age, and prove to his uncle that he could become a dancer for the NYC Ballet. Now, after 17 years with the company, Ramasar proudly pushes through training 10 hours a day, six days a week. “The word love is not enough to describe the feeling I have for dance,” he says. “Dance gives me life. It's the reason I wake up in the morning, it's the reason I laugh and cry and fight through everything. It gives me heart.”

Learn more about Ramasar's motivating story on AMERICAN DOERS; a 12-part video series that's sponsored by Advil and is streaming on and follows the journey of pioneers in pursuit of the American dream, such as the striving Ramasar.