Nick Jurica almost missed the call on his cell phone from Juilliard’s admissions office letting him know he had been accepted as one of only 24 dancers for the upcoming school year. Thankfully, the prestigious performing arts school tried calling his home phone, which Jurica answered.

The Oregon dancer is the first to be accepted into Juilliard from the Beaverton Arts and Communication Magnet Academy (ACMA) in at least 15 years, according to dance instructor Felice Moskowitz.

Juilliard School accepts approximately 7 percent of its 2,000 annual applicants. Jurica credits his success to his teachers at ACMA, and timing.

“It’s a combination of the right time and place,” Jurica told The Oregonian. “I can’t say I was the most gifted dancer coming from this school.”

His instructors know Jurica as a humble, down-to-earth student as well as a gifted dancer.

“He is probably the most motivated of all the dancers I’ve worked with in my 34 years,” dance instructor Julane Stites said. “He has a gift for it.”

Jurica and his older brother began ballroom dancing at a young age. After playing soccer for years and contemplating a career in engineering, Jurica became serious about his professional ballet career when he transferred to ACMA in eighth grade.

“He’s worked hard,” dance instructor Jason Davis said of Jurica. “He’s earned it.”


When not writing, Sierra can be found conducting experiments in the chemistry lab or whipping up delectable creations in her kitchen. With a passion for storytelling, Sierra puts her natural curiosity to use investigating enlightening angles for news and events here at The Oregon Optimist.