Fresh out of New York University, and a degree in dance, Jacoby Pruitt joined Ailey II, the second dance company of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
His first trip?
Pruitt, 21, had four days of rehearsal to learn three dance piece for an hour and a half performance. That was May 2015.
Now, several months, later, Pruitt is on an American tour with the same dance company, which makes its final stop March 13 at York's Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center.
"I had such a blast," Pruitt said of the Italy trip while riding on a bus somewhere between Texas and Louisiana.
For Pruitt, the youngest member of the 12-person company, touring for Ailey, a universally renowned company known for bringing talented young dancers together with emerging choreographers, was technically his first "job."
So, with it came the feelings of homesickness and stresses. But, he said, he quickly became close with the other dancers and has found performing for different audience each night brings its own thrill.
"It was definitely hard for me at first," Pruitt said. "It definitely is a learning experience, but it gets easier. At the end of the day, there's nothing better than performing for a live audience even if your knees are bleeding or your legs are sore."
Growing up in Miami, Pruitt took up dancing around age 12. It was his alternative, he said, to phys ed class and running in the 80 degree Florida heat. He went on to study dance at the New World School of the Arts in his hometown where he fell in love with dance.
With Ailey, Pruitt and his fellow dancers have 8 to 16 pieces in their repertoire.
The company will perform three pieces at the Strand including "I Am the Road" by Kyle JustSole Clark. It's a relatively new piece, Pruitt said, and tells a personal story based on Clark's life, and how he became the person he is today. It's a house dance piece, which is a genre of hip hop.
"I love the piece," Pruitt said. "It's so wonderful and rigorous and physical, and it's hard to get through."
If you go
What: Ailey II, a universally renowned dance company, to perform at the Strand-Capitol
When: 7 p.m. Sunday, March 13
Where: Strand-Capitol Arts Center, 50 N. George St.
Cost: Reserved seating from $37 to $48
Details: For more information, visit www.mystrandcapitol.org/event/ailey-ii