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‘Talent’ could be this dancer’s big break

By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / August 13, 2011

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Hometown freestyler CJ “Snap Boogie’’ Andrade has been tearing up the floor of the NBC television show “America’s Got Talent’’ this summer and continues into week 12 Tuesday night. With his cherubic smile and trademark trilby hat, he’s been charming the judges and public alike. Then there’s the small matter of his dazzling moves, which judge Howie Mandel called “edgy and current,’’ recently pronouncing, “You’re a star.’’ The 18-year-old honed his skills on the sidewalks of Boston, where he performed to help his mother pay the bills. He attended the Boston Arts Academy and worked with Anthony Williams and BalletRox, performing as the lead boy in the company’s first “Urban Nutcracker.’’ “America’s Got Talent’’ could prove to be a game-changer for Andrade and, he hopes, an inspiration for other dancers. He said at his audition for the show, “We were always poor when I was growing up. . . . If I win, I won’t have to rely on street performing. This competition can change my life.’’