So you think you can dance? Cody Ostrenga does, and he proved it recently on an episode of Fox TV’s “So You Think You Can Dance.” Ostrenga stood out for his dance skills. And because he is that rare cowboy belly dancer. But also because he is gay.

Ostrenga moved to Los Angeles in 2011 from Texas with $500 in his pocket to develop a career as a dancer, model, actor and singer. He fell in love with dance at the age of seven when he watched Britney Spears “Baby One More Time,” music video. According to his online biography, “As he watched her dance, he began mimicking her moves and realized he was feeling alive and free.”

But Ostrenga stayed in the closet about his passion for dance, fearing he would be mocked and bullied in his Texas neighborhood. He danced and practiced in private.

Eventually, Ostrenga came to understand that he was gay and, despite his fear of bullying, decided to sign up for a high school dance class. Ostrenga describes that as “the greatest choice” he has ever made.

Ostrenga engaged more openly in another passion, cowboy mounted shooting. He trained in that Western cowboy sport with his father. Guided by his dad, Ostrenga became a three-time world champion in the sport.

Ostrenga didn’t win the SYTYCD competition. Judge Nigel Lythgoe thought his performance was more sexual than creative. And fellow judge Vanessa Hudgens said he needs a bit more practice. But Ostrenga drew applause from the audience  and the video drew nearly 300,000 views on Yahoo News. Cody Ostrenga says he plans to be back next year, stronger and better than ever.

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