If you catch Yankalle Filtser on the streets of Israel, it’s quite the sight: a man dressed in traditional Hasidic garb — sidecurls and all — dancing for a circle of spectators, moving his body in uniquely beautiful ways.

Filtser was raised in an ultra-Orthodox family in Israel, but when his passion for dance became clear, he left the traditions he was raised with to forge his own path. “I think the freedom of being secular is pretty tough,” he says. “Yet for me it’s essential.”

In the short video below, Yankalle opens up about his path to professional dance, showing us what it means to #followyourtruth (and look damn good doing it).  

Watch more videos in the Stories @ 70 series here.

Molly Tolsky

Molly Tolsky is the editor of Alma.