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What Happens When Child Prodigies Grow Up?

Some music artists begin performing as children and never stop. But not all former child stars are successful performers as adults. Julian Lage has been playing the guitar since he was five-years old. Now, he is twenty-one. JULIAN LAGE: I certainly felt it was no effort to play the guitar. It was fun, it was really fun." A film called Jules at Eight explores what life for Julian Lage was like when people began to understand the skills he had. He says his parents rejected offers to send him across the country and appear on television. They believed that such offers were not in his best interest. That may be why Julian Lage did not release his first collection of recordings until last March. JULIAN LAGE: I could have recorded when I was younger, but the biggest issue for me was wanting to step forward with more than just the music. Music critics say Lage has an unusual sound. That quality is probably why we are still hearing about him. Psychologist Ellen Winner says moving from child star to adult performer is difficult. ELLEN WINNER: Most of them are unheard of when they grow up to be adults. Winner wrote a book called, Gifted Children: Myths and Realities. She says a child prodigy is a boy or girl who becomes skilled in an area that adults invented. The child also becomes skilled in that area very quickly. If you want to remain famous, she says, you have to do something in a new way. Rasta Thomas is doing that with his company, Bad Boys of Dance. They performed this summer at the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, near Washington, D.C. Terrence Jones is a top official with the arts center. He says Thomas is exciting to watch and has widespread appeal. He says his music and dancing bring a new and younger crowd to dance performances. Thomas was called a child prodigy. At the age of fourteen, he won a famous dance competition. Later, he added moves from modern dance, jazz, musical theater and even Michael Jackson. Thomas says he wanted to change ballet from an art form only for a selected few. He says he thought about having younger, fresher dancers and making the performances more fun. Rasta and his wife, also a former child prodigy, add playfulness and humor to their dances. Their shows are a big success with both young and old. Im Faith Lapidus.
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