Hey guys, it's your resident hip-hopaholic here, ready to provide your #FridayVideoFix.
You all know I have my favorites—those choreographers I YouTube on the regs to scan for recent releases. I just can't resist a new choreo video by Kyle Hanagami, Keone and Mari Madrid or Marquese Scott, to name a few.
But this week, there's a new hip-hopper on my radar, and OMG he is so, so talented. Jake Kodish actually isn't new to the hip-hop scene: His performance credits include the Houghs' Move Live on Tour, Step Up: Revolution and Disney's "Shake It Up." Yesterday, he released a solo video repin' his hometown—Miami, FL—that blew my mind. Here's the thing: Kodish isn't a small dude (he reminds me a little bit of fellow statuesque hip-hopper Willdabeast), yet he moves those long limbs so. freakin'. fast. See for yourself:
Jake Kodish, Ima go ahead and put you on my (YouTube) watch list. Happy Friday!
October 31 is only four days away! But don't freak out if you haven't chosen a costume yet. DS has got you covered. Here are some dance-y costume ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
1. The cast of "Glee"! The show is coming to an end soon, so don't miss this chance to portray ditzy Cheerio Britney S. Pierce or preppy Rachel Berry. (Photo courtesy FOX)
2. Flash back to the 80s for a "Flashdance: The Musical"-inspired look. Only dancers can look this good in head-to-toe spandex. (Photo of Jakob Karr by DRGphotography)
3. Newsies. Seize the day in a plaid shirt, suspenders and newsboy cap. Add a rolled-up newspaper to complete the look. (Photo by Deen Van Meer)
4. The Abby Lee Dance Company. Looking the part of this "Dance Moms" crew only requires your favorite matching Jo+Jax shorts and top. Cold in those tiny outfits? Throw on a hot pink sweatsuit. (Photo by Scott Gries)
5. The many looks of Beyoncé. Because who didn't watch Baddy Bey's Pepsi commercial over and over on repeat?
6. The Bellas from Pitch Perfect. Get all done up in an up-do and scarf. Then get your girlfriends together to rehearse your harmony and synchronized moves.
7. "Revolting Children" from Matilda the Musical. Create your uniform with a grey blazer and sweater vest. Don't forget to practice your British accent! (Photo by Joan Marcus)
8. The Mob from Step Up Revolution. A classic black suit + killer dance moves = best group Halloween costume idea ever.
9. The next generation of hip hop! Channel our November cover stars in harem pants and a ton of accessories. (Photos of Emily Hoffman, Simrin Player, Taylor Knight and Jordyn Jones by Erin Baiano)
10. What does the fox say? Ring-ding-ding-ding dingeringeding.
Have you guys seen the cast list for Step Up 5?
We heard a little while ago that the latest installment of the series would bring back some of our old Step Up friends. We didn't know it would involve quite this many.
Two days ago Summit Entertainment announced that the film would star Ryan Guzman (Step Up Revolution) as Sean and Briana Evigan (Step Up 2: The Streets) as Andie. Good start. But then they kept going.
I'm just going to list out the rest of the cast, because really, they need no introductions:
Moose: Adam Sevani (Step Up 2 The Streets, Step Up 3D, Step Up Revolution)
Eddy: Misha Gabriel (Step Up Revolution)
Camille: Alyson Stoner (Step Up, Step Up 3D)
Jason: Stephen 'tWitch' Boss (Step Up 3D, Step Up Revolution)
Jenny Kido: Mari Koda (Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3D, Step Up Revolution)
Hair: Chris Scott (Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3D)
Monster: Luis Rosado (Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3D)
Vladd aka Robot Guy: Chadd Smith (Step Up 3D, Step Up Revolution)
The Santiago Twins: Martin Lombard & Facundo Lombard (Step Up 3D)
Marc 'Marvelous' Inniss (Step Up Revolution)
Nolan Padilla (Step Up Revolution)
Phillip Chbeeb (Step Up Revolution)
Bianca Brewton (Step Up Revolution)
Tony Bellissimo (Step Up 3D, Step Up Revolution)
Josue 'Beastmode' Figueroa (Step Up 3D, Step Up Revolution)
Brandy Lamkim (Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up Revolution)
How will all of these characters be woven into one coherent plot, you ask? We have no idea. But we also kind of don't care. Because how can this massive gathering of awesome not generate more awesome? (And really, can you describe any of the plots of the last four Step Up movies right now? Didn't think so.)
Shooting for the film begins September 19. Obviously, we'll keep you in the loop!
Surely by now you've gotten your hands on the November issue of Dance Spirit featuring Step Up Revolution's leading lady, Kathryn McCormick.
(If you didn't see Step Up Revolution, by the way, you absolutely must. The dancing is insane!)
The DS team shot Kathryn back in March in L.A.—the same day we shot the cover for tWitch and Allison's September issue! We'd just finished a full day and a half of shooting and we were all exhausted.
But then Kathryn arrived—right on time, of course.
And suddenly, no one was really tired anymore.
Kathryn radiates energy and positivity, and I absolutely adore that in a dancer. She was so excited to be at the shoot and had such a kind, genuine personality. She was down-to-earth, happy and, as you can see, totally gorgeous.
If you're like me and can't get enough of Kathryn, check out this behind-the-scenes video from our photo shoot. You can also read Kathryn's full cover story here.
I love this issue—probably because I think Kathryn's layout on the cover is pretty killer! (No, I haven't been practicing this move at home in front of the mirror...why would you think that?) But of course, it's your opinion that really matters! Click here to let us know what you think of the issue!
Photography by Joe Toreno
Kathryn McCormick’s dance life seems pretty fairytale-esque: The 22-year-old native of Augusta, GA, was the top girl on “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 6, which earned her a gig on the Academy Awards. She later nabbed a recurring All-Star role on “SYTYCD,” and this past summer she made her big-screen debut as the leading lady in Step Up Revolution.
But despite the eventual successes, the beginning of McCormick’s life in L.A. was anything but a dream. Her first gig on the movie Fame turned out to be a bust, and it took a series of failed auditions before she finally won the hearts of the judges on “SYTYCD.” Still, she refused to give up on her dance dreams—and she told us why in this exclusive Q&A.
How did you get started dancing?
Kathryn McCormick: I started before I was even born—my mom danced while she was pregnant with me! A few years later, she opened a dance studio, The Dance Connection, in Georgia, and I started taking lessons there when I was three. Later, my mom closed the studio, so I switched to the studio she grew up at, Augusta West.
Eventually I got into competitions and conventions. I remember taking class from [Step Up Revolution co-star] Misha Gabriel and thinking, “He’s so hot!” After graduation, I traveled as a Tremaine Dance Convention apprentice.
At what point did you decide you wanted to make dance a career?
KM: When I turned 18 I didn’t even know if I was capable of dancing professionally because I didn’t know anyone who’d done it. I decided not to go to college, which was hard. But I didn’t want to waste that time when I could be pursuing something I really wanted to do. It was a leap of faith, but I wanted to dance.
How did your parents feel about your decision?
KM: They were supportive. My mom had wanted to dance professionally but didn’t because she had kids so young. My dad had gotten close to becoming a pro golfer, but he had to support our family, so he went into the cable industry. My parents wanted me to pursue my dreams since they didn’t get to pursue theirs.
What did you do to get closer to your dream?
KM: I decided to train at a ballet school and teach at my studio to save money to get to L.A. I knew my technique wasn’t strong enough—there was so much I didn’t know about my body that I needed from ballet. I was the oddball in class with a ponytail and tan tights.
When did you get your big break?
KM: Keith Clifton, a choreographer I’d met doing competitions, offered to recommend me to his dance agency, McDonald/Selznick Associates in L.A. I didn’t even know what a dance agent was!
I met with them and they gave me a contract right away. I didn’t realize it was going to be the beginning of something huge. Two weeks later, I got an audition for Fame.
Very appropriate! Did you book it?
KM: I booked a gig as one of 30 featured dancers, which meant I had to move to L.A. for four months. My first week in L.A., I found out they’d cast too many dancers, and I was only going to have one day of work. I hung up the phone so discouraged. I had no friends, no car and no reason for being there.
How did you deal with that disappointment?
KM: I started riding the bus to EDGE Performing Arts Center every day, taking as many classes as I could in hip hop and other styles in which I didn’t have much experience. But I didn’t book any jobs for six months, so I did extra work on movies like Couples Retreat while my family continued to help me financially.
Perseverance seems to be a recurring theme in your dance journey—you auditioned for “SYTYCD” three times before you made it.
KM: The first time, I went with a group to audition for Season 5 just for fun. When I got in front of the executive producers, I was a mess. I got cut right away. Then my mom invited me to join her on a trip to Denver, adding, “By the way, ‘SYTYCD’ is having an audition while we’re there. You should try again.” This time, I got further and danced for the judges. When I got cut, I never thought I’d audition again.
What changed your mind?
KM: A few months later, my mom convinced me to audition for Season 6. When I got on the floor, the music kept messing up. I remember standing on my mark and getting so anxious. I told myself, “Don’t do this. Get out of your head.” I said a prayer, and when I opened my eyes, the music came on. After I danced, the producer said, “We want to see more of that!”
You made the show and got paired with Jonathan “Legacy” Perez. What was your reaction?
KM: My first thought was, “Oh no, he’s a B-boy. We’re so different.” But I couldn’t have asked for a greater partner. He changed me as a performer. I used to be so technical—
I didn’t like to freestyle. Legacy taught me to let the moment take over. He’d do things like throw his keys at me to try to get me to react spontaneously. He’d say, “I’m going to press play and you’re going to dance.” I was so uncomfortable. Finally, when I let myself go and freestyled, he was in tears. He showed me how to trust myself.
And then you came back to rock it as an All-Star.
KM: I didn’t expect to be the last Season 6 girl standing. After the show, I auditioned for Burlesque and was cut right away, which was humbling. So when “SYTYCD” asked me to be an All-Star, that blew my mind.
How does being an All-Star differ from competing?
KM: People think you must not be nervous anymore. Not true! As an All-Star, the pressure’s on: You have to be confident to support your partner. It’s about learning to be selfless in your dancing, which is a different mindset, but it’s just as challenging.
When did you get word of the Step Up Revolution role?
KM: In July 2011 my agent said they wanted me to audition for the role of Emily. I went in and hit it off with the casting director, and then I met with the director and producers. It’s a different energy than a dance audition—all eyes are on you in this tiny shoebox. I left feeling like I didn’t get the part, but ended up getting a callback where I had to pair up with the male lead, Ryan Guzman.
What was the final audition like?
KM: There were just two chairs and some cameras, and we had to do a scene while they shot different angles and tested our chemistry. Before Ryan and I went in, I was shaking, but once we got inside, everything clicked. We had a moment, and I felt so connected to Ryan and so comfortable.
How did you find out you got the part?
KM: Two days later, I got a call from [director] Scott Speer, Adam Shankman and Jen Gibgot on three-way. Scott was like, “Hey, I wanted to thank you for coming out. We appreciated your time. I’m sorry, but…you got the role of Emily!” He tricked me and I was speechless.
I freaked out. Auditioning alone was conquering a fear—I never even thought about actually getting the part.
KM: Two days after I found out, I texted Scott asking, “What do I do now?” I thought you had to memorize the whole script right away! He told me to eat healthy and get in the best shape possible. I thought, “That’s it?” But when he said the 3-D could be unforgiving, I put on my running shoes and ran around the block!
What were rehearsals like?
KM: The first month was dance training, from 9 to 5 every day. The mob would be in a room with Ryan, then Ryan would run over and do a duet with me, and then I’d go back and learn mob choreography. It was crazy having so much time to learn something. It allowed me to dive into the character more.
Which scene was the most real for you?
KM: When Emily is doing her final audition and it’s supposed to be a duet but winds up being a solo. Emily’s not always 100 percent in her dancing, so I had to let myself wobble or fall, which was hard with my perfectionist mentality. [Choreographer] Travis Wall would say, “No, that’s too spot-on. You have to mess up.” I needed to have that insecurity because that’s how Emily was feeling.
What was it like seeing yourself on the big screen?
KM: The first time I saw the movie I was with Ryan, Misha and Scott. My heart was pounding. I didn’t let myself be critical—I was just like, “I’m going to enjoy this.”
Is acting part of your career plan now?
KM: The film definitely pushed me in a new direction. I’m dancing and taking acting classes and trying to do it all. Along with being a “SYTYCD” All-Star again, I just did a music video for a group called Vienne to bring awareness to human trafficking, and I have a few more projects in the works. I’m trying to train so I’ll be ready for whatever comes next.
KATHRYN'S CO-STARS DISH
Stacey Tookey (“SYTYCD” choreographer and friend): “Kathryn is always at the top of my list when I’m looking for a dancer or assistant. She’s completely invested in whatever she’s doing—a quality I don’t often find in young dancers. She’s the perfect mix of passion, talent and beautiful spirit—you could say
she’s my muse.”
Jonathan “Legacy” Perez (“SYTYCD” partner): “We carried each other into the Top 10—as soon as I saw she was my partner, I was like, ‘Let’s go all the way.’ She looks ahead and doesn’t let anything discourage her.”
Misha Gabriel (Step Up Revolution co-star): “I was completely inspired by Kathryn’s work ethic on set. She pushed everyone around her to become better. Even though her technique is exquisite, Kathryn works at it like she doesn’t have it yet. Watching her dance in the film is mind-blowing.”
As we've discussed, the DS crew was lucky enough to get into a screening of Step Up Revolution last night (huge thank-you to Broadway Dance Center for the tickets!). And oh my gosh, you guys: It's amazing. We laughed, we screamed, we almost peed our pants multiple times. Here are just five of the many reasons you should get your bums to the theater this Friday:
1. tWitch! Mr. Boss is THE BOSS in this movie. Seriously, I think he was the highlight of the film for me. His dancing is fantastic, of course, but it's more that every time he appears onscreen you want to giggle and pinch his adorable cheeks.
2. There are more famous faces everywhere. Kathryn McCormick and Misha Gabriel and Mia Michaels (and tWitch, of course) have big old speaking parts, but you knew that already. What you might not have known is that you'll also see Phillip Chbeeb, Madd Chadd, Brandon Bryant, Chris Scott, Billy Bell and many more of the dance world's finest scattered throughout the film.
3. Peter Gallagher is typecast, in the best way possible. Are you making a dance movie? Do you need a slightly sinister, but ultimately sympathetic, authority figure to say things like, "Dance may not be the career for you"? Bring in Mr. Gallagher, aka Jonathan from Center Stage, who plays Kathryn's money-hungry, anti-dance dad in Step Up Revolution. (As usual, his eyebrows are mesmerizing.)
4. The acting is stellar. Just kidding! But let's be honest: You're not going to this movie for the acting. It doesn't matter that nobody in the cast is going to win an Oscar, because the dancing is just. that. good. Which leads us to...
5. THE DANCING. It's pretty spectacular. The "Mob" concept translates to big groups of fabulous dancers doing awesome things in unconventional locations—things which at various points involve trampolines, elaborate body paint, harnesses, hydraulic cars, glow-in-the-dark costumes, and dollar bills falling from the sky. YES.
Step Up Revolution opens this Friday, the 27th!
Today is one of those days when I'm especially in love with my job: It got me tickets to a screening of Step Up Revolution tonight. YAY!
Tune in tomorrow for a few choice sneak-peeky tidbits about the latest Step Up amazingness. But in preparation for tonight, I thought I'd round up some highlights from the first three Step Up films. Memories!
1. Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan's club scene from Step Up. Reality factor? Not so high. (When was the last time you went out dancing and everyone on the floor was doing the same choreographed number?) But the chemistry between the future husband-and-wife duo in this scene is off the charts, and Mr. Tatum's moves are darn cute.
2. The final dance scene from Step Up 2: The Streets. Three words: Just. Add. Water.
3. The first battle (Red Hook) from Step Up 3D. Not that the first two movies weren't awesome, but they really, really stepped up (har!) the level of dancing—and the caliber of dancers involved—in the third installment. Exhibit A:
4. The World Jam finals from Step Up 3D...also known as Exhibit B. The light-up suits—and baby breakdancers!—get me every time. (Sorry about the poor quality.)
Last night on "So You Think You Can Dance," the Top 20 became the Top 16. The six dancers who received the lowest votes "from America" were Janaya, Alexa, Witney, Nick, Daniel and Chehon. The judges chose to save Witney and Chehon from elimination, and so we said goodbye to the other four. Major bummer. What happened, Alexa?
But the show wasn't a total sadness-fest. There was a bathtub! There was a "big sexy tomato." (Adam Shankman's words) named Cat Deeley, looking ravishing in bright red. ("Take a bite, why don't you," Cat quipped back at Mr. Shankman.) And best of all, there was a preview performance from the dancers of the upcoming Step Up Revolution, which opens in theaters July 27 and is guaranteed to be awesome.
Oh and if you think Kathryn McCormick, the film's leading lady, is super hot (which she is—this is not a debate), get excited for the November issue of DS. And if you think tWitch is the hottest male dancer of all time (also not a debate), you're in luck even sooner: He just may be all over our September issue.
On with the Top 5 Moments from last night's episode of "SYTYCD!"
1. The awesome Marilyn Manson opening number featuring the entire Top 20. The sequined outfits the dudes were wearing? The red-hot ladies with their crazy headpieces? Oh Nappytabs, you've done it again. It was sort of Afro Jazz meets hip hop meets Thriller and I totally dug it. Also, there were fog machines. You simply cannot go wrong with fog machines. Plus, I appreciated that all the dancers really blended. I wasn't focused on one dancer the entire time, even though Cyrus was kind of the routine's front-man. They all worked really well together.
2. Amber's arms. Oh, she did a tango last night? Cool. I barely noticed. For all I know the girl could've been wearing tap shoes and shuffilng up a storm. I could not take my eyes of her killer, oh-so-defined upper body. She's awesomely ripped and I want to be just like her. But yeah, she did do a tango, and it was pretty great. My ballroom expertise (that's a slight exaggeration) tells me that she nailed the quick, fancy footwork and her upper body was nicely pulled up and controlled. Well done, former DS cover girl.
3. Amelia and Will's Sonya Tayeh routine. While I always love Sonya's choreography, this routine was interestingly un-Sonya. I appreciated that Amelia quite literally threw herself into every single move, and Will seems like a fantastic I-will-always-be-there-to-
4. Audrey and Matthew, are you serious? These two are dynamite! Between last week's Titanic routine and this week's Sonya Tayeh number, they've solidly established themselves as two dancers to beat. This week, Audrey managed to be fantastically fierce, despite her sweet little braid and rhinestone-bedazzled bra. And Matthew, rocking the guyliner, has mastered the art of partner eye contact. These two rocked it last night. Dare I say they're my favorites at this point in the competition?
5. Tiffany's lilac-colored Foxtrot costume. It was so sparkly and gorgeous. I could not take my eyes off this dress! I'm not normally one to rave about the ballroom routines on "SYTYCD," but I thought The Tiffster and George did a pretty swell job with this one. But also, the dress. Where can I get it? It's very versatile, and I would be able to wear it out dancing, and to work, and at dinner parties and running in Central Park. I would never take it off.
The "So You Think You Can Whaaat?!" Moment of the Night:
Adam Shankman, I respect you and I enjoy the way you manage to layer so many tops each night (a shirt, a vest, a tie, a cardigan, a blazer, another vest, a sequined brooch...it all just keeps layering)—but please reel it in with the tears and the overly-dramatic statements. Every routine makes this guy cry. Every dancer seems to get a standing ovation. When he told Amelia her lines were "perfect" I was semi-baffled. Yeah, she's great, but from what I saw she needs to work a little harder to get those legs fully extended and those feet fully pointed. So to call her perfect? Seems a little over-reaching, Adam. Not every routine has to be OMG-the-best-thing-ever, and not ever dancer is the most incredible one you've ever seen onstage. Just keep it real, OK?
Congratulations to the Top 16! We're psyched to see what you have in store for us next week. Until then, what'd you think of last night's episode? Did you like having all the good stuff crammed into one show? Are you wicked pumped to see Step Up Revolution next week (the answer is yes)? And do you think America and the judges got it right by eliminating Alexa, Daniel, Janaya and Nick? Tell us in the comments!