This month, Nickelodeon premieres its first-ever movie musical, Spectacular! With an all-star cast of triple threats led by choreographer RJ Durell, this flick is sure to be a small-screen hit. We gave RJ a call to get the full Spectacular! scoop. —Alison Feller
Dance Spirit: What can viewers expect from the movie?
RJ Durell: The whole movie is jam-packed with music and dance. It’s a really uplifting story. It’s also all performance-based. We had 15 rehearsal days to put together 12 musical numbers for the movie, so our plates were very full.
DS: What are your favorite scenes?
RJD: “Something to Believe In” is a showstopper! I also really like “Lonely Love Song.” The dancing brings out thecharacters’ personalities. It’s really fun.
DS: You’ve worked with so many people in the entertainment industry. Who’s been your favorite?
RJD: Madonna! When I was 15, I stayed up late one night to watch The Girlie Show on HBO. I watched the whole concert and remember thinking to myself that if you dance with Madonna, you’ve made it. A few years later, I choreographed her Confessions tour and was like, “Wow, I made it!” That was a big milestone for me. She’s so driven, focused, intelligent and inspiring. She always goes full-out, and so do I. That’s how you get the best results.
DS: What’s next for you?
RJD: I’m choreographing and directing Keyshia Cole’s tour. Her new album is really hot! Then I’ll be going to Russia to do some video choreography. I really like being able to direct and choreograph. No one knows how to capture choreography on film like the choreographer. You need to have that creative mind. I love doing music videos and movie musicals, like Spectacular!
DS: What is your advice to dancers looking to be cast in movie musicals?
RJD: Be prepared. Take as many dance and acting classes as possible. In a movie, you’re not only performing a routine, you’re also part of the environment and story. Even if you don’t have lines, you have to carry the scene with the actors. When you’re auditioning, enjoy yourself. The people who look like they’re having fun are the ones I want to work with and hire.