Dancers on the set of Battle of the Year (by Elohim Carrau)
Move over, Step Up: There’s a new dance movie in town. Battle of the Year stars singer Chris Brown and features real b-boy crews from all over the world. Dance Spirit chatted with choreographer Dave Scott (who’s also worked on You Got Served and Step Up 2: The Streets) about the film, which hits theaters September 13.
What is Battle of the Year about?
Dave Scott: It’s based on a documentary from 2007 called Planet B-Boy, and we shot the majority of the footage at the actual Battle of the Year competition in France with crews from around the world.
What was it like working with b-boying newbie Chris Brown?
DS: The movement was hard for Chris, especially since we put together an all-star crew to represent America with dancers from a bunch of amazing crews. Everything dancers can do on their feet, these b-boyers can do upside down on their hands. Chris worked hard to earn the other dancers’ respect as a crew member. And he did more than just dance—he acted his butt off.
Do you think the movie will show viewers a new side of b-boying?
DS: B-boy battles are like the X Games of dance. Yes, b-boying is entertaining—you’ve seen it on commercials and in other films—but seeing the b-boy lifestyle makes you understand why the movements are so aggressive. I want viewers to really respect the style and see it as a sport. This isn’t something you can just get up off the couch and do.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.