On the Set of Step Up: All In

Where would Step Up’s MSA crew be without the lovably hilarious Jenny Kido? Since co-starring in Step Up 2: The Streets in 2008, Mari Koda (the real-life Kido) has appeared in each Step Up installment, most recently coming to the crew’s rescue in this summer’s Step Up: All In. Koda, a Rock Steady Crew member who moved from her home in Japan to the U.S. after high school, has toured with World of Dance and travels internationally to lead master classes and workshops. DS spoke with Koda to get the inside scoop on the fifth Step Up—including that beyond-fabulous finale featuring fire dancers, roller skaters and chandelier stunts—and her scariest moment during filming.

(Photo by Hudon Taylor)

Dance Spirit: Who were you closest with while filming?

Mari Koda: Briana Evigan and I have been working together since 2007, and we’re always hanging out. Even when we’re not filming, we’ll hang. I call her whenever I’m in L.A., and she calls me when she comes to NYC. It was also awesome to meet and work with b-boy Kid david from California and Parris Goebel from ReQuest Dance Crew in Australia. Parris and I spent a lot of time together—I was really happy to hear she had an accent, too!

DS: What was it like to film the final dance number?

MK: It was pretty emotional, actually! It’s the best part of the movie, and each crew just looks amazing. But when we were filming in Vancouver, I got hit by a car. I don’t remember exactly what happened—I passed out and was taken to an emergency room. Luckily, I didn’t break any bones; I was just badly bruised. The other dancers were so supportive and stayed with me in the hospital. I was in a lot of pain, but I was there to do a movie, and nothing was going to stop me! I wasn’t able to rehearse much, and I learned my part on set. When we watched the scene after filming it, we were all crying.

DS: What do you love most about Jenny Kido?

MK: She always wants to help her friends, no matter what. If Moose or Andie ever need help, she’ll be there—she’s gone from Baltimore to New York to Miami, and now she’s in L.A. She’ll always show up. I just wish she would fall in love! She hasn’t had a romance in any of the films. Maybe in Step Up 6. I’ll wait for it.

Who We’re Watching this Fall

Move over, “Dance Moms”! “The Road to Nationals,” a new web series that goes behind the closed doors of real dance studio rehearsals, premieres this fall. Follow four gifted dancers from North Carolina studio CC & Co. Dance Complex as they prepare for—and attend—Nationals. You’ll see senior dancers Jake Tribus and Sarah Pippin (a 2014 Cover Model Search finalist!) master their solos for New York City Dance Alliance Nationals in NYC, and watch junior powerhouses Alexa Robertson and Tori Kent kill it at The PULSE On Tour’s Summer NYC finale event. Catch the full series at dancespirit.com/.

Latest Posts

Because there's never been a better time to binge-watch "Bunheads" (via Freeform)

5 of the Danciest TV Shows Streaming Right Now (and Where to Stream Them)

We're about two months into #SocialDisDancing, and let's be real—while we all wish we were spending every spare minute stretching, cross-training, or taking online classes, sometimes we just need to Netflix and chill.

We figure, if you're going to be watching TV anyways, why not make it dancy TV? After all, watching pros dance on-screen is basically dance class homework...or at least we'll say it is. Here are five of the danciest TV shows for you to watch—and where to find them.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
The cast of Center Stage in a promotional poster (courtesy Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

The Making of "Center Stage," as Remembered by Its Dance Stars

Whether you first watched it in a theater two decades ago or on Netflix last week, odds are you feel a deep connection to Center Stage. The cult classic, which premiered May 12, 2000, is arguably the greatest dance film ever made. (Dance obsessives might take issue with the "cult" before "classic," not to mention the "dance" before "film.") Jody Sawyer's ballet journey—which combines oh-wow-I've-had-those-blisters realism with wait-does-she-have-magic-color-changing-pointe-shoes fantasy—stands the test of time, early-aughts fashion be darned. We've memorized its highly quotable lines, laughed with (and, gently, at) its heroes, and been inspired by its sincere love of dance and dancers.

To celebrate Center Stage's 20th anniversary, we asked five of its dance stars to talk through their memories of the filming process. Here are their stories of on-set bonding, post-puke kissing scenes, and life imitating art imitating life.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

2020 Dance Grads: We Want to Put You on Our Cover!

Hello, all you members of the great Dance Class of 2020. With the world on lockdown, this hasn't been the graduation season you expected. You likely weren't able to go to prom; your commencement ceremonies have probably been delayed or canceled; and you might not have been able to take your planned-for final bow onstage.

Since you're missing out on so much, we'd like to give you a virtual ovation, to recognize all you've accomplished. And what's the highest honor we can bestow? The cover of Dance Spirit!

Here's the plan:

  • If you're a high school or college senior dancer, use this form to submit your information and dance portrait.
  • Each day during the month of May, we'll create a digital Dance Spirit cover starring one of you, chosen at random—31 covers in total.
  • At the end of the month, we'll create a "commencement video" featuring even more of your submitted dance photos.
  • 100 of you, selected by lottery, will also receive free one-year subscriptions to the print magazine.

Merde, 2020 graduates, as you dance your way into the future!

High School and College Senior Dancers: Submit Your Photo Here

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search