Sofia Wylie (center) in "Shook" (Tony Rivetti, courtesy Disney)

Sofia Wylie on the Power of Representation in Her Dancetastic New Disney Series, "Shook"

Eagerly awaiting "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series"? In the meantime, you'll want to check out "Shook," Disney's dance-filled short-form series that's guaranteed to leave you...well...shook! The show—which just premiered on the Disney Channel's YouTube page—features fabulous dancer-actress Sofia Wylie, whom you may recognize from "Andi Mack." (Sofia will also be starring in the new "High School Musical" show, which launches on Disney+ November 12.)

In "Shook," Wylie plays Mia, a teenager with dreams of being the next Beyoncé—or Misty Copeland. But Mia has to balance chasing her passion for dance with her family obligations, as she cares for her younger sister and helps out her single mom. Through street dance and hip hop, Mia learns about herself and the art of self expression. The series is remarkable for the diversity of its cast, which reflects the reality of many young dancers and artists.

We spoke with Wylie about why "Shook" is sure to resonate with dancers, and what she hopes audiences will take away from the series.


After reading the script, why did you want to be part of this show?

I was really interested in the role and the show overall because of the way it uses dance, but also because of how different it is for Disney. It looks fresh and new, and the diversity of the show is a big part of that. Growing up, I never really got to see myself represented onscreen. Being able to show different types of families is very inspiring.

How do you relate to your character, Mia?

Mia is similar to the younger me in that she's trying to figure out who she wants to be. There was a time where I wasn't sure if I could really make it, but dancing and acting and singing helped me grow, and become more confident in myself. I think Mia is at the beginning of that journey I took—she still has a lot of doubt and fear about what she's meant to do, and doesn't know if taking that risk to be a dancer is worth it.

Wylie on the set of "Shook" (Tony Rivetti, courtesy Disney)

What was it like to work with the show's choreographer, Alexis Beauregard?

Alexis is incredible. She's not only a great choreographer, but also such a fun person to be around! She has made rehearsals that much better.

What do you hope audiences take away from the series?

The show's storylines and characters and relationships are so grounded and realistic, and I hope that makes viewers feel empowered. I want them to see themselves onscreen, and also see what they can do and accomplish.

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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi, dance friends. It is a strange time to be a person in the world, and an especially strange time to be a dancer. As the dance community faces the coronavirus crisis, a lot of you are coping with closed studios, canceled performances and competitions, and a general sense of anxiety about how your world will look going forward.

Yes, dancers are super resilient, and there's been a lot of inspiring community-building happening. #LivingRoomDances and Instagram dance parties and virtual ballet classes with the pros are wonderful. Dance can, and should, be a bright spot in the darkness. But that weird, empty feeling you have? It might be grief. The loss of the certainty of daily class, the loss of the promise of that big end-of-year performance—that's real. The dance studio has always been a safe place; it's especially hard not to have that outlet now, when you need it most.

We're here for you. We—and our friends at Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Teacher, The Dance Edit, and Dance Business Weekly—are doing our best to document the hurdles facing the dance industry, and to advocate for dancers in need. We're developing more online content that will help you maintain and improve your technique while you're at home, and process the mental and emotional fallout of all this upheaval. (You can keep up with the latest stories here.) And we're still making our print magazine. We have issues planned and shot, full of great dance stories and beautiful photos. We're not going anywhere.

We want to hear from you. Talk to us. Or dance to us. Or both. We won't stop moving, and you shouldn't, either.

Margaret

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