Step Up 2.5

Dance battles establish street cred, turf and pride for a crew. But what happens when two groups can’t get face to face? The answer is simple—take it to the internet.


The smackdown between the M&M Cru and AC/DC is now an über-watched web phenomenon. But it started as friendly dance banter between pop star Miley Cyrus and Adam Sevani, who played Moose in Jon Chu’s Step Up 2: The Streets. As the repartee escalated, Adam and Jon decided to call out Miley to start the biggest online dance battle to date.


When Miley accepted the challenge, both sides called every dancer and celebrity they knew to ask them to be on their team. The dancers had a hard choice to make: fall in line with the M&M Cru, including Miley, her backup dancer and best friend Mandy Jiroux, director Cole Walliser and choreographer Teresa Espinosa. Or they could join AC/DC, the Adam Chu Dance Crew.


Once dancer rosters were established, Jon and Cole got cameras and went to work shooting their respective teams.


Since neither side had much help from producers or managers, the dancer-run skirmish gave performers the chance to be more involved backstage as they coordinated logistics and technical aspects.


“I think dancers are interested in doing more but they don’t know how,” says Cole. “It’s great to see them step into other roles.”


While the faux feud started as a joke, it captured enough attention to earn the two groups a live battle at the Teen Choice Awards on August 4.


“I think the main thing is having fun,” Teresa says. “Yes, it’s a battle, but we do it because we love to dance and be together.”


Catch it all at —Ariel White

(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to 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.

We also want you to get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.

Cover Model Search
Photo by Erin Baiano

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?

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Cover Story
Amblin Entertainment

Steven Spielberg's much-anticipated remake of West Side Storychoreographed by Justin Peck, and starring a bevy of very good dancers—is in production, hooray! And that means it's finally time for us to get a look at the film's cast members in character. Let's break down the first photo from the project.

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