Sometimes, you hear talk about an upcoming class video and it sounds too good to be real. Wait: Todrick Hall made a track featuring RuPaul, and then Todrick personally asked Brian Friedman to choreograph it, and then Brian got Maddie and Charlize and Jade and Kaycee and Sean and Gabe and Larsen and Bailey to come out for the class? I just...that can't be right. Can it?
It is right, friends. It is SO RIGHT.
Brian Friedman is not only a legend in his own right—he's also worked beside the biggest legends in the business. Growing up a Scottsdale, AZ, comp kid, Friedman was soon dancing behind Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, and Paula Abdul, and as an OG Newsie in the 1992 film. Now he calls the shots: He's choreographed and been creative director for icons like Britney, Cher, Beyoncé, and Mariah. Nominated for five MTV VMAs, two Music Video Production Association Awards, and four American Choreography Awards, Friedman's won an Industry Voice Award for best choreography, and a World of Dance award. Dance Spirit talked to Friedman to find out what inspires him. —Helen Rolfe
The coolest place she's ever performed:
I'd have to say the Super Bowl. The field was so cool, and Katy Perry was right there. And there were so many eyes—definitely the most eyes I've ever performed for!
Something she's constantly working on:
My feet. I'm flat-footed, so I'm always hearing, 'Point your toes!' And I'm like, 'I am!'
My hair! That, and a pair of leggings with a T-shirt or tank top.
What happens when legend Brian Friedman teaches at WilldaBeast and Janelle Ginestra's fabulous IMMA SPACE? A merging of the B Free and ImmaBEAST tribes that includes a mind-boggling number of A-list Hollywood dancers. Ryan Parma was there to capture the whole thing on film, and the result is basically the class video to end all class videos.
This studded crop-top designed by Brian Friedman for Discount Dance Supply is sweet, sassy and everything in between. Rock it in class or at an audition—you're guaranteed to stand out. Be sure to "Like" Dance Spirit on Facebook, and enter below!
How crazy has the rise of the class video been? Within the past year or so, we've basically come to expect that L.A.'s top commercial choreographers will put out a new internet-breaking vid every week. Here are five of our all-time favorites. (And be sure to read a whole lot more about the class video trend in the May/June issue of Dance Spirit.)
One of the best things about "So You Think You Can Dance" is that it's become a launching pad not only for dancers, but also for choreographers. In fact, I'd argue that the best "STY" choreographers, returning season after season, have become the show's brightest-burning stars.
And Nigel Lythgoe knows it. Which is why he's teamed up with DanceOn to produce "Every Single Step," a new choreography-focused reality show premiering today on the go90 app. "ESS" follows 10 up-and-coming choreographers as they navigate fast-paced, themed challenges, "Project Runway"–style. (Oh, dance gods, PLEASE let there be an "unconventional materials" challenge. Choreographing for Roombas? Sourcing props from the "SYT" costume archives? SO MANY POSSIBILITIES.)
The show's Tim Gunn-ish mentor is none other than Brian Friedman. The star power doesn't end there, either: A new celebrity guest judge will arrive to evaluate the contestants each week. We'll hear words of wisdom from Mandy Moore, NappyTabs, Tessandra Chavez, Rich and Tone, Brooke Lipton, WilldaBeast, Miguel Zarate and Ian Eastwood, with Tricia Miranda and Kenny Ortega coming in to judge the grand finale. You'll spot some familiar faces among the contestants, too, including our friend Cat Cogliandro. And the grand prize? A cool 25,000 bucks.
Download the go90 app to watch the first episode of "Every Single Step" right now. Or, if you're one of those people who likes to savor a few appetizers before diving into the main course, start by watching these two yummy little teasers:
We are seriously, seriously 'shipping the epic best-friendship of Brian Friedman and Yanis Marshall, a match made in a heaven where everyone wears fabulous 5-inch stilettos at all times. And when the two of them team up to create a routine to the new Britney Spears song? I MEAN.
For their recent joint class at Millennium, Friedman and Marshall cooked up some spicy flamenco-tinged choreo that perfectly complements Britney's "Change Your Mind (No Seas Cortés)." Naturally, a veritable who's-who of L.A.'s all-star dance scene came out to slay it, including Kaelynn "KK" Harris, Noelle Marsh, Sloan-Taylor Rabinor, Mollee Gray, Madison Cubbage and 2016 Cover Model Search finalist Kerrynton Jones. And, thank the dance gods, Friedman and Marshall decided to kick off the class video themselves, showing the rest of the world what the dance embodiment of the fire emoji looks like. Just #goals for days.
Happy #MotivationMonday, friends: