Share This Page

New 'Step Up' in an era where dancers move into foreground

| Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

In the original “Step Up,” the 2006 dirty-dancing dynamo that launched a franchise now spanning five films, Channing Tatum's character, a troublemaker with a sense of rhythm, does what comes naturally to him. Spinning and leaping and stepping are no big deal.

“Y'all are talking about dancing like it's rocket science or something,” the buff bad boy he plays says in the film.

In fact, it's nothing like it, says Stephen “tWtich” Boss, a professional hoofer who's performed in the past three “Step Up” films, including the one opening Aug. 8, “Step Up: All In.” It's like the “Fast & Furious” movie behemoth, only instead of fast cars, you have ripped bods and booming beats.

This new film, in particular, deals with some of the realities facing pro dancers: the brutal impact on your body, the relentless rejection and the struggle to make rent on pathetic paychecks. For Boss, who's based in Los Angeles, the biggest challenge has been “keeping the resilience of a dream alive. It takes years and years and years. JLo is our poster child. That's how you do it. She was a Fly Girl back in the '90s. You can get a great gig, but you have to continue to work.”

So, one has to ask Boss whether anyone, and we do mean anyone, could step up without falling down — literally or otherwise. The dancer from Montgomery, Ala., has been doing it since he was 16, and now is a regular on Fox's “So You Think You Can Dance,” as well as one of Ellen DeGeneres' guest DJs. And he's married to fellow “SYTYCD” vet Allison Holker.

“Anyone can learn how to dance. Anyone can learn choreography. ... It's just defining the idea of what you're learning,” he says. “The smallest child, when they hear music, they bounce around. Everyone has it in them to dance. It's just practice.”

Boss feels that now, he and his fellow artists are getting their due respect. “But we have a long way to go. Dance has always been the bottom of the totem pole. Dancers used to get paid as extras in music videos. It's just recently that dancers get paid as featured talent. You want to get paid and be able to live,” he says.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.