“Step Up” and “So You Think You Can Dance” have more in common than showing off svelte bodies and ridiculous dance moves. The film and television franchises also have a new tradition of sharing talent, from choreographers to dancers to lead actors, many of whom (including Kathryn McCormick) are featured in the upcoming film “Step Up Revolution.”
The camaraderie started back in 2007, when “Step Up” producer and “So You Think You Can Dance” guest judge Adam Shankman noticed something missing in the dance competition: “I guess it was my second season on the show, I said, ‘The thing that’s weird is the dancers don’t get a record deal or any kind of employment out of it,’ ” he recalled.
In an effort to ante up the prize, Shankman added a featured dance role in his next “Step Up” film to the winner of the show. As a result, Joshua Allen made his film debut in “Step Up 3D” and started a “sequence of employment” that Shankman is very proud of.
The crossover between the franchises makes sense on many levels: They both require grueling schedules from their talent, a wide array of dance ability, performance skills and comfort in front of the camera. “SYTYCD” alum Kathryn McCormick certainly felt more at ease on the “Step Up Revolution” film set after her time on the show.
“Finding a comfortability around cameras through the process of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ as a contestant into an all-star, I think that prepared me for this, where the 3-D cameras are right here,” she shared. “There’s no personal space, and it’s all in your business. So that, on top of storytelling through the different characters I had to portray, I think it really trained me.”
But let it be known, McCormick didn’t earn her spot as leading lady just because of her time on “SYTYCD.” Director Scott Speer tells MTV News, “She came in, had the chemistry with Ryan [Guzman] — they fell for each other. It was awkward for the rest of us, but beautiful for them, and we just said, ‘Great.’ They claimed those roles for themselves.”
Shankman calls this process of scooping talent “organic,” saying, “It’s just like on the show: The ones that are stars reveal themselves.”
“So You Think You Can Dance” alumni starring in “Step Up Revolution” include:
Contemporary dancer McCormick was a season six finalist, returning in season seven as an all-star. She will take on the lead role of Emily in the film, alongside Ryan Guzman.
Stephen “tWitch” Boss
Hip-hopper “tWitch” was a favorite as a season four finalist, also returning in season seven as an all-star. You can catch him as Jason in “Step Up Revolution.”
Contemporary-dance guru Mia Michaels has been a judge through most of the nine seasons of “SYTYCD,” winning an Emmy for her work. Instead of giving direction for “Step Up,” Michaels will be seen on-camera as Olivia.
The season two semi-finalist turned show choreographer has been one of the show’s absolute standouts. The up-and-coming contemporary-dance genius will reprise his role as choreographer for the film.
Phillip Assaad Chbeeb
Pop-and-locker Chbeeb riled up crowds as a contestant in season five. He is part of the ensemble dance cast, a.k.a. “the mob,” in “Step Up Revolution.”
Jamal Sims and Christopher Scott
Hip-hop choreographers Sims and Scott will continue their work with “Step Up” in the same capacity.
As these stars prepare to shine in “Step Up Revolution,” coming Friday, new stars continue to be born on “So You Think You Can Dance.” Its season nine search for America’s favorite female and favorite male dancer continues Wednesday night (July 25) at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.