Originally titled Step Up 4Ever, the creative team decided to rename the dance flick Step Up Revolution to better convey the evolution of the franchise. “[The fourth movie] definitely stands on its own,” explains McCormick, who stars in the film and was a finalist in season 6 of SYTYCD. “It is a blend of all the prior movies with a very impactful message. You will see a variety of dance styles including ones from the prior films and new movement that has not yet been captured in a movie.”
Those involved with the movie emphasize that this is more than a ‘boy meets girl’ film with some flashy dance sequences. “Step Up Revolution shows dance in a completely different light than the rest [of the Step Up movies],” says McCormick. “It’s using dance for a purpose–a community coming together using all of their talents whether it is dance, DJing, or graffiti art to make a statement. [It] is very inspirational and encourages any viewer to step into their talents with purpose, knowing they can make a difference in the world.”
The story revolves around Emily (McCormick), a young, talented dancer with aspirations to become a professional dancer. She moves to Miami where she meets Sean (Ryan Guzman), the leader of a local, innovative flash mob dance troupe called “The Mob.” Emily’s father, who is a wealthy businessman, wants to redevelop The Mob’s historic hood, threatening to displace locals. Taking a personal and professional risk, Emily goes against her father and teams up with Sean and his dancers. Together they use dance to publicly fight the destruction of the neighborhood.
The movie is packed with a variety of dancing, but, unlike the other Step Up movies, there is a large focus on organized flash mobs. Working with 60 plus dancers is no easy feat, especially in Miami heat. McCormick addresses some of the challenges in filming scenes with so many dancers and varying styles. “Every flash mob was completely different, from the style to the environment we were dancing in…Each…mob [felt like] a new experience.” She continues, “The finale [flash mob]…took the longest amount of time to film because of all the different styles that needed to be captured for the film to come full circle. It was extremely hot…which cause things to move a little slower when certain surfaces needed to be cooled down for our hands or feet, but have to say that week was one of the best in my opinion.”
Four different choreographers were brought together to capture all of the different styles: Travis Wall (SYTYCD), Christopher Scott (SYTYCD), Chuck Maldonado (X Factor, Stomp the Yard), and Jamal Sims (previous Step Up movies). McCormick has worked with most of the choreographers on So You Think You Can Dance prior to filming Step Up Revolution, giving her an idea of what was in store. But, this project, allowed McCormick to delve in deeper with each choreographer. “It was incredible to get to play such a huge part in their creation and get to know them…I loved the challenge of getting to work in every different style of dancing as well.”
Dancing for cameras
McCormick discusses the differences between a live performance and dancing on camera. “Dancing live you have one shot,” she says. “I think that’s one thing about live shows that make them so exciting and addicting…happens in that time on stage, with the excitement, adrenaline, and nerves, usually turns out to be magical.” But, when dancing for the camera, a performer will have many takes to perform; each take will be edited to form the final product, giving a dancer “more room to make different choices throughout the day.” McCormick explains that there is still the “pressure” to nail it every time, “but there is definitely more space to try different things.”
With multiple takes, it can become a challenge to stay warm and focused. “It’s hard when you are on set all day filming with all the breaks in between dancing.” But McCormick says that every dancer adopts a different on-set routine to keep the muscles loose and active and the mind motivated. “Normally, I’ll come in my sweats and jackets to stay covered and do a full body warm up (yoga based) in the morning before filming. Then continue to do simple stretches and strengthening exercises in between.”
What’s on the horizon
With her first feature film under her belt, McCormick is now looking towards the future; as a versatile dancer, she’s considering many different directions for her passion to perform. “I have stayed pretty busy the past few months with my hands dipped in a little bit of everything.” While “dance holds [her] heart,” she isn’t discounting other artistic outlets such as acting–she is currently studying acting at the Carter-Thor Studios in Studio City–and teaching. “It’s a new journey for me and I’m loving the process.”
Step Up Revolution will be released on DVD, which can be viewed in 3D at home, on Tuesday, November 27. Dd is giving away a copy of the DVD to one of our readers. To enter the giveaway, ‘Like’ us on Facebook and leave a comment on our timeline, letting us know the title of your favorite dance movie or film with dance in it. The deadline to enter is midnight on Wednesday, November 28. The DVD will also be available on Amazon.
Photos are from the Step Up movie franchise’s Facebook page.