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The choreographers of new ‘Step Up Revolution’ worked hard to develop a unique look and feel for each of the large‐scale production numbers. “The flash mob scenes are designed to be completely selfcontained,” says Jamal Sims. “Each has a unique palette, location, theme and style of music. They are very different from each other.”
The pulsating Ocean Drive flash mob that opens the film is designed to grab the audience’s attention and not let it go until the film’s closing credits. “It is the very first time we see The Mob,” says director Scott Speer. “And it’s one of the biggest sequences in the film. It immediately establishes what is different about ‘Step Up Revolution’ and captures the idea that these flash mobs are establishing a viral presence in the city. It is a great way to kick off the story.” Sims says he always likes to hit hard as the film begins.
“That sequence is in your face. It was probably the hottest day we had in Miami. The kids were dancing on top of cars and on the street. Every surface was scorching. We incorporated low riders, dancing with the cars bouncing to the rhythm of the track. There were so many different moving pieces that had to be coordinated and timed perfectly.”
Flash mobs usually use choreography that is simple enough for anyone to learn, but Sims took full advantage of the talent at his disposal. “The average person, or even the average dancer, would have a hard time pulling this off,” says producer Jennifer Gibgot. “There were something like 60 people, including parkour artists, which added another exciting element to it.”
The settings provided as much inspiration as the music for the choreographers as they carefully crafted each of the unique set pieces. “Jamal, Travis and I all came together to choreograph the museum sequence,” says Chris Scott. “It was intense. We had people emerging from walls, a fiber optic ballet and several different styles that had to be integrated together. Sometimes the choreography drives the concept, but in this case the concept was driving us. We wanted to portray dance as fine art, just like you see in a museum. We made the dancers into living, breathing works of art. It’s magic!”
For the corporate‐themed flash mob that marks The Mob’s first protest, Scott created a highly synchronized escalator ballet performed by identical drones in suits and ties. With dozens of dancers, it all had to be precisely coordinated to work. “They blend in with the business people,” says executive producer Matt Smith.
“They become part of the same faceless crowd—until the performance begins. They all look the same and move simultaneously.” ‘Step Up Revolution’ ends with a breathtaking finale set in a shipping yard, a far larger space than Sims had ever worked in before. “This is a huge finale,” he says. “The space had so many possibilities and we wanted to take full advantage. We have the kids doing their rendition of The Warriors, really aggressive and dancing with props.
We have a popping routine, then some of the top b‐boys and trickers. Finally, we go into a lovely, sensual duet and all these different styles get mixed into one. In the end, it’s all connected and reflects the story of the two main characters.”
It was the most challenging number in the movie, according to the director. “We shot it over a period of five days,” Speer says. “It had multiple concepts that bled into each other and there was a lot going on visually with costumes, effects and all kinds of special elements. I couldn’t be happier with what we accomplished.”