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How to win a dance-off…

Anna Smith, Guest Blogger

Have you often found yourself in this situation? Good. Thought you had.

In order to address this, and to celebrate the release of Step Up 3D, we’re offering a few simple steps.


Fancy your moves? Reckon you’ve got what it takes to win a dance contest and pay those college fees/medical bills/bailiffs?

Before you throw yourself onto the ‘floor, remember that there are experts in this field. They are known as “screenwriters”. Between them, these guys have formed an indispensable guide to triumphing in dance-offs, from rough-and-ready street battles to Britain’s Got Talent-style tournaments.

By scouring through the likes of Streetdance, You Got Served, How She Move, Stomp The Yard and the entire Step Up series, we’ve put together a set of rules you must follow in order to form a winning crew. Bring it on!

1.   Move house
Statistics have shown that a lone dancer is extremely unlikely to find a suitable crew in their own ‘hood. So if you’re on your own, either move to a different area or start hanging out with dancers on the other side of town. Perhaps there’s a posh dance academy you could skulk around and make new friends?

2.   Resist change
Just because we’ve told you to move in different circles doesn’t mean you should enjoy them. Practise that sneery face – you’ll need it when your new cohorts start showing you their moves. They’re, like <completely opposite> from what you know and dancing together will never, ever work.

3.   Disrespect authority
You should give anyone in charge serious cheek or this thing will never get off the ground. This can include your parents, your dance teacher and the law (though do try to avoid actual jail). Bosses are good for this too – if you lose your job, you’ll have the incentive you need for that prize money.

4. Pick your crew
OK so you’ve made new mates who can bust a move, but do they look the part? You need at least two good looking guys – one white and one black. One should be serious and the other a rebel/joker. Then a nice smattering of racially diverse girls. All skinny, please – at least one should be struggling with an eating disorder.

5.   Train up
Stick some beats on the boom box and prepare yourself for a movie montage. Have a change of threads ready and be prepared to switch location to an abandoned warehouse. Make sure you patiently show an attractive slow-coach a move three times before they get it.

6.   Have a romance
Let’s hope you’re single, because no romance means no deal in the world of street dance. You know that boy/girl from the other side of the tracks whom you hated at first but secretly fancy? Now’s the time. Go get ‘em. Get dirty dancing.

7.   Hit the clubs
Ah, the nightclub, scene of movie’s finest dance-offs and a breeding ground for the aforementioned romance(s). You should all dress up, hit an underground club attended by your rival crew, and show them what’s what on the ‘floor. Don’t even think about drinking though.

8.   Have a fall out
No prizes for nice guys in this game – you need a row to create the kind of tension a dance crew thrives on. Maybe someone’s been keeping a secret? Perhaps there’s a mole in the ranks? Have it out with them, and then talk about disbanding the crew, dejectedly.

9.   Find a defector
Make sure one of your crew jumps ship to your rivals. They will pretend to be moving house or concentrating on their studies, but they will show up at a heat with the reigning champions, having considered them a better bet. They are so wrong.

10. Hit the heats
Heats will be held in dark, steamy cavernous buildings below the city streets. Just look out for the flyers, show up and wow them with perfectly choreographed routines you have had absolutely no time to prepare.

11.  Make the show
So you’re at the exam/audition/graduation and your crewmates are nervously preparing backstage, convinced that they will never succeed without you. Have heart – a previously cynical family member/teacher will whisk you off to the show so you can join them at the last minute.

12. Win!
You are ready to perform your final routine. This must incorporate moves from several dance disciplines, showing the audience how you have integrated as a team both spiritually and literally. You don’t need to be any better than the competition – just nicer and newly harmonious. One last thing: never, ever, dress head-to-toe in black. Leave that to the bad guys.


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