Kathryn McCormick: “So You Think You Can Dance” Goes “Flash Mob”!
By: Lynn Barker
Pretty brunette dancer/actress Kathryn McCormick danced in the movie re-make of Fame, was a finalist in the sixth season of TV’s “So You Think You Can Dance” and an all-star on season seven. She toured with the uplifting Revolve Tours as a motivational speaker for girls before landing the lead role in the latest urban dance film Step Up: Revolution which centers around flash mob crews.
We’re in L.A. learning that Kathryn put her director in heels as a joke, filled her hot co-star Sean Guzman’s trailer full of his favorite candy but also burned her feet and broke her toe while dancing on the film. Check out our chat with this friendly star.
Kidzworld: Had you seen any of the other “Step Up” movies before this?
- Kathryn: The first Step Up was one of my favorite dance films. I used to watch it and go. “She’s so cute. I wanna be her (Jenna Dewan)”.
Kidzworld: Have you ever joined an impromptu flash mob and just danced or have you ever been part of a planned one?
Kathryn: I have done a couple of flash mobs but nothing like what’s in “Step Up” at all. I don’t think I’ve even seen a flash mob as intense as those but, I did some motivational speaking a year ago on the Revolve tour and it was for teenage girls and we had a band there. I choreographed a certain song and it was on YouTube and all the girls would learn it before they went to the tour and we’d all do it at the same time so it was kind of like a flash mob.Step Up Mob in the Plaza
Kidzworld: Fun. What was the most difficult dance for you in the movie and why?
- Kathryn: It’s crazy. Usually, when you do a project you do the same style over and over so you could say “Okay, this project was harder than that one” but there is not one mob that’s the same style of dance. They all had elements that were hard. I think Chris Scott, (choreographer) his plaza scene was difficult because I wasn’t as used to that type of movement and how intricate it was. That was the most challenging when it came to the choreography.
Kidzworld: What other things were a challenge?
- Kathryn: The most challenging thing for me was the outfits they put me in. For Chris Scott’s routine I was fine but then they put me in heels. When you’re doing hip hop in heels, it’s totally different. You feel different. When it came to the beach dance, I was dancing on the sand in wedges. Think about it. It was bad. Then doing the duet with Sean and Emily (her character) at the end, it was really hot so they would have to put a mat on that block on concrete because my (bare) feet were burning! But what was emotionally the hardest was the solo that Emily does when she’s auditioning to get into (the professional dance troupe).
It was draining. As an actor, you’re someone else. As a dancer, you’re yourself. I’ve always been represented as Kathryn McCormick the dancer on “So You Think You Can Dance” but this was Emily Anderson, a different person dancing. To go in and do a combo where I’m messing up and not stable (as Emily), there’s a part inside me that doesn’t want anyone to see that. Emotionally, it was hard to stay in that but I’m really proud of that.
Kidzworld: Any injuries on the film besides the burnt toes?
- Kathryn: (laughs) We had little funny accidents. I might have broken one of my toes on the duet but it didn’t hurt at the time. I had so much adrenalin that I didn’t feel it. But, to this day it feels swollen so I guess I did something.
Kidzworld: Ouch! Describe what happened the moment you learned you had landed this, your first big acting role. Where were you?
- Kathryn: I was driving my green beetle down the freeway and got off and got a phone call. It was Scott Speer the director. “Hey Kathryn, this is Scott and I wanted to thank you for your time. I know you put a lot of work into this. We’ve made our decision”.
Kidzworld: So you thought you didn’t get it?
- Kathryn: Yeah. He tried to trick me. Then he said “I wanted to let you know that you’re going to be Emily in the movie”. I just remember being speechless. I didn’t say anything. I was on the way to assist on “So You Think You Can Dance”. I called my mom and was crying. Then she was crying. It was a mess.
Kidzworld: Ryan Guzman (who plays love interest Sean) is pretty hot. Did you two have a chemistry read before the film? Who was cast first?
- Kathryn: I got the part first. I had about four auditions and Ryan had about ten auditions. He’d never danced before or had an acting role before. It was all new to him. On my third audition it was three of us girls and him and we hip hop danced with him one at a time. I remember walking up to him “What’s up? I’m Kathryn. Nice to meet you”. I gave him a big hug.
I could tell he was getting too much into his head. I said “It’s you and me, okay? We’ve got this”. He was like “Alright. Here we go”. We had a connection and by the time we got the final call back, as soon as we sat down and did the scenes, magic happened. It felt so freeing for the first time. We did the boat scene you see in the film.
Kidzworld: So tell us a something he does that people might not know.
- Kathryn: Ryan loves to write poetry. He’s a very good artist. He loves to draw and he’s really good at it.
Kidzworld: The flash mob in the film dances to save the neighborhood. If you were to dance for a charitable or social cause, what would that be?
- Kathryn: Human trafficking. I’m learning more about it in this past year. There is this band called “The End” and I did a music video with them that will release in a couple of days called “She Breaks” and the artist, the singer listened to this woman tell her story on how she was a sex slave. Even when you are free you’re not free. We shared her story through music. We’ll send it out to different organizations to bring awareness to that cause.
Kidzworld: That is very worthwhile, especially for girls.
- Kathryn: I want girls to know their worth. Love is so misunderstood. It can be represented as trashy and love is classy and one of the greatest gifts we’ve ever been given. To have a woman’s idea of love be skewed by some dirty person who would take that from them is just torture to me.
Kidzworld: Good for you for speaking out on that. There is a big mix of dance styles in the film. What style of dance do you like the best?
- Kathryn: It depends on what mood I’m in but I’m a sucker for love stories and vulnerability and honesty so when I see people who are truthful in their movement it really gets to me so I love Contemporary dance because it tells a story and leaves room for you to create. It’s so relatable.
Kidzworld: What is your dating pet peeve?
- Kathryn: I hate it when people are insecure and instead of being honest about it, they put their guard up and try to show they’re cool but it’s really because they’re insecure. If you’re not honest and cover up with attitude, it really bothers me.
Kidzworld: Did the cast get to have any fun in Miami off-set? Any dinners or dance parties?
- Kathryn: We had the weekends off but a lot of times the mobs would have rehearsals. When I wasn’t in that, I’d go to ballet and yoga. When we weren’t doing that, we’d go out to eat and go dancing in different clubs. There was a time when we went to Nikki Beach where Sean and Emily meet in the film. That’s a real dance club. We danced there and walked on the beach. We were family, good friends and spent a lot of time together.
Kidzworld: Who was the jokester on set?
- Kathryn: We all had our jokes. On Ryan’s birthday, I filled up his entire trailer with Snickers. He loves Snickers. He couldn’t sit on his couch. He ate them all and I think he gained an ab.
Also, (back to the shoe thing), I like to be comfortable in Converses or Toms but I’ve never been someone who wears heels. In this film, Emily is high class and more put together so the director was “You have to wear heels”. In the plaza scene I’m in heels. I asked him “Scott let me wear Converse”. “No, Emily wears heels. That’s who she is”. “Dang it!” We made an agreement. He said “Kat, if you quit complaining about your heels I’ll wear heels for a whole day”. So, I didn’t complain. Me and the costumer ordered like size 13 or 15 red heels. The last day on set I gave them to him as a gift. He put them on and we have pictures of that.
Kidzworld: Hilarious! What’s next for you?
- Kathryn: The publicity is nonstop. We’re about to leave for Toronto. I’m still taking dance classes and I’m in acting classes. Just trying to learn as much as I can on this new journey. I know I have a lot to learn but I have a lot to offer.
STEP UP REVOLUTION - Worldwide Flash Mob Music Video