Stephen Boss, better known as his stage name ‘tWitch’ has appeared in three installments of the “Step Up” film series, and is known for his appearance as a contestant on the fourth season of So You Think You Can Dance, where he placed as runner-up.
He has also worked extensively as a choreographer and has recently been featured as a guest DJ on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The Source Magazine spoke to tWitch about how he began his journey with dance, his experiences as both a dancer and a teaching artist, and his goals for the future. He shares some wisdom on the reality of trying to sustain an artistic career, a topic that is at the core of Step Up All out this Friday, August 8.
How are you?
I am awesome. It’s great to be back in the city.
Where’ve you been?
Well, just came from home. I was back in California for about a week and a half. It’s great to be back.
Congratulations on the film! I just and I was very impressed by it. And I realized as I was watching it—there are no camera tricks, there are no special effects, all of the dancing… you guys are really doing it.
That’s right. That’s one of the dope things about this particular installment is that they didn’t really add special effects after. In “3D” they had to go in an add the lights and stuff like that … But this … it’s all dancing.
Talk a little bit about working with Director Trish Sie and all the choreographers. What was that like?
Their whole take on the film—the overall theme was much lighter than the [the previous Step Up films]. It was much more comical, which is the way it’s supposed to be. It’s good to see that. The choreographers—they just keep outdoing themselves, all while doing that you have 140 dancers.
I noticed that this film tries to portray the hardships of trying to break into professional dance, and maybe even beyond that. Do you think the film does this accurately?
They did a very accurate job of that. You can land a huge, huge gig, which can be a career-altering job, but still have your work go from 100 to 0. You can be on top of the world in one day, then living in a cupboard in a couple of weeks and have nothing else. So, it portrays the struggle of … consistency. That’s the most realistic part. Gigs will come and gigs will go, but it’s a matter of keeping yourself consistent.
So what was the thing that made you say, hey, I wanna be a dancer; despite all of this, I wanna go into it.
The love. The reason I pursued this career was because there was nothing else that I love more than dancing. Dancing was it … All I wanted to do was dance, dance, dance.
So, have you been dancing since you were very little? Or did you get into it later in life?
I did, I got into it much later in life. I started taking classes when I was 16. I danced on my high school dance team.
You went to Chapman, correct? Did you dance at all in college?
I did. That’s actually how I [ended up] at Chapman. I’m originally from Montgomery, Alabama. After I danced there—I was on my High School dance team, from there I went to a local community college, and then I transferred out to Chapman on a dance scholarship, and that’s where I learned the basics of ballet and jazz.
What do you think was the one thing that changed the rest of your career?
So You Think You Can Dance, definitely, for a lot of reasons. After it, everything was completely different.
Having done these competitions like So You Think You Can Dance, and also having been in different movies, what do you think are the biggest differences between dancing live, for TV, and for film?
Just like actors, there’s a difference between acting on the stage and acting on film. There are nuances to each. Each audience is a little different, which causes you to do things a little differently. So dancing on film, you really have to make sure you hit your marks, because you’re not only dancing with the people around you, but you’re dancing for the camera as well. Dancing for films is a bit more tedious as far as details go, whereas dancing on stage, it’s much bigger – you still have to hit all your marks, but it’s not as calculated.
I’m sure no matter where you’re dancing, it takes a lot of energy and gusto. Are there any daily regiments that you have to stay fit and healthy so that you’re able to do this?
There’s gym routines … I run from time to time, but I do dance quite a bit. But even when I’m not performing, I’m teaching, so I’m still dancing.
Where’ve you been teaching?
We basically travel to a different city every single weekend, and the local dance studios come out and take classes.
What’s coming up next for you?
I’ve been really concentrating on acting. I’ve been taking a lot of acting classes. It’s making the jump from dancer to actor. But with that that takes some groundwork.