SouthFlorida.com
Make every weekend epic with our free Weekender newsletter. Sign up today!

Meet the choreographer who put the 'Magic' in 'Mike'

#AlisonFaulk puts dance magic in #MMXXL:

If you look real close, Alison Faulk thinks you can see a little Florida in her choreography, even the dance routines she created for the bump-and-grind movie “Magic Mike XXL.”

“Oh, yeah, like 1,000 percent,” says Faulk, who grew up in Pembroke Pines. “And I’ll tell you why: You can’t help growing up a certain way. … That kind of shapes who you are. And even though I’ve lived in California so long now, I am totally influenced by that childhood that forms who you are. And Channing [Tatum] as well, growing up in Tampa. We have this common thread going through us. I think that’s why we can work together and understand each other. We’re both similar ages and we have the Florida thing.”

Of course, having choreographed “Magic Mike,” this was the second time Faulk choreographed for the ab-tastic cast of Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Adam Rodriguez, Kevin Nash and Matt Bomer. For the sequel, she staged dance routines for the first time with co-stars Mike Strahan and Stephen “Twitch“ Boss. She also brought in her dance partners Teresa Espinosa and Luke Broadlick.

Here's a little more about SoFlo's Faulk.

Florida facts: "I live in L.A. now, but I'm really from Pembroke Pines. I mean really. I was born in Hollywood Memorial. I studied dance from the time I was three-years-old. My family now lives in Sebring. I don't get back as much as I would like, but I do love it so much. It's so beautiful in Florida."

Free time back then: "I literally lived in the dance studio. When you're a kid and you find something you love and are passionate about…that's what I wanted to be doing. I really wanted to be in that studio, getting better."

Artists she's worked with: Madonna, Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, Janet Jackson, Pink, Miley Cyrus, LL Cool J., Jennifer Lopez.

Family: "My [Ken Faulk] father is a professional musician. Back in the '70s and '80s he worked with the Bee Gees, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Buddy Rich, every Motown act. Now he does real estate. My mother [Shirley Faulk] was a singer. That's how they met. So I grew up in a really loving and musical household. I have a younger brother and an older half-sister. We're all really close."

Other movies she's worked on: "Iron Man," "American Beauty," "Step Up 2: The Streets," "Save The Last Dance 2," "You Got Served"

Signature dance style: "I think my signature is that I love a lot of different styles and different things. I grew up being technically trained, but then I got into hip-hop with this street dance crew the Beat Freaks [runners-up on Season 3 of MTV's "America's Best Dance Crew']. But I'm also heavily informed in partnering and stuff. I know a bit about all these different worlds. That's kind of my thing. It allows me to facilitate the direction of the artists and the director."

Best bad-ass move in "Magic Mike XXL": "In the film it's when they're in the Rome's [Jada Pinkett-Smith's character] club and Channing does his solo. How do I describe this? She's on the ground, this woman, on her hands and knees. He picks her up by the hips and stands up and her face is in his crotch and then falls backward and she lands on top of him. When we did that [in workshop rehearsals], he didn't even tell me. But when he did, we both yelled, 'That's in the movie.' We're really collaborative with [Tatum]. And when it comes to dancing on a girl and all that really sexy, sexy stuff, he has these great ideas. He'll put a song on and map out some idea. He's a very strong idea. I'm like five feet tall and he knows he can throw me around and I'm cool. He flipped the crap out of me. He's so good and I trust him so much.

Putting pressure on real male strippers: "Oh yeah, it definitely came up with Channing. Channing is definitely the fourth choreographer. He's talented and instinctual. He brought it up, like 'These guys in general are going to have to step it up now' The whole mantra of the film is: Give the women what they want; not what guys think they want."

Putting pressure on actors in "Magic Mike XXL": "We had the first film in which we got to know these guys so well. We had a genuine level of trust. We knew their assets and what they were capable of doing. They know going in that this was bigger and more dancing and they all wanted to put the extra effort in. Everyone was open to ideas. All the guys' numbers at the climax of the film, we had some ideas going in and most of them came up with little ideas to add in there."

Extra fun fact: All three choreographers appear in the movie. Faulk is "White Shadow," the girl in the swimsuit and helmet near the begtinning of the movie. Broadlick is a stripper in Rome's club (the one who does the flip). Espinosa is the other woman in the "Mirror, Mirror" finale, performing onstage with Channing, Amber Heard and Twitch.

Copyright © 2018, South Florida
86°