The Dance Style Fusion Evolution of “Make Your Move”

There are many interesting articles that we found off of the new MAKE YOUR MOVE website (, but the most interesting was the evolution of the dance styles throughout the movie. The director, Duane Adler, discusses his thoughts about what dance styles he wanted to showcase in the movie. Choreographers Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo also discusses working with Derek Hough and BoA with their special dance scenes.

Be sure to explore the website because there are so many hidden stories that you will love to read! We’ve included the article below, but be sure to check out ‘MAKING THE MOVES’ at the official website to read more articles on creating the dance scenes!


To bring the unique dance styles and collaborative feel to the big screen in MAKE YOUR MOVE, Adler brought in Napoleon and Tabitha Dumo, also known as Nappytabs to help create the feel and the story. Napoleon and Tabitha have worked on such successful shows as SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE and AMERICA’S BEST DANCE CREW, as well as with pop icons as Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Prince, 50 Cent, Nikki Minaj and Christina Aquilera. Napoleon explains, “It was a different way of working than we normally do. Once we decided on what we thought the tone of a scene was we would then create a template track for the music so we could show the producers where we wanted the movement to be. The music producers would bring to life what I wanted to create in the dance. We would go back and forth with the producers on how to create the tone for the movement. It was a collaboration.”

They set out to make something new and fresh, something the whole production team understood, Napoleon explained, “With this film we took big chances and we did not know how it was going to work. In this industry we are in there is not a lot of people taking chances, they want what is already out there. Duane, Robert and Eric were always willing. They were willing to take a chance. Plus, K-pop is ridiculously popular right now. There is so much inspiration recently from the K-pop world and the music videos. They are ready to try something new and take a chance.”

Duane Nappytabs Derek

Adler continues by describing his process in combining different elements of dance, and culture to make this film truly unique and stand apart from other dance films, he explains, “Often in a dance movie you will hire regular dance crews. With this movie we wanted to create something new, a fusion of styles. We wanted to create crews from the bottom up. We wanted the dancing to feel and be really exciting and unique.” Adler continues, “When I was exploring a new dance film idea I was thinking of tap and something Asian. East meets West. One day sitting at my computer I googled ‘tap’ ‘funk’ ‘dance’ and ‘Taiko’ and discovered the COBU crew based out of NYC who married tap dancing and Taiko drumming. They are an all girl Japanese American crew. So, I contacted them and we met to figure out how we could incorporate what they do into a dance movie. I talked a long time to the group’s founder, Yako Miyamoto. I wanted the movie to be multi-cultural. So I used Yako in the movie and had her pick her strongest drummer. She also trained the girls for the film. I wanted a multi-ethnic, hip-hop, tap dance crew that had the Taiko drums as the rhythm.”

Courtesy of Make Your Move Tumblr

D’umo saw this as a great challenge, “We never worked with Taiko drums before never seen it at that level of COBU and their combining with tap, made for different stuff. Taking it a step further and fusing tap to dub-set was the oddest thing we could think of doing. We used a New Orleans jazzy horn and mixed it with dub-step and it looked and felt more original. We used it for a scene where Donny, Derek’s character, wanted to say ‘I can do this differently and better than any one else has done before.’ Combining drumming with tapping, and tapping with hip-hop, and hip-hop with contemporary really gave us no boundaries.”

Working with the stars Derek Hough and BoA, gave the director and choreographer an opportunity to explore these dance genres in an intimate way. It was important that the actors were willing to try new things and Adler explains, “I couldn’t have asked for more from Derek and BOA. They both worked so hard, learning knew things. BoA was not a tap dancer or a drummer. Derek had not worn tap shoes in 10-12 years. The only time he had to practice was at eleven or twelve at night. He would rehearse after working on Dancing With the Stars all day.”

He continued, “The first time Derek and BoA danced together, BoA had never partner danced before. When Derek walked in he took her hand, she shivered and took it away. She said, ‘No one ever touches me when I am dancing.’ We had one week of soft prep, which we needed for Derek and Boa to be in a studio together. English is BoA’s third language. She sings and speaks in Korean, Japanese and English. Dance and music are an international language. After a week of rehearsals Derek and BoA were speaking the same language.”

Courtesy of Make Your Move Tumblr

“The dancing with the two stars was also really collaborative. Derek had never done a lot of hip-hop and tap and BoA does a lot of hip-hop but she never partnered. BoA would help Derek understanding the technical movements of hip-hop and he would help BoA how to partner. But the dancing itself was different than what they were both used to. It was lyric mixed with hip-hop mixed with contemporary and some ballroom stuff but not partnering of hip-hop in how they were used to dancing. We made it something else, something completely unique and different. They helped each other, it was new for everyone,” said Napoleon.

He continued, “There is no dance battle in this movie, it is essentially a love story.” We would not just take Derek and do whatever we wanted. We had to have the dancing make sense to what the characters are doing and feeling.” Tabitha added, “You have to think visually. How would a couple act in that situation? How do the characters explore their romance through dance.”

Courtesy of Make Your Move Tumblr

Read more here!


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