Magic Mike: Choreograper Alison Faulk
To choreograph the shows, the filmmakers enlisted Alison Faulk of The Beat Freaks, who worked on “Magic Mike” between supervising choreography for Britney Spears’ and Madonna’s world tours. Faulk did her homework by going to lots of clubs and getting a feel not only for the dancing but for “what works with the audiences. What do they respond to? What do they like?”
“It’s not just about the dance moves; it’s about them looking sexy, feeling confident and creating a fantasy,” she offers. “Each routine has a little romance behind it, a whole build-up. It’s all in the tease. I think women know it’s supposed to be fun and a little cheesy.”
Starting the cast with basic moves like body rolls and hip circles, then graduating to staging and spacing, she ultimately prepared them for a series of comic skits tailored to each of their characters, as well as several group numbers, including the rousing crowd-pleaser “It’s Raining Men.” The goal was to make them look sharp and put on an exciting show, but not be so highly polished as to make it unrealistic.
Pettyfer, admittedly the least practiced dancer of the bunch, cites how his relative inexperience helped define the character: “I was initially very shy and didn’t want to move. But Alison came up with these great routines with only a few steps. It ended up being character building in that Adam thinks he’s a better dancer than he really is, but it’s his freshness and his willingness to give the audience what they want that works for him.”
Adam’s make-or-break moment, when he is unexpectedly thrown onto the stage to the opening beats of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” was more true to life than audiences would expect. “That was the one scene we purposely didn’t block,” says Pettyfer. “They didn’t even tell me the song they were going to play. They just said go out there and do it. After those first few moments, taking off my hoodie and feeling the crowd reacting, I thought, “This is pretty cool.’”
Following his auspicious intro, the Kid later returns to the boards more confidently decked out as a boxer and then a cowboy. Matt Bomer’s additional personas include not only the Ken Doll but a white-coated Dr. Love; Joe Manganiello does a silhouette dance as a suited businessman and also nails the ever-popular fireman routine, as well as a golden statue that springs to life; and Adam Rodriguez introduces a sly merengue in a Havana Nights routine and later appears in Navy whites as an officer and not-so-gentlemanly gentleman.
The most demanding and acrobatic sequences fell to Tatum, including a show-stopping performance that has him spinning fast on a hand loop and executing a standing back-flip off the stage, a stunt he’d always loved. “It’s doesn’t matter exactly what you’re doing out there if you’re having fun,” he states.
Proving that point, Matthew McConaughey threw his leather vest into the ring too, despite the fact that he’d never danced on stage before and even though, in the original script, Dallas didn’t perform. McConaughey recounts with characteristic good humor, “I couldn’t be in this movie and not at least give it a shot. C’mon, I had to try it. If I never got out there and danced in a thong I would surely regret it.” He proved remarkably adept and creative in helping to develop his routine, and Dallas’s surprise solo late in the film truly defines the striptease mindset by capitalizing on an hour of will-he-or-won’t-he speculation.
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