Three blockbuster films later, sold-out musicals in Las Vegas, Germany, Australia, and London, and an HBO Max reality show Finding Magic Mike, we still can't get enough of erotic male dancers. Steven Soderbergh's film about these dancers captivated audiences in a way that many dance films could never by being cheeky and ambitious with their choreography. While the stories are great, the dancing is why we keep returning to the theatres.
The success of the franchise is partially due to choreographers Alison Faulk and Luke Broadlick, who Faulk hired after Broadlick gave her a lap dance on Britney Spears' 2011 Femme Fatale tour. Faulk joined the Magic Mike franchise as the supervising choreographer after Channing Tatum reached out to her for help while he was prepping Magic Mike.
Faulk and Broadlick have worked on all of the Magic Mikeprojects and co-choreographed Channing Tatum's last performance at Magic Mike in Magic Mike's Last Dance. In a recent interview with GQ, Faulk and Broadlick break down their process of creating and learning about the art of a sensual, yet entertaining lap dance.
Here is what choreographers and directors need to know if they want to have a fantastic lap dance on screen.
'Magic Mike'Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
1. Establish a Genuine Connection Between the Dancer and the Lap Dance Receiver
The first rule of giving a memorable and entertaining lap dance is establishing a genuine connection with the person receiving the dance.
Establishing a genuine connection between the dancer and the lap dance receiver is essential to ensure that both parties have a positive and enjoyable experience during the lap dance. It involves creating an atmosphere of mutual respect, trust, and comfort that enables the receiver to fully immerse themselves in the experience.
To establish this connection, the dancer should first introduce themselves and try to engage the receiver in conversation to get to know them better. This can help to break the ice and build a rapport that will allow both parties to feel more comfortable with each other.
During the lap dance itself, the dancer should be attentive to the receiver's body language and respond accordingly. They should be aware of the receiver's comfort level and adjust their moves accordingly to ensure that they are not crossing any boundaries or making the receiver feel uncomfortable.
The dancer should also communicate with the receiver throughout the dance, using verbal and non-verbal cues to establish a connection and ensure that the receiver is enjoying the experience. This could involve asking the receiver if they would like to try different moves or positions, or simply checking in with them to see if they are comfortable.
By establishing a genuine connection between the dancer and the lap dance receiver, both parties can enjoy a more fulfilling and satisfying experience. The receiver will feel more comfortable and relaxed, while the dancer will be able to perform their routine with more confidence and enthusiasm. This connection can lead to a more enjoyable and memorable lap dance experience for everyone involved, which includes the audience.
'Magic Mike's Last Dance'Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
2. Be Confident, but Not Cocky.
Once that connection between the dancer and the receiver, it is important that the dancer doesn't become too confident in their performance.
"Once the guy goes into a moment where he has this cockiness to him, it immediately runs flat," Broadlick says.
It is important that the dancer maintains a level of humility and avoids becoming too overconfident or cocky in their performance because it takes the joy away from the act. Excessive confidence can come across as arrogance and ruin the connection that was established.
As directors and choreographers, make sure that the dancers have a sense of humility and respect for the receiver's boundaries and preferences to ensure that they are comfortable and having a good time. If the receiver is being ignored and they are uncomfortable, the audience will see this through their body language and react to that.
Overall, maintaining a humble and respectful attitude to everyone involved will enhance the entire performance.
Check out this dance sequence from Magic Mike XXL to see why humility is important when crafting a fantastically engaging dance number.
3. Research to Produce an Authentic Dance
For anyone in any department of a film's production, research is vital. If you are making a film about erotic dancers, then study the culture and different types of styles that these dancers have.
The first movie for Faulk and Broadlick did a lot of research. They went to strip shows and gathered research to gather "authentic" material that Soderbergh wanted. Because the choreographers would be working with actors who weren't trained dancers, Faulk and Broadlick had to create dances that were simple, yet engaging to watch.
When choreographing the waterlogged number in Last Dance, Faulk and Broadlick took a dance they crafted for the stage show and practiced a water version of it in a garage to see if it would be possible for this dance to happen on film. On top of the tarp, they threw buckets of water on it.
"We're just sliding around like maniacs in my garage," Faulk remembers.
Although they researched and practice the dance, there was still a level of danger. At one point during filming, Tatum's partner Kylie Shea accidentally hit Tatum in the nose with her pelvis, causing him to bleed. That is the level of risk that directors and choreographers have to be aware of when creating these types of sequences. Knowing the possible risks will help everyone else involved in the project.
'Magic Mike's Last Dance'Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
4. Have a Good Time During Choreography
If you are not having fun while doing something as fun as a lap dance, then what's the point? Lap dances are supposed to be fun and engaging, so the creative process when choreographing a lap dance routine should be just as fun. It is important to approach it with a positive and lighthearted attitude.
"We just love the project so much," Faulk says. "We're always laughing and having a good time. If you're not laughing and having fun when you're making up lap dances, then your life sucks. You've literally lost."
Choreographing a lap dance routine involves using one's creativity and imagination to come up with moves and sequences that will engage and entertain the receiver. This can be a fun and playful process, and it is important to approach it with a sense of humor and a willingness to take risks and try new things.
'Magic Mike'Credit: Warner Bros. PicturesIt's hard not to smile when you are watching insanely buff, shirtless men thrusting their hips and lifting giggling women into gravity-defying positions. Magic Mike films are fun and entertaining to watch. That is why we come back to these films time and time again.
If you are considering filming a short or feature film about the life of dancers, it is important to work with choreographers who are willing to do the research and try new moves out while being aware of the actors' abilities. Directors should trust and collaborate with their choreographers to help craft engaging dance sequences that will change the audience's expectations of what a great dance sequence in a film looks like.
What is your favorite dance sequence from the Magic Mike films? Let us know in the comments below.