One Step Beyond
Prestige Hong Kong|May 2017

Dancer and actress JENNA DEWAN TATUM has built a career tripping the light fantastic. 

Kavita Daswani

There was a fairly compelling reason for Jenna Dewan Tatum to sign up to be the host and mentor on World of Dance, the big, glitzy dance-competition TV show about to premiere globally. Her role, as she perceived it, would be alternately to cheer, cajole and comfort the legions of dancers who would journey from everywhere for a chance at the US$1 million prize.

“I’ve been there,” Dewan Tatum says in a reflective tone. “I know what it’s like.”

The actress and dancer is one of a quartet of luminaries (Jennifer Lopez – also an executive producer – Ne-Yo and Derek Hough) tapped to front the weekly extravaganza from NBC that debuts on May 8. The ultimate winner (or winning troupe) goes home with a seven-figure payout, four times the $250,000 given to the champion of the Fox channel-aired series So You Think You Can Dance, which begins its 14th season next month.

“I wish shows like this had been around when I was starting out,” says Dewan Tatum. “It would have been my ultimate goal.”

Still, she’s fared pretty well despite the dearth of dance-competition shows during her ascent. She got her big break as a background dancer for Janet Jackson, and subsequently shared stage space with Pink and Missy Elliott. Her lead role on the 2006 movie Step Up connected her with a young actor named Channing Tatum, aka “Magic Mike”. The two have been married since 2009 and have a four-year-old daughter, Everly. Dewan Tatum has a recurring role in the hit TV series Supergirl, and is juggling numerous projects in development under the production company 33andOut, that she co-founded with her husband.

But while staying cosily indoors on a recent windswept day in Las Vegas, Dewan Tatum was happy to chat about family, veganism, and why dance matters.

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THIS NEW TV SHOW?

I got a call from NBC about this opportunity and it turned out to be great timing. It was enough of a challenge, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I’d never done anything like this and it would force me to grow in ways I hadn’t before.

IS THERE A SENSE YOU’RE COMING FULL CIRCLE WITH IT?

I love the idea of going back to my dancing roots, and encouraging and helping other dancers on this journey. It felt right. And I loved that [the network] was open to redefining the role of host a little bit.

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