15 Slammin’ Secrets and tactics of Save the Final Dance

Julia Stiles Recreates ‘Save The Final Dance’ Within the future of SNL

Info: At the same time as you happen to ever slipped on a leotard and tights within the mid-to-leisurely ’90s, there could be a stable chance you either wished to be delight in Heart Stage‘s Jody Sawyer (or Zoe Saldana‘s Eva Rodriguez, TBH, our vote for the finest goddamn dancer within the American Ballet Academy) or Sara Johnson, the Chicago ballerina with sizable Juilliard goals. 

Made throughout Julia Stiles‘ worthwhile teen movie flee (which coincided with her stylish-retelling-of-a-favorite-WilliamShakespeare-play share), 2001’s Save the Final Dance—which dropped suburban Sara into an inner city Chicago high college, where she finds esteem with Sean Patrick Thomas‘ Derek—spent two weeks on the high of the sphere place of job, propelling then-Columbia College freshman Stiles to the heights of ubiquity. 

She soundless MTV Awards for Top Kiss and Top Female Efficiency and a Teen Different trophy for Top Fight Scene because of the her face-off with her unique guy’s ex (Bianca Lawson) at STEPPS, the need to-wait on membership that ain’t no square dance however is surely lax on regulating false IDs. Stiles also scored a gig web web hosting Saturday Night Stay and a Rolling Stone conceal, the magazine declaring her “the coolest coed.”

Though for all that success and the film’s $27.5 million opening weekend field place of job haul, we’d be remiss if we did now not point to that it feels more than quite problematic when viewed thru a 2024 prism. 

Because the Sunless characters battle with poverty, teenage parenthood and gang violence, privileged fish-out-of-water Sara connects with Thomas’ Derek, a senior with Georgetown ambitions who occurs to be the sole Sunless male within the film with a promising future. And when their interracial esteem is challenged, Sara is painted as a sufferer, glossing over the other characters’ very valid red meat with the grief.

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However the MTV Films release did gift us with a lot of dance numbers to exercise hours memorizing, a stable soundtrack (Purple‘s “You Fetch Me In sad health,” Ice Dice‘s “You Can Fetch It,” K-Ci and JoJo‘s “Crazy”) and the dear lesson that we could perchance agree with to by no method lunge away our s–t on the ground.

Plus, it launched the area to an unknown Kerry Washington as Derek’s sister Chenille, who challenged Sara when she brushed apart any mention of her inherent white privilege by boldly declaring, “There is finest one world, Chenille.” As Chenille attach it, “That’s what they deliver you. We know completely different.” 

So there are a lot of aspects that are smooth slammin’. 

And with the anniversary of the Jan. 12 release upon us (and the unique recollections of Stiles’ most up-to-date Saturday Night Live cameo), we’re succesful of mud off our finest STEPPS-unprecedented moves and dance in circles. Doubtlessly around you. Here is the total lot it is doubtless you’ll well perchance agree with forgotten about the 2001 flick. 

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1. Save the Final Dance wasn’t Julia Stilesfirst time exhibiting off her abilities onscreen. Comely teen flick connoisseurs pick the 40-second scene in 1999’s 10 Things I Hate About You that saw a 17-one year-frequent Stiles climb atop a table at Bogey Lowenstein’s bash and if truth be told hypnotize her fellow partygoers as Biggie Smalls‘ hit performed. It captivated film mavens as neatly. “[Director] Thomas Carter instructed me that he suggested I cloak cloak-test for the movie consequently of he had viewed a scene in 10 Things I Hate About You where I’m dancing on the table,” Stiles instructed E! Data in 2021, “and he is delight in, ‘Oh, she has rhythm.'”

Entertainment Photos/ZUMAPRESS.com

2. Pointless to negate that wasn’t the categorical journey she dropped on the gig. “I’ve been dancing since I turned into exiguous,” she shared on The Dreary Dreary Display cloak with Craig Kilborn while promoting the movie in 2001. Mute, to play a teenage ballerina with a wise shot at attending Juilliard, her years of classy dance journey weren’t going to reduce back it. “I had to affect, delight in, a month and a half of 4 hours a day dancing my tush off,” she said. While that left the 19-one year-frequent in what she known as “the categorical form of my life,” her toes were destroyed: “Oh my god, I had the nastiest toes….They’d bleed, they’d salvage calluses, blisters, bunions, all that stuff.” 

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3. But it turned into all price it as she reallllllly did now not wish a physique double. “The predicament for me turned into I had to frequently showcase myself as a dancer, consequently of I did now not wish them to double me,” she defined to Hollywood.com months after the movie’s release. “So I turned into delight in, I heed you are gonna agree with to double en pointe motive I cannot affect pointe, however the total lot else has to be me. And I instructed them I did now not wish them to lift a hip-hop double in.” 

Thus, indispensable of her coaching serious about those routines “and I turned into more delighted with it,” she said. As for the ballet, let’s peaceable advise it required a jeté of religion. “All people’s attempting ahead to that you just are now not gonna be in a attach to bounce neatly consequently of you’re the actress,” she persisted. “The predominant time we shot one amongst the ballet issues I turned into shaking. And after we’d completed a few takes I turned into in a attach to relax.”

Michael Tackett/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

4. Her counterpart had to attach in work as neatly. On the time, Sean Patrick Thomas turned into a 31-one year-frequent actor with a handful of film credit who had barely viewed the inner of a studio. “I did now not agree with dance journey, other than some aerobics dance classes, and I had to bounce on the last audition,” he recalled in an interview with Nitrate On-line. “Normally, with any form of choreography, or now not it could perchance be obligatory to be taught it and observe it. I did now not agree with that chance—they taught it to me that morning. I did the categorical I could perchance well.” 

He persisted inserting within the work after he turned into cast. “I’m now not a dancer the least bit, I’m peaceable a on each day foundation person,” he defined to E! Data in 2021. “And so I turned into anxious for the opportunity to now not screw it up when it came to filming. So within the event that they were going to approach wait on and deliver me stuff, I turned into very waiting for it consequently of I turned into so apprehensive of having a peek delight in a total dork. So I did now not feel delight in it turned into further work within the sense of, delight in, ‘Oh god, I gotta affect this all over again.’ I turned into more delight in, ‘Give me more, give me more, give me more, consequently of I cannot screw this up.'” 

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5. However the false it ’til you build it side wasn’t the categorical element that gave him discontinue. Having already filmed a background share as Jock #2 in Can not Infrequently Wait and portrayed Ronald the cello teacher who falls for Selma Blair‘s Cecile in Merciless Intentions, he feared he will seemingly be pigeonholed as a teen movie actor. 

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6. Her years on the barre wasn’t the categorical journey Stiles drew on throughout the Chicago shoot. Growing up in Contemporary York City’s Soho, the eldest of Judith and John Stiles‘ three teens, her city heart college turned into “a lot delight in [the film] where I turned into the categorical white lady,” she instructed Hollywood.com. “And I needed to be a homegirl so badly, so I frolicked with the now not easy homegirls and pretended to be delight in that.”

She instructed Rolling Stone that her day to day uniform integrated door-knocker earrings now not now not like those she wore within the film, a Raiders hat and a healthy utility of lip liner. “All people wished to be a homeboy or homegirl,” she defined, “and I attempted to imitate that.” 


7. But what if truth be told attracted her to the perform turned into the chance to work with legendary choreographer Fatima Robinson. The film’s chief choreographer, Robinson’s clients agree with integrated everyone from the Backstreet Boys and Sunless Eyed Peas to Michael Jackson, Jennifer Hudson, Usher, Leona Lewis, Prince, and Rihanna. “It turned into a predominant motive I turned into delighted to affect the movie,” Stiles instructed E!. “I turned into delight in, ‘Yes, I would raise to salvage non-public dance classes, here is improbable.'” 

Paramount/Getty Images

8. And people that labored to memorize every transfer of Sara and Derek’s chair routine could perchance agree with picked up on the indisputable truth that it turned into lifted from the Backstreet Boys’ “As Prolonged As You Contend with Me.”

Paramount Photos

9. At 22, Kerry Washington turned into unique out of faculty, an anthropology and sociology degree from George Washington College in hand, when she favorite her breakout perform as teen mom Chenille. At that time, the future Emmy winner’s credit integrated an ABC After College Special that earned her a SAG card, a PBS education sequence and the drama Our Tune, which saw the Bronx native taking part in a 15-one year-frequent living within the Brooklyn tasks. 

Michael Tackett/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

10. Naturally, Washington attach within the work to nail her share. “I did comparatively plenty of study and frolicked with teen fogeys after I turned into making ready for the perform,” she instructed Contactmusic.com. “They helped me heed that even as you will agree with a baby at that age, impulsively you if truth be told salvage that motherly, care-taking feeling in direction of comparatively a lot of people around you, which if truth be told helped me heed why she turned into willing to comprise Julia Stiles’ persona. So I agree with there could be a share of that, you know, that having a baby peaceable makes you form of rise to the occasion.”


11. While suburban Lemont High College with out wretchedness doubled for its city counterpart, space designers had to attach quite of labor into creating STEPPS. Chicago space The Crowbar “turned into if truth be told delight in this unfamiliar gothic membership,” Stiles revealed, “that they redressed it to build it peek hip-hop and reggae.”

Globe Images/ZUMA Wire

12. The solid undoubtedly appreciated the wretchedness. “There turned into one point where we were taking pictures within the membership and Julia and I grew to vary into to at least one one more at three within the morning, and realized that we were getting paid to bounce and agree with an improbable time in a membership in Chicago,” Washington instructed Rolling Stone of the journey.”You know the total dancing when the credit are running on the dwell? That turned into throughout the closing evening of taking pictures on the membership, and we peaceable danced for hours—pulled the producers and the sound guys and the prop guys on the dance floor.”

MTV Films/Entertainment Photos/ZUMAPRESS.com

13. We agree with the film to thank for the starting up of Snooki. Sorta. Then a high college pupil better is believed as Nicole Polizzi, the future Jersey Shore standout lifted her fame-making nickname from the film’s class clown who moonlighted as a DJ at STEPPS.

Paramount / MTV Studios

14. There turned into a Save the Final Dance 2, a 2006 straight-to-DVD release that followed Sara to Juilliard, where she meets and falls for Columbus Instant‘s hip-hop theory customer lecturer Miles. Sadly, Stiles did now not place wait on on, leaving ballet pupil grew to vary into actress Izabella Miko to have her pointe footwear. 

Paramount/Getty Images

15. Stable to negate Stiles’ fame-making film is now not on her standard viewing checklist. “Save the Final Dance came on TV the other evening … and there turned into a share of me that turned into extraordinary about the recollections of making that movie,” she shared throughout a 2019 appearance on Right Morning The US. “And then I directly grew to vary into it off consequently of it turned into cringeworthy to me. At the same time as you peek photos of your self as a teenager, share of you goes delight in, ‘Oh yeah.’ And then share of you is delight in, ‘Oh my God.'” 

Though, place us up for the sorta kinda reboot Washington first floated in Stiles’ 2001 Rolling Stone profile. Gushing about her costar’s “intelligence and commitment and pure talent,” Washington said, “I peek ahead to working with her after we’re both in our sixties.”

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