By Veronica Dudo
“Footloose” star Kenny Wormald, has been dancing for over 20 years. He studied at Boston’s prestigious Sherry Gold Studios where he was trained in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and acrobatics. In 1996, he was selected to dance for President Bill Clinton at the White House as a part of the annual Easter celebration.
Wormald has traveled the world competing in dance competitions and won the gold medal in 2002 at the World Dance Championships in Germany. He has been featured as a dancer in music videos with Madonna, Mariah Carey, Chris Brown, Prince and the Pussycat Dolls. He also toured with Justin Timberlake.
Now, the 27-year-old is in the limelight, starring in the 2011 remake of “Footloose.” Over the weekend the multitalented artist hosted a party at The Pool After Dark inside Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City. He dished about his new-found celebrity status, what it was like working with his co-star Julianne Hough, his upcoming projects and talks about having a Philly cheesesteak!
When did you discover your love for dancing?
I went to a New Kids On the Block concert when I was six and I came home and I didn’t stop dancing. I was jumping on the furniture and going crazy so my parents signed me up for dance class when I was six and I haven’t stopped since. So, that’s kind of when it all went down.
At what point did you decide to pursue dancing as a career?
I knew that you could make a career out of dance in New York or L.A. but when you turn 17 and its senior year of high school and everyone’s applying to colleges that’s kind of when it became an actual realistic thing that could happen. I applied to a few colleges to make mom happy but I knew that I was just going to move to L.A. and pursue this as a career.
That’s exactly what you did; how does it feel to see all of your hard work finally pay off?
Yeah, right after high school I moved to L.A. at 18. It’s been incredible. I mean, it’s been amazing. I’ve learned so much in the past nine years and now I’m getting to do a film, represent “Footloose” and it’s doing well—I’m excited.
What has been the response to the “Footloose” remake and how has it changed your life?
The whole past two months has been a wow experience; we did a whole promo tour and we were doing screenings of the film and talking to people after they saw the film and we felt a lot of positivity coming from those screenings so to have it translate into the actual box office has been insane. I couldn’t ask for anything more, it could have bombed–it’s taking a big risk remaking “Footloose” so I’m very proud, I’m very happy, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else and I’m just excited for what’s next.
What did you want to convey on the big screen with your character in the new “Footloose” movie?I just wanted it to be an honest performance, luckily we had an amazing director–Craig Brewer, who did Hustle & Flow and Black Snake Moan so I knew I was in good hands and obviously Paramount is one of the best so I just wanted to make it honest, make it my own and give the audience what the audience felt in ’84 because that’s what “Footloose” is all about–just having fun and feeling good and getting a little boogie on!
Describe the transition going from just dancing to dancing and acting?
It was great; I learned so much every day. We shot for 50 days and I shot for about 45 of those days because I was on set nearly every day and I loved it. I did another film but it went straight to DVD it was called Center Stage 2 but it was planned on DVD it’s not like it shifted to DVD (laughs) so that was like the first learning experience and then I applied what I knew and learned way more on this one and prior to shooting I worked with some amazing coaches so I was prepared and I was in good hands.
What was it like to work with your co-star, Julianne Hough?
It’s been great! She’s an absolute true professional; she comes to work every day fully focused and she’s an amazing dancer. She’s beautiful, she had a lot of weight on her shoulders for this role. It’s her first big thing and she’s kind of famous already, so if she messes up, there’s a lot riding on it. And she didn’t, she was awesome.
You and Julianne recently visited Philadelphia, what did you do while in town?
They got us a Philly cheese steak from Pat’s–it was just a cheesy, sloppy mess and it was so friggin good! We went to the Children’s Hospital there as well–me and Julianne –so that was a cool experience too.
You have been featured as a dancer in music videos with Madonna, Mariah Carey, Chris Brown, Prince, and the Pussycat Dolls. You also toured with Justin Timberlake; what did you learn from your time on the road?
I would say just how to handle being in the light. Dancing for Justin was the best experience ever not only because I was obsessed with his music and the choreography they were doing but the way he handles himself. He’s like the most famous dude on the planet and he’s humble as hell and he looks you in the eye when he talks to you. (He) brought me to his family’s house; he’s so down to earth, he’s exactly what I would want to emulate if I was ever in a position like that.
What are you working on next?
I’m attached to a film called, Someone in the Dark and I’m reading a ton of scripts and just trying to make more films.
BUZZ @ THE BEACH
For the November 11 weekend, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa will host Savor Borgata: A Taste of American Classics featuring chefs Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Michael Mina, Thaddeus DuBois, Michael Schulson, Stephen Kalt, Geoffrey Zakarian, Romeo DiBona and Marc Vetri. Also appearing at the Borgata are The Temptations, Jim Breuer and ATB. Former Grateful Dead members Phil Lesh and Bob Weir along with their band Furthur have a concert at Boardwalk Hall. The Pool After Dark welcomes reality TV couple Ice-T and Coco while Air Supply has a scheduled appearance at Resorts. Vince Neil has a show at the Golden Nugget and Kool & The Gang will perform at the Tropicana.