hope you were able to see our first Movie
in the #1 box office
comedy for April, 2003;
(OK, OK, so it wasn't a 'GREAT' movie ...but would I have gotten so much
face-time PLUS in
the trailer if it actually WAS?! ...NADA!!)
'Head Of State'
(followed by a tiny bit of face-time in the Ocar®-winning
Clooney, Amanda Peet and Matt Damen flick, "Syriana"®)
"Head Of State Photo Gallery"
including all of the Washington DC dancers by
clicking on the last few photographs at the bottom of this page.
"Head Of State"
was the 1st major motion picture gig for many of us Ballroom dancers from DC as WASP'y and "more sophisticated"
(to be politically correct Central Casting called us "more sophisticated" for the casting call though they really meant "older")
black-tie fundraiser type Hip Hop dancers, performing under the direction
of renowned "DreamGirls" choreographer, Fatima Robinson. We danced to
Nelly's "Hot In Here" in the film that starred, was directed by and written by Chris Rock & also starring Bernie Mack. My partner, Helaine and I chose to learn all of the six couples' dance routines assigned separately to each couple by Ms Robinson after watching us perform them as a group. Because of that decision, she was able to dance with me in the film after they loved our duo (which hadn't been originally assigned by Fatima. I was directed to dance the 'Harlem Shrugs' solo, but we decided the two of us together would be much more fun ...and after seeing us, both Fatima Robinson and Chris Rock agreed wholeheartedly). Because of that decision to be overly prepared, I was actually able to land a second cameo performance with a second partner, Sharon Savoy, after some complications about costuming arose at the last minute on set during the filming. The complete experience was way too much fun for any one person to have, especially when they used us in the trailer (which included the 'crypt Walks' performance that originally wasn't even assigned to me) on every TV and movie screen across this country for over a month and a half. Friends and family from not only DC but across America started to call and email asking "Was that you I just saw on TV?!" or "in the movie theatre?!!" or "on HBO?!" ....For someone just wanting to be an extra in a major moton picture, this whole process was way too much fun. In addition to our surprising front-and-center performances in the film, we were also in a number of scenes throughout the 'Electric Slide' segment and received credits, SAG wages (as opposed to the $65/day as extras) and for some of us even 'IN THE TRAILER'! ... which was the biggest shocker....PLUS RESIDUALS! ...and we 'STILL' get tiny little residual checks [though the first ones were much larger] years later whenever anyone buys a cd or watches it on pay TV or HBO. So please! .....give one to all of your friends and we'll get EVEN MORE!!!
Head of state - Dance Scene on YouTube
( "It's Getting Hot in Here...
... so take off all your clothes"...
I am gettinnng so Hot;
I'm gonna' take my clothes off...
"It's Getting Hot in Here...
so take off all your clothes"...
I am gettinnng so Hot;
I'm gonna' take my clothes off...
You can see the Washington DC Ballroom dancing WASP'y and "More Sophisticated" (they really meant
"Older", but Central Casting used the words "More Sophisticated"
to describe the band of baby-boomers that they were looking for. A description
much more "Politically Correct" than seeking "Older"
performers) Black-tie fund-raiser type Hip Hop dancers in the movie
trailer for "Head Of State" by visiting
visit our Head Of State page, including the movie trailer on IMDB,
the Internet Movie Data Base at
Also, watch the movie on HBO and Pay TV...
And you might as well buy a copy of the DVD while you're
at it for both yourself and everyone on your birthday, wedding, anniversary
and holiday gift lists ...
(... especially since we're still getting residuals for
HBO, Pay TV & DVD sales!!.....which
means if you purchase it, we'll get EVEN MORE!....)
(...click on the
photos below to visit the "Head Of State" photo gallery...)
DVD and video are out and available anywhere...(You can also order it
online at www.DreamWorks.com/HeadOfState/
We're the WASP'y and "more sophisticated"
black-tie fund-raiser types who go Hip Hop as the
first black Presidential candidate Chris Rock bribed the DJ to leave and
then played Nelly's "Hot
In Here" for everyone to dance to.
In case you missed seeing those
HOT!! Hip Hop moves on the movie trailer, which hit every movie screen
and TV channel in the country through February, March and early April
of 2003, you can find some of what you'll be learning by clicking on the
"Head Of State" trailer site at www.Movies.Yahoo.com,
and my own personal "Head Of State" profile at www.IMBD.com,
where any movie trailer ever made is accessible
and available "ad infinitum".
View the movie trailer
(including most of our Washington DC WASP'y and
"more sophisticated" black-tie fund-raiser type Hip Hop dancers)
and/or purchase your copy
of the "Head Of State" DVD at www.DreamWorks.com/HeadOfState/
You may also find the trailer "ad infinitum", along with the
trailers of every movie ever made at www.Movies.Yahoo.com,
(plus all of our Hip
Hop dancers are still getting residuals!!....
...so watch it on HBO, pay TV and when it comes out on national TV.....
and while you're at it,
buy all of your friends and loved ones DVD's for special events such as
birthdays, weddings, anniversaries,
and during the holidays! ..... and we'll get even
Head of state - Dance Scene
I wrote the following description
of my seeing the trailer
for the first time in my February 6th, 2003 “DC DanceSPORT News”
ACTUALLY GOING TO BE “IN THE MOVIES”!!!…
At about 3:00am last Thursday morning I
sat working on a few dance class marketing projects at the computer while
the TV was on behind me (something that I often do throughout the night
when I'm too wired to sleep after teaching late) when I couldn’t
help hearing Pat O'Brian of “Entertainment Tonight”
announce the upcoming new Chris Rock movie, “Head
Of State”. They said it was one in which "Chris Rock
not only starred, but also the first one which he both wrote and directed”.
Naturally I stopped what I was doing and began watching since I, along
with a dozen others of us from Washington DC had been taped in
a segment of this movie as “Specialty Dancers”
(That’s how Screen Actors Guild described us in our final contracts)
about a half year earlier in Baltimore. We only intended to volunteer
as unpaid “Extras”, but we were ultimately "hired"
as WASP’y and more sophisticated
(“older” is the more appropriate description
of what they were looking for, but the words that they actually used out
of kindness were “more sophisticated”.
The first time I remember ever getting such an incredible opportunity
to do something because I wasn't too young) black-tie fund-raiser types
who could go into our Hip Hop routines when Chris Rock decided to liven
up the not-so-exciting party with a little "Hot In
Here" by Nelly. At the time that we taped the movie in October
of 2002, each one of us naturally had remote aspirations of actually being
seen in the final cut of the film when it eventually came out. Aspirations
which we knew all too well seldom come to pass after the editing process
As the story of “Head
of State” on “Entertainment Tonight”
unfolded, telling about Chris Rock portraying himself as the first black
U.S. Presidential candidate, I was nearly blown away when there on the
TV screen was one of my former students, Victoria
Chapman!! She had been a student of mine for some time in Viennese
Waltz and after getting my email announcing the Casting call at our event
she not only made it as one of the chosen few for the segment (for which
they took nearly 4,000 applicants) but now she was actually going to be
in the movie! She was with the 2 other “more sophisticated”
women (Victoria was blonde, one was red-headed and the third one, Debbie,
had very brilliant white hair that could be seen from across the room…which
is undoubtedly why Chris Rock pulled her out of the crowd to do this final
“right-in-front-of-the-camera” cameo ending to the segment.)
As I watched, Victoria and the 2 other WASP'y and "more sophisticated"
ladies were suggestively gyrating and singing “I
am getting sooo hot…I’m gonna’ take my clothes off...”
to Nelly’s very popular and Grammy-nominated R&B hit “Hot
in Here”, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing…not
only were they obviously going to be in the movie, but here was Victoria
and the other two ladies right in my own living room and right on my own
TV in the movie trailer!
Victoria and her dance partner, Jim, had
come to a casting party with Central Casting that I and another dance
teacher, David Flynn, had put together at the Barking Dog
Restaurant and Lounge in Bethesda, Maryland where we were hosting
a weekly Salsa and Hustle party. She came to audition for the movie after
reading about it in this very “DC DanceSPORT News”
(which just goes to show you. You must always read your “DC
DanceSPORT News”…you never know what you’re going
to miss!!). As I watched, I was excited beyond description to see that
not only had Victoria been chosen to be in the film from that event, but
that she also received a speaking role singing "Hot
In Here" during the taping of the movie at the last minute
(a part of the segment that Chri Rock hadn't even planned for the movie
until he noticed the 3 contrasting and WASP'y looking ladies on set and
pulled it together within minutes right in front of us. In spite of that,
it truely turned out to be the most fun and memorable segment of the whole
film!)…and now here she is in the PROMO of
the movie!!…a promo that would probably be seen on every
movie and TV screen across the country at one time or another for the
next year...each time this movie was advertised or discussed by
the endless list of movie reviewers around the world. By now I was really
bouncing off the walls from excitement when suddenly the trailer clip
switched…..and once again I couldn't believe what I was seeing!
There was none other than myself and one of my fellow dancers from the
movie set, Sharon Savoy, dancing the Crypt Walks,
also to Nelly’s “Hot In Here”!!
Already three of us from that little casting party were not only pretty
much guaranteed to be in the final cut of the movie, but here we are making
it into the movie’s promotional trailer! What a rush! Of course
my first response was to call omeone and especially the other dancers
who surely had no idea, as of yet, what had transpired. But then who can
you call at 3:00am on Thursday morning? Needless to say for the rest of
the night I continued bouncing off the walls in total disbelief, overwhelmed
by the idea of actually making it into the trailer of a major motion picture!
It soon became pretty obvious that sleep was definitely going to be a
remote possibility for the rest of that night.
In the trailer clip, Sharon and I were
in the middle of the beautiful black and white marble floor of the Pikesville,
Maryland mansion of the movie set. We were both unbelievably in-sync doing
the 100-mile-an-hour and pretty complicated “Crypt
Walks”, Hip Hop moves that the very accomplished and respected
Hip Hop choreographer, Fatima Robinson from L. A., taught us before the
taping and “God, it looked good”!! Sharon
was in her sexy ball gown and I was in my tuxedo and there we were, with
literally close to a hundred people, also in tuxedos and ball gowns, surrounding
us while watching and smiling and gyrating right along with us. Since
Sharon and I had never practiced or danced this figure together before
the actual taping, I was genuinely amazed as I watched at how perfectly
synchronized we were in our movements. Our little feet went up and down
like pistons and they were synchronized in perfect time. I was immediately
impresed at a glance and could instatntly see why they chose to use it
in the trailer. Not only were our feet moving up and down together so
perfectly, but the dance had this little bounce every so often that we
both nailed together with absolute precision. The segment was only a flash
of the trailer and didn’t last for more than a fraction of a minute,
but Man were we good!! Who would have guessed when
we were taping the film that we might get such a prime spot and that it
would even make it into the trailer?!!
As I watched the clip, it brought back
flashes in my mind of when John Travolta and Karen Lynn Gorney were on
the set of the ‘70’s movie, “Saturday
Night Fever”!! I have to admit that when we originally taped
that scene, I couldn’t help thinking at the time while everything
was happening on the movie set that this must have been exactly how John
Travolta felt with everyone standing around watching during his
taping of that movie segment. It was almost eerie to feel that same way
again as I watched the promo on TV. It reminded me of the scene of him
and Karen Lynn Gorney in the middle of the dance floor doing their solo
“How Deep Is Your Love?” Hustle routine, which was
performed to the song of the Bee Gee's. I've always
wondered when watching that movie what it must be like doing your duo
routine right out there in front of everyone and the thought of it both
during that movie and now here on this set to me was one of being a little
frightening. The choreographer from LA who worked with us before and during
the movie taping had actually thrown this particular dance part at me
at the last minute due to some unfortunate costume clashes for the original
dancers. It happened after she saw me off to one side of the movie set
by myself practicing my Crypt Walks. The “Crypt Walks”
weren’t originally my assigned part, but before we actually
taped the movie and after our group rehearsal I decided to learn them,
along with everyone else’s dance roles, in case they asked us to
“just dance” for 5 minutes. I didn’t want to be doing
the same thing over and over again and felt we’d have a better chance
getting in the final cut if we were really prepared for whatever might
happen, including some variations in our dancing.
Consequently when Helaine (another dancer from the Chevy
Chase Ballroom at that time who partnered with me during this complete project)
and I rehearsed during the two days before the taping of the movie, we
decided to recall and practice all six couples' different dance parts.
Little did we know how fortunate that decision would become. When Chris
Rock and his co-director indicated problems with the ladies' miss-matched
costumes for the Crypt Walks, Fatima
Robinson who couldn't get any satisfaction from the directors watching
the monitor in the adjacent room, saw me off to one side in my own little
world practicing that very part. I had completely tuned out what they
were doing on the set, since this segment didn't involve me, and there
I was behind the camera practicing and trying to remember how to do the
the Crypt Walk patterns that Helaine and I had worked on during the two
days of rehearsal that she and I did together. Fatima immediately came
over to me once she could see what I was doing and said in a slightly
demanding tone as she stood looking over me with her hands
on her hips “You can do this, can’t
you?”, almost with a tone of amazement. My
instant reaction was that I felt like the kid in grade school who got
caught red-handed by a teacher doing something that he wasn’t supposed
to be doing.
I replied to her under my breath in a somewhat
insecure manner, not knowing what I might be getting myself into, “Well
I’m not sure" I said. "I could do
As she took my hand right on the set and walked me to the center of the
ballroom floor with everyone standing around us (also like the teacher
used to do when you got caught doing something that you weren't supposed
to do), I couldn’t help but think to myself “Now
what have I gotten myself into?”. I soon had flashbacks and
memories of the child who had done his homework well and now the teacher
was about to make a spectacle of him right in front of the whole class
only to cause scorn and contempt from everyone else in class during recess.
And at that moment that was not a pleasant thought!
It meant that now I really had to get that little very fast and very complicated
dance pattern down pat, as well as to learn and try to coordinate some
last-minute arm movement changes that the choreographer had made right
there in front of all of those 100 or more people watching. I instantly
couldn't help but feel as I saw everyone in the crowd watching us in the
center of the dance floor "So this is how John Travolta felt in Saturday
Night Fever!". It was actually quite terrifying. However after subconsciously
ordering myself to "Snap out of it!", I suddenly came to the
realization of what an opportunity this might possibly be. Immediately
I made up my mind to try to completely tune out all of the distractions
(which were many with over a hundred people in ball gowns and tuxedos
standing around and watching, not to mention all of the camera and technical
people and make-up artist!) until I got it right. It was as though all
of a sudden every one of those eyes and faces disappeared and there were
only 3 of us in the room. My focus was now on nothing more than the requests
of the choreographer and on my connection with my brand new dance partner
(whom, by the way I had never before danced with in my life!)….And
IT WORKED!! And now there I was…right on NATIONAL
TV..in my own LIVING ROOM!!…in the
trailer of a MAJOR MOTION PICTURE!!!
So it is, they say, that everyone gets
their 15-minute Claim-To-Fame at some time in their
life. Well I guess this must've been mine. And what luck to have my 15
minutes of fame to be caught on tape and included in the trailer and all
of the promotional ads played over and over again in every movie theatre
and TV screen accross the country, as well as in the contents of a major
motion picture! (Who knows? Maybe someday they’ll actually call
me to put my hand prints on the "Hollywood Walk of Fame"!
Actually I’d settle for just my thumb prints…)
The DVD of “Head Of
State”, which finally became the #1 comedy
motion picture in the theatres in April of 2003, came out in November
of 2003. All 12 of us who were either from the Casting Party at The
Barking Dog or who were friends of mine from the Washington DC dance community
that Central Casting asked me to find later, were able to get into the
final cut of the movie (in addition to several other local
dancers, Russ & Rosalie, who were extras in the movie and made it
into several different sections of the film. Their pictures as well as
those of all of us are in the Head Of State photo gallery). This particular
dance segment of the movie is one that Chris Rock has claimed repeatedly
during interviews, including on Oprah, to be his favorite part of the
whole film (of course I agree!). My original dance partner, Helaine, whom
I had practiced with ahead of time and who decided to learn my originally
assigned solo part with me, was also featured in most of the promotional
advertisements on the TV promos doing our “houlder
Shrug” routine. Since I picked that part up instantly during
the early rehearsal, the choreographer wanted me to perform the Harlem
Shrugs solo in the film. I was convinced, however, that it would
go over so much better if we did it together and Helaine agreed wholeheartedly.
We worked on coordinating our moves together in different combinations
during the few days that we had before the actual taping We actually jumped
up to open the taping of the dance segment in the original filming together
with that routine since we were so confident with what we had put together.
As the first couple to perform during the taping we heard from by-standers
in the adjacent room that Chris Rock and his co-director went “Ballistic”
as they watched these WASP'y, more sophisticated, black-tie
and ball gown fund-raiser types on their
TV monitors. After which Chris Rock ran out onto the set yelling in his
excited, high-pitched Chris Rock tone of voice “OK
everybody, Heads up, Heads up! …this is it! We need to get this
right because this is what is going to make or break this complete segment
of the movie”! And "make"
that segment it certainly did, according to most. Everyone claims that
it's not only the most fun part of the whole film, but it got us all into
the movie trailer which was shown over and over and over again on every
movie and TV screen in America for over a month and a half, it got us
royalties (which we STILL get occasionally, belive it or not...though
not quite enough to retire on), it got us into the credits for the movie,
and the most fun part is that even today people come up to me who have
seen it on DVD or HBO and are blown away that we had such a fun-filled
front-and-center cameo performance in an actual major motion picture.
Our little trailer can be seen on the Steven
Spielberg web site, www.DreamWorks.com
, at www.Movies.Yahoo.com
where the trailers of every movie ever made are available from now to
eternity. (I pulled my name up on Google last week out of curiosity and
one of the web sites it brought up with was "www.Movies.com".
Amazing...all because of a brainstorm idea that it would be fun to be
an unpaid extra as a WASP'y, black-tie fund-raiser-type Hip Hop dancer
in a Chris Rock movie...)
After all of the attention that we've received from people who saw it
at the movies, not to mention the many who saw the trailer in all of the
theatres and on every TV screen in America several months before it came
out, the attention still persists many months later as more and more people
now are seeing it on the DVD. As late as December of 2003, a friend who
is attending college in Hawaii and who had come home for the Holidays
told of laying on a Hawaiian beach with her college friends watching the
movie on a huge screen as they were sun-bathing. Suddenly Helaine and
I appeared out of nowhere doing our shoulder shrug
routine front and center on the movie screen. She said she jumped up and
couldn't believe what she was seeing at first (and of course her friends
insisted she was on drugs as she claimed "I know that guy!").
She finally did believe it when Sharon Savoy and I came on again later
in the segment doing our "Crypt Walks" routine.
If nothing else, it's these little incidences that appear over
and over again that continue to make this an ongoing fun-filled , once-in-a-lifetime
In conclusion, I've decided one thing...well
(1) First and foremost there's no substitute to "being prepared",
which Helaine and I were after our decision to learn and practice all
six couples' dance routines after the initial training session with the
choreographer. Oprah has always claimed that "There is no such thing
as good luck. Good luck is nothing more than being prepared when an opportunity
arises". This is definitely a prime example of that. Had I only done
my assigned part solo as the choreographer assigned to me because I naturally
picked it up so well and so quickly, which is how she assigned all of
the choreography, it wouldn't have been nearly as fun as it was for Helaine
and I to do the Harlem Shrugs together. Plus I never would have been prepared
for the segment that actually made it into the trailer, the Crypt Walks
with Sharon Savoy.
(2) And my second conclusion from all of this is that I'm more than ever
in complete agreement with the incomparable Ethel Merman as she belted
out the words of the 1954 Irving Berlin movie of the same name, "There’s
NO business like SHOW business, there’s NO business I KNOW…!”
What a fun-filled 15-minute “Claim-To-Fame”
that was!...and to get it on film and into a major motion picture so it
will be seen again and again is literally too much to ask for! (and not
to be greedy, but since I did such a good job at it
shouldn't I deserve another one, someday soon, even though everyone supposedly
only gets only one?!! ......and hopefully VERY SOON?!!!)
( "It's Getting Hot in Here...
... so take off all your clothes"...
I am gettinnng so Hot;
I'm gonna' take my clothes off...