Read our exclusive interview with choreographer Paul Becker, who has created routines for movies, television shows, concerts and music videos. His recently created choreographed such films as ‘Sucker Punch’ and ‘Hanna Montana: Best of Both Worlds.’ Becker also serves as the lead choreographer on the CW cheer leading series ‘Hellcats.’ Besides being a choreographer, he also serves as a horror movie movement consultant, and has worked on such films as last year’s ‘My Soul to Take’ and the upcoming ‘Cabin in the Woods.’ Becker discusses with us, among other things, how he creates the choreography, and how his mentor, director and choreographer Kenny Ortega, influences his work.

Shockya (SY): You serve as the lead choreographer on the CW cheer leading comedy-drama series ‘Hellcats.’ Where do you come up with the ideas for the cheers, and do the storylines influence your ideas for the routines??

Paul Becker (PB): The story lines always guide the choreography as there is sometimes dialogue during a dance. However I always take liberty in writing my own concepts when necessary. Each week I have to come up with new concepts, so it is quite a challenge.

SY: Do the show’s main actors, including Aly Michalka and Ashley Tisdale, actually perform the routines? If so, how long does it take to teach them the choreography??

PB: EVERYONE must perform their own dances. The lead actors dance just as much as the professional dancers. Everyone is at a different skill level so the teaching time varies.

SY: You started dancing at an early age in multiple styles, including hip hop, ballet and tap. What is your favorite style of dance, and when did you realize that you wanted to make a career out of dance??

PB: I actually don’t have a favorite style…it all makes me feel the same. As a child I was reassured that this is what I want to do every time I saw live performances of other male dancers. It made me realize that this is possible.

SY: You studied with director and choreographer Kenny Ortega. How has his style of choreography and dance influenced your work??

PB: Well Kenny is a genius, I just watch the man and learn a ton. Kenny is someone that I would like to follow in the footsteps of. Knowing him has influenced me into becoming a director.

SY: One of the projects who worked on with Kenny was the Jonas Brothers World Tour, which he served as a director. How is choreographing a world musical tour different than creating the routines for ‘Hellcats?’?

PB: Live shows have a different king of adrenaline filled energy of its own. I love the live show experience. I sit in the back of the arena and conduct the concert like an orchestra in my mind as I watch the final product. It is something about the instant reaction of the live audience that I love.

SY: You also choreographed the musical numbers in ‘Sucker Punch.’ Given that it’s a big-budget action-fantasy-thriller movie, were you given more creative freedom when you were forming the dances for the film than on ‘Hellcats?’

PB: I had a lot of creative freedom on ‘Sucker Punch.’ That is the great thing about Zack Snyder. He is so confident as a director that he lets the people he has hires have the creative freedom that they need.

SY: Another one of your recent projects was choreographing the first full length movie that was released exclusively on YouTube, ‘Girl Walks Into a Bar.’ What attracted you to an Internet movie, and did you use different techniques for it than your previous work??

PB: It is always exciting being the first to do anything….that and the director and star studded cast attracted me.

SY: You have also made a name for yourself as a horror movie movement consultant for such movies as last year’s ‘My Soul to Take’ and the anticipated upcoming film ‘Cabin in the Woods.’ What are some of your duties as a movement consultant?

PB: It is a combination of a choreographer and acting coach. I really help the actors find their inner beast/monster/zombie etc. It is so much fun.

SY: You received rave reviews for choreographing the music video for Michael Buble’s hit song ‘Haven’t Met You Yet.’What is it like knowing the public appreciates your work??

PB: Well I do everything for myself and them. It always feels good when people like what I do.

SY: You have also appeared as a guest judge on ‘So You Think You Can Dance Canada.’ What advice do you have for people aspiring to be choreographers??

PB: Do not give up….and study your craft….even if you think that you are the best.

Written by: Karen Benardello

Paul Becker
Paul Becker

By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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