Q+A: Dancing Queen
Introducing France's newest - and possibly most limber - starlet Sofia BoutellaFeatured April 12
PARIS She's been a backing dancer for Madonna and performed gravity-defying moves in Nike adverts, but this month Sofia Boutella makes her debut as a leading lady. Starring in StreetDance 2 3D shouldn't be too much of a leap for this 30-year-old, however, as she's been busting freestyle moves since she was 15. We caught up with her to find out why she loves the French capital (where much of the film was set) and what the Queen of Pop has taught her...
You were raised in Paris. Why do you love it? "Paris is the most beautiful city in the world. It's the history, the architecture and just the feel of it - those are the things that I miss when I'm not there."
How did you first get into street dance? "Where I used to live, in the 15th arrondissement, there was this dance studio where I would go during breaks from school. I saw these guys practising freestyle, and I kept on going back as I was fascinated by the freedom of what they were communicating. You look at young dancers in Paris today and it's the same - there's this desire to express themselves through dance, which is amazing."
Where can you see street dance in Paris? "Where I used to practise, at Châtelet-Les Halles in the centre of Paris, you'll find a lot of freestylers. I used to practise there, right under the movie theatre, and also at the Trocadéro opposite the Eiff el Tower."
Why is the city such a hotspot for it? "French people are really passionate about street dance. They do a lot of research into where it came from and what it means. They took it and owned it, to the point where even Americans come to France and are impressed by what dancers here do. In my opinion, it's the most consistent country in the world at this art form."
As a dancer, you've toured with Madonna. What's it like working with her? "She's a really hard worker and you kind of think: 'You don't need to work this hard,' because she already is who she is. But she still works with the same energy that she did when she was 20. She told me that, whatever you want to do, you have to earn it. If you use short cuts, the success you achieve will go away very quickly. It's a piece of advice that has stayed with me."
StreetDance 2 3D is in cinemas now.