Why ‘Hit the Floor’ Executive Producer James LaRosa Is A Big Champion For Dance
Updated: Jul 24, 2020
Hit the Floor is back on the air with a brand new season and a brand new network. The basketball soap moved from VH1 to BET for Season 4 and creator and executive producer James LaRosa knows it was the right move for the series.
“It’s a show that could have been on BET from the beginning. The one edict that they wanted was to keep the show the same. They knew the fans loved it. They didn’t want us to transform the show into anything else,” La Rosa shared recently in an interview with Dance Dish. “They wanted Hit the Floor to be who we were. So, that’s what we’ve done.”
LaRosa and his all-female writing staff were able to deliver a season that is authentic to Hit the Floor fans. They were able to give the Devil Girls and their dancing the prominent role they deserved.
“BET has been incredible with the music that we use and the budget for production numbers has been completely the same as VH1, he explained. “We have the same choreographer, Michael Rooney, along with assistant choreographer Danny Valle.”
LaRosa believes it’s the dancing on the show that adds a special element by taking the story to another level. It’s why he gives equal importance to the words that he writes as to the movement that Rooney creates.
“There’s the beauty of dance and the adrenaline of dance. When you are in the middle of a dramatic storyline to detour into a dance number will put you in a certain place,” he said. “We take great pains to make the dance matter in the story. It elevates the show, even more, when you show 14 women, not only do an incredible, athletic number, it also has emotional stakes for one or more of the characters.“
Dance fans will be happy that most of the Devil Girls team in intact for Season 4, with a few terrific additions.
“Many of the dancers are back, but those routines that everyone knows and loves will be elevated, thanks to Teyana Taylor and Kyle Hart (Katherine Bailess), as captain of the Devil Girls. The dances may be a bit naughtier.”
Hit the Floor fans should expect some pretty epic dance routines coming their way this season. The first episode gave viewers a sizzling routine with motorcycles and moves that kicked the new season into high gear.
“Why not? I’ve always said the dance and the dancers are the lifeblood of the show. Any time that adds spectacle to the spectacle that’s already there — let’s serve it, “ he laughed.
In prior seasons, dance fans have seen Courtney Galiano and Allison Holker in the cast. Tiffany Maher was added in Season 2 and Dancing with the Stars troupe member, Britt Stewart, joined the series for Season 4.
“I’m a fan of So You Think You Can Dance and some of that show is in our DNA. I love watching those group numbers and that definitely inspired me when I was creating the show,” he explained. “Allison Holker is one of the greatest dancers on the planet. I just go blind when I see her dance, she’s that wonderful.”
LaRosa loves the diversity of work the dancers bring to the show — not all of them have a dance-competition background.
“All of the dancers who perform on So You Think You Can Dance know what it’s like to perform on that stage and bring a special type of experience,” he said. “We also have other dancers who bring the experience of dancing with a team or have toured with Beyoncé and Janet [Jackson]. We have all of those types of dancers and I love giving them acting opportunities — dancing is acting.”
The executive producer gives each member of the Devil Girls a speaking role once a season. It’s their opportunity to shine.
“You get new, interesting parts of their personalities and I think that adds to the show as well. I love it when Tiffany Maher gets to act. I love it when Ashley Everett gets to act. I love it when Courtney Galiano gets to act,” LaRosa shared. “You see them as these really fierce dancers and it allows you to understand that they also have a life. They are not just there to high kick.”
For viewers who are wondering how long the series will run on BET, LaRosa has big plans for Hit the Floor beyond Season 4.
“I already have Seasons 5, 6, 7 and 8 in my brain,” he summed up — proving he’s a dancer at heart.
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