It’s perversely fitting that we’re kicking off this Dance 100 preview with a poorly timed step: As TVLine’s recent Zoom interview with Ally Love began, we couldn’t wait to talk about the Netflix competition’s painful first elimination with one of the few people who already knew the episode’s outcome. After all, Love — best known as a Peloton fitness instructor — hosts the upcoming show, so there was no way we could spoil her… right?
Well, yes. But when we mentioned the name of the first choreographer booted from the series, which premieres Friday, Love’s eyes got wide. “No one in here knows,” she said, smiling as she indicated the other, multiple, apparently heretofore unspoiled off-camera people present on her end. “My whole team is like, ‘Wait, what?!'”
But Love didn’t build a massive following among the Pelo-faithful by letting unforeseen snags ruin the day. So while we died a little inside, she instantly smoothed everything over by launching into a (spoiler-free) discussion of her reaction to the show’s first castoff. “I cried,” she said. “I was gutted! I was like, “There has to be a mistake.”
With the vibe successfully restored (phew!), we went deep with Love about the show, in which eight choreographers compete for the ultimate prize of $100,000. Their judges? A cadre of 100 professional dancers who perform — and critique — the works the choreographers create.
TVLINE | Full disclosure: I’m a Peloton girl. Fully in. And because of that, I’m aware of how much you teach and how often you’re on the schedule. How did you make this hosting gig happen?
It wasn’t easy. The reality is that Peloton comes first, right? Peloton is my full-time job. I’ve been at Peloton seven years. We have a great team. Jen Cotter, who is our Chief Content Officer, she cares about every single instructor. It is her job, and she takes that seriously. [Dance 100] happened at a time where our company was going through a transition. We wanted to make sure that it was all hands on deck, right? Like, everyone was showing up on the platform… We had those real conversations. It was more of like, “Ally, we need you to be here. We need you to be present on this platform and do live classes. It’s your job,” and I thought that was a very fair conversation to have, because she was right.
Now, if the circumstances were different, and we were up and running and things were smooth, then maybe I could’ve left for three months or two months to go — because [Dance 100] filmed in London — to go to London and film. At the time, my visa wasn’t approved to teach in London. So, I could film in London, but I couldn’t teach from the studio. Now I can — because I’ve already taught in London, just now in December — but it was one of those things where we had that really tough grown-up conversation. It’s like, your full-time job is here. Your commitments are here. You need to figure it out, and that’s exactly what I did, Kim. Can I call you Kim, or do you like Kimberly?
TVLINE | I like Kim — and please tell me you’re going to use the words “boss up” in the rest of your answer.
But it was true! [Laughs] I had to boss up. I remember we had this conversation. It was like a get real conversation. I’m home on the couch with my husband, and I really was like, “You know what? It’s not going to work out.” … He was like, “Wait, what? And he was like, “No, no, no, no…” He’s like, “The only person that wants this to happen more than anyone is you…” And I was like, “Oh.” A little reminder to boss up then, OK. [Laughs]
… It was sage advice, and that’s what I took with me: How can we find the “yes” in here somewhere? And so, we spent, I promise you, eight hours on a Friday evening, my husband and I, talking through every circumstance to make three months work where I was on the schedule consistently enough… We like sent an email to everybody late on a Friday, like 1 a.m. Friday night, Saturday morning. Didn’t hear anything. And on a Tuesday morning, we got yeses from both of them.
TVLINE | As someone who’s seen you vamp during the pre-show period before Peloton classes, you seem like a very natural host for something like this. But at the same time, you have a background in dance, so did you have any FOMO while watching the dancers do their thing?
No. No FOMO. It’s a question that I’ve been receiving: “Did you want to just hit a step?” I mean, I dropped it low behind the scenes or on stage once in a while, but in all honesty, you know, things in due time. This is their time. It’s not my time. My time of making it as a dancer has passed. I get to do dance cardio with Usher on Peloton, you know? Hey, it’s not a bad life, right? When I want to dance, Peloton’s like go ahead and dance.
[Instead] I was really focused on “How can I bring good energy? How can I champion the dancers when they’re tired? How can I literally like perform my job so Netflix is happy?” Because I don’t know what they want. I’m trying to give them myself, and I want them to be happy, that my Peloton folks are proud of me, that the audience is engaged, and family’s proud of me. So, I was so focused on all of this that it was a little bit of like, just do a solid performance, girl. Like, be this solid host. Don’t be too much. Don’t be too little. Just be solid. It’s not about you. You are just the narrator.
TVLINE | I’m going to ask you a couple of housekeeping questions about the show. The choreographers do not get to choose music or their dancers?
No. I tell them the music that they get to dance to. It’s a random selection and I’m like, “Hey, choreographer. Here’s your music today.” And they either love me for it or they hate me for it.
TVLINE | And the choreographers are always perform in the dances they create?
Always.They have to choreograph and dance, and I think that that’s because it taxes them a lot, you know? Like, you can’t always watch the dance. You have to be in it and feel it. It leaves a lot of the opinions to the Dance 100.
TVLINE | In the premiere, though there are some moments that are more modern or balletic, most of what we see is pretty heavily hip-hop dancing. Is that the flavor of what continues throughout the season?
Yeah. I think what they do well is street dance/hip-hop, and that’s probably the highest theme. But the integration of different dance genres was — once you watch the whole season, and I noticed this in real time, some of it doesn’t make the edit — but the other Dance 100s were very keen on calling that out. So, when someone incorporated some type of dance that novice folks may not recognize, they were like, “Kudos to you for doing that because it’s not always easy. So it does get recognized by the professionals.”
TVLINE | I know pros can get a routine together pretty quickly, so how much time is it from the choreographer receiving the music to the group being on stage for the performance?
… It was one of those things where the time got shorter and shorter. I think the first dance they maybe got a couple days… three, four days to put it on the dancers. And then it got shorter and shorter, where there was a moment where I think it was probably 24 hours.
TVLINE | Just hearing that gives me secondary agita. Celine Edmondson is one of the choreographers, and she’s co-captain of the Brooklyn Nets’ dance team The Brooklynettes. You were on the dance team and now serve as Nets’ in-arena host — did you know her before the show?
I did! …Neither one of us knew that we were picked for the show, in terms of me being the host and her being a choreographer, until I brought it to the organization that I was leaving… I will say, it felt really lovely having a piece of home while we were filming… We felt very comfortable because we’re like, “I know that face. This face likes me. This face likes my face.” [Laughs]
TVLINE | I know the name of the show is Dance 100, but it did not really strike me how many people that is until everyone is gathered on stage.
TVLINE | That’s a lot of people! What was that like, from a production standpoint, of moving that many people around each week?
So, kudos to the production team in terms of making sure everyone was taken care of. Kudos to the styling team. Like, think of doing a show, and you have to style like eight people. That’s a lot already. Imagine you have 109 people, right? The host, [then] eight choreographers and 100 dancers. So, you have 109 people to put in wardrobe, and the wardrobe needs to be fly, and the choreographers have a vision, so they need to bring that to life. So, the styling team, we need to give them a shoutout, because they are often left behind. The crew, like the production made sure that the dancers were taken care of.
And I’m a champion of dancers. Dancers are fantastic at taking direction. So, we’re not necessarily gathering a bunch of regular folk who may not know what discipline is in a space like that. We are working with the best in the world. They know how to listen… They’re very disciplined. So it was a lot of self-monitoring and listening. Like, they did it. We were moving. It was impressive.