Dance, music and spoken word all play a key part in Starz’s “Blindspotting.”
The series adaptation was created by Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs, who wrote, produced and starred in the original film, and picks up six months after the movie’s timeline. Ashley, played by Jasmine Cephas Jones, and Miles (Casal) — her partner of 12 years and father of their son — grapple with incarceration, and are forced to move in with Miles’ mother and half-sister.
Choreographer Jon Boogz, who worked with partner Lil Buck on the show’s dance sequences, says the show proves that there are no boundaries to what street dance can do. Boogz says, “Our life goal is to change people’s perception of the art form of dance and the stories that it can tell.”
Boogz is particularly proud of the sequence he and Buck worked on during episode four, “The Four Hustlateers,” which is a dance depicting the friendship between Miles and Diggs’ Collin, and takes place inside a house. The episode is steeped in nostalgia as Ashley, Janelle (Candace Nicholas-Lippman), Rainey (Helen Hunt) and Earl (Benjamin Earl Turner) reminisce, mainly through the lens of their teenage years. It’s ultimately an homage to the film.
“It wasn’t even a scripted scene at first, Rafa pulled us into the room,” Boogz says.
With that, Buck and Boogz started working on the routine with an idea that each room would represent a different stage of Miles and Collin’s maturity: “We wanted the dance to reflect the dynamic of friendships, love, bickering and all things that best friends go through.”
They didn’t have a lot of time to prepare, but that’s where their friendship came into play, Buck says.
“We were able to talk to everyone in the room about this idea,” he says. “We come from a background of freestyle dance. So when we’re dancing and doing things like this, we have to come up with different things to do on the spot.”
Buck adds, “We’ve been around each other for so many years, that we can get a lot done in a short amount of time. It took us 10 minutes to come up with this.”
Although the piano piece had no lyrics, while putting it together, Boogz and Buck used music that inspired them. “We put a track on, and we floated around ideas just to see what would happen. We tried it out a few times and it ended up coming out beautifully.”