tWitch! On Challenging Life Right Back, Fresh Chances & Making His Mark | Inside Dance

tWitch! On Challenging Life Right Back, Fresh Chances & Making His Mark | Inside Dance

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tWitch!| On Challenging Life Right Back, Fresh Chances & Making His Mark

By Christy Sandmaier

Stephen “tWitch” Boss is living his best life and loves watching the dance tide turn. He’s true to himself, his family, his roots – everything that has shaped his character, success and stardom, and allows him to simultaneously be a star and role model. Genuine to the core, you can practically hear him smile on the phone. This self-driven SYTYCD Season 4 runner-up is anything but static. He has been a featured DJ on The Ellen DeGeneres Show since 2014, starred in the Step Up franchise, graced the big screen in Magic Mike XXL and has a stacked studio full of projects in the pipeline. His latest venture takes him back to where it all began—on SYTYCD—but this time as part of an all new panel of judges. 

And it takes two to make it work. With wife, best friend and partner Allison – herself a SYTYCD season 2 contestant, Season 7 (that’s where they met) and 8 All Star, and DWTS pro – by his side, the two have also created their own best life together with their family which includes daughter Weslie (Allison’s 7 year old – daughter from a previous relationship) and their son Maddox. Board games and bowling nights with the kids and long drives with Allison help them all stay grounded before the height of the days’ schedule kicks in. To relax, tWitch and Allison might, “just get in the car and just kind of go. Given the level of work we’re doing, when we have off time, we like to be unscheduled.” 

Unscheduled, and maybe cooking. Son Maddox loves making breakfast with Dad and so, even with all of the coming and going, new family and fatherly traditions are emerging, “Spending the morning together. Just having that time… it’s the most important thing.” And at the end of the day, making a mark is important, he says, but the common thread is forever his gratitude.

The following interview ran in the July 2018 issue of Inside Dance Magazine.

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Do feel like your time as a contestant on SYTYCD was a lifetime ago? Tell us about you then, and you now…

Me then and me now… the common thread is still gratitude. When I auditioned for SYTYCD the third time for Season 4, I was at a point where the work had not started to gain momentum on its own… I was still struggling, working a lot of different jobs. I hadn’t found any kind of foothold yet. Had I not made the show [for Season 4], I promised myself that if I got sent home, I would march myself right to the Navy office and sign up and take off. Those were the stakes. I am a person of extremes, I can’t live in a gray area for a very long time. I challenged life right back. In a high-stake situation where I might not make this show, I promised myself I was not going to struggle anymore. I got on the show and continued to go on to be a runner up… a lot of people would tell me, “I voted for you,” or, “You should have won…” and I was like, ‘Ya’ll don’t understand, I did win.’ I won by making the show and having things roll out after that.

And I’d imagine, a whole new level of recognition followed quickly… Do you think you were prepared for all the new opportunities?

The platform that SYTYCD gave me was a fresh chance. I could go to a convention and already have people know who I was and have that opportunity to do something that I love–to teach. The show put me in the position where I wasn’t before. I always wanted the chance to act, to host… but never could deliver those things. When you’re unknown, you rarely get through the door. It’s the gift that keeps giving. I met the love of my life on the show, and we went on to start a family. I met Ellen because of the show… a great mentor and great friend. Inadvertently, these weren’t things that were on my vision board. Just a steadfast follow-through of passions I pursued, and really worked out. 

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Do you ever stop and think about what life would have been like if you hadn’t been runner-up and on that path?

Yes, but the thing that remains true is the gratitude and humility… I know that life would be very, very different right now, and I don’t even mean good or bad… I know I would have found myself wherever I was and made the most of it. I can’t say I would have found a way to exercise my passion in the military, but I would have embraced everything. I’m still grateful for all opportunities and loving everything. There’s also… a misconception that if you win a show, everything comes your way easily, as opposed to you still hitting the ground running and making it work. Looking back, getting runner-up was one of the biggest blessings of my life because I hit the ground running harder than I was before I got on the show. It’s an incredible position to be in because you can still make so much happen–no problem.

How do you feel “reality” dance shows have impacted the industry and dancers around the country… has it been a healthy thing overall to have these new platforms to perform?

I came from a time even before YouTube. So, the idea of dancing for a career was not widely known. Before, if you said you had a career as a dancer, you’d get a lot of confused faces and now you can say, “I’m a dancer” and people kind of know what you’re talking about. They’re familiar with Dancing with the Stars, SYTYCD, World of Dance which is incredible now… that common knowledge of dance, traveling to conventions and what you can do with dance has exposed the masses to the opportunities. It’s done a lot for guys to not be afraid to say they want to dance. It’s an easier reference for the parents maybe, for boys who want to dance. The tide is turning, it hasn’t turned yet, but it’s turning

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Do you have a favorite teaching moment, or one as a role model that has really stood out to you?

It’s more vague than specific, but I really love dancing together in my classes. I just like to turn on a song – whatever I’m feeling – and to look out in a crowd and see what they start doing, how they start moving. It’s those moments where I can see the most tangible amount of joy. My goal, every time I teach, is to at least catch people in their essence one time.

Is that because your own experiences? Did someone help create a similar moment for you?

I remember feeling that joy from some of the first dance classes that I was able to take before I tried to pursue dance professionally. When I was in high school, I remember feeling… like my world was rocked. Like picture frames, you just remember those moments. I remember Geo Hubela teaching choreography to Jennifer Lopez’s “Love Don’t Cost a Thing.” Every time I hear that song I think of Geo. And these conventions, they can be the highlights of these kids’ lives. It’s a place where they’re around like-minded people that love dance just as much as they do. 

So, at 16, when you started, what was it about dance that made you fall in love?

I always was a dancer, I just… as a point of reference, just didn’t know I could do it until I was 16. I came up in a theater program and dance was something I loved. But even if you have it naturally you have to practice choreography. You can dance really, really dope when you’re by yourself but when you’re learning choreography, it’s a different thing. My first experience learning choreography, I struggled. But my first performance I was cast in The Wiz for that theater department and then from there that’s when the snowball effect happened… school, jazz at the studio, dance team and fast forward to dance competition, Chatham University… study, study, study! I was in LA, I was right in the middle of the industry and in the community dancing and I realized I was born to do this. 

Do you have a key moment when you went from thinking about the choreography to performing it? 

I remember when I hit the stage in The Wiz, I had that feeling… I felt so in tune and so connected. I wanted to be good because I had studied so much. I had that feeling that this is what it was all about… the same feeling I had watching artists like Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson, and different R&B artists. I love to rehearse, that’s my favorite part. And performing is being in the zone, but I’m thinking about it right until that moment.

With life so busy, how often are you in in the studio dancing?

Even if it’s not in the studio, I find time to move for at least an hour every day like I always have. I can dance in my living room, in my garage, a little bit on Ellen’s show. Outside on the sidewalk even. I love to get out and see what everyone else is up to. It’s also just a different phase of life right now. I see my friends winning and just crushing it… people I’ve known forever making it. To have and to see all of those things coming true for all of us, is incredible. I’ve never bought into what people thought I should be, I’ve just been true to the things I want to do and now, with my family, too. It’s just the ‘Bama boy in me!

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Photo Credits: Mike Rozman/NBC, courtesy Ellen Show, Disney’s Fairytale Weddings/ABC/Freeform, Adam Rose/FOX

Subscribe now to receive the April/May Issue of Inside Dance magazine at

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