It’s hard not to gawk at dancer Stephen Boss, a.k.a. tWitch, when he starts pop-and-lockin’ in the company lounge once his favorite song to strip to, Bando Jonez “Sex You,” comes on. It’s familiar territory for the So You Think You Can Dance alum, who snagged a major role as Malik in Magic Mike XXL, proving that eye candy comes in all different flavors.
Women have been fiending for their Kings of Tampa fix since the 2012 smash first glided across big screens. Now, with the addition of Childish Gambino, tWitch and Jada Pinkett Smith, the sequel starring Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Adam Rodriguez, and Kevin Nash finds the male strippers, er, entertainers, flaunting it all in Myrtle Beach, S.C. for a stripper convention.
Before the lights go down and the clothes come off for XXL (dropping July 1), tWitch two-stepped to VIBE HQ to discuss his humble dance beginnings, waxing and the best way to crank up the romance in any relationship. Ladies, this one’s for you.—Adelle Platon (@adelleplaton)
VIBE: Describe the moment you knew dancing would be your career.
tWitch: I knew when I was a senior in high school when I was actually cast in The Wiz. It was the first time I had to learn choreography and that’s when my mind was blown because other people in the cast were telling me about dance studios. They used to take dance [class] during the day, whereas I had no idea what a dance studio or dance classes were. The moment I found that out, my whole [mind] was blown. I started noticing background dancers in music videos and connecting the dots like, That’s the same person. That means you can have a career in dancing.
Were you classically trained before that?
I was not classically trained before that. I went to college for dance so I did take the basics of ballet, jazz, modern, a little bit of tap—I was so bad at tap.
Who were some of the dancers you aspired to emulate?
Wade Robson. Janet Jackson always had the illest dancers around her so Tyce Diorio, who’s also a choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance and danced for Janet at the time, and anybody that danced for Michael Jackson himself.
Any chance we can see you dance for Janet on her upcoming Unbreakable tour?
Had it been years ago, maybe, but that’s not what I’m going for anymore. I’m excited to see it, though. I will be in the crowd, for sure, singing along.
You were actually a finalist on The Wade Robson Project, and have been on So You Think You Can Dance and Star Search. What has been the hardest lesson from competing in front of millions on several national stages?
It’s just the perseverance. Also, it’s been a learning experience because you can’t just come on and dance, and forget that you have to perform. You also just can’t come on, just straight perform, and forget your skill in dance so combining the two was probably the hardest challenge. The first time I got out here, I did Star Search and was just dancing. I didn’t care where the cameras were. I was just all over the place and had no idea what I was doing so those things you slowly learn, the craft of being on-camera.
Let’s go back to the day you found out you would officially be in Magic Mike XXL. How do you explain to your wife that you’re going to be dancing for a bunch of ladies while half-naked?
It’s a funny story. So when [the original] Magic Mike came out, she was like, ‘Oh babe, I want to see Magic Mike. I was like, ‘You’re not gonna see Magic Mike. You have Magic Mike at home.’ So I gave her crap about that but when the opportunity to be in XXL came along, I was like, ‘So, babe, we need to watch Magic Mike.’ [Laughs] She was like, I’ma hold this over your head forever. But honestly, she was so cool about it and still so cool about it. I sent her a picture of me in my finale costume and I got the crying faces of laughter emojis so that was humbling but she’s so supportive.
You’re also a guest DJ on Ellen, where you got your first wax. Would you ever suggest to other fellas to try it at least once in their life?
Nah, nah. You don’t have to try it at all. Ever. I’m not even gonna say ‘unless.’ When all else fails, just shave because waxing is not it. The good thing about it was I’ve now become an advocate for anybody who says they don’t wanna wax anymore. Like you can get as hairy as you want to be. If that means you don’t have to wax, I’m all for it. It’s painful.
But at least you can say you’ve endured it. Now, you’re married to a dancer and your Magic Mike XXL co-star, Channing Tatum, is married to a dancer. Have there ever been any couple dance-offs or double dates?
There has not been any couple dance-offs or double dates and honestly, being married to a dancer, of course, we go out, we dance together, we have a good time but most of our dancing happens in the kitchen while we’re cooking dinner. It’s more like slow dancing to Frank Sinatra.
Describe the camaraderie among the guys in Magic Mike XXL. It’s a colorful cast but I can envision you all going on a brocation when the cameras are off.
That would be the group to do brocations with because everyone was so chill and down to earth. No egos whatsoever. Testosterone can run really high, dudes can get out of control especially when they think they’re competing against each other but [if there was] any competition, it was healthy and it was more supportive than anything. Stories for days, laughs, it was just a good time.
Speaking of healthy competition, were there any workout contests? It’s no secret that you’re all buff.
I was just trying to keep up with Joe [Manganiello]. He looks like Superman. I was just trying to be as cut as he was.
Guys aside, I feel like Jada Pinkett Smith was the real MVP in the movie. Did she become one of the dudes?
Yeah but she was still Queen Jada. Watching her work was incredible. She just brought a whole new life to that role, to the movie in general. She’s empowering, still sexy and has such a voice with everything she’s saying in the movie. It made us feel right about what we were doing and what we were “offering.”
I feel like the Magic Mike franchise comes down to this one message: understanding what women want. So what are your tips to men for upping the romance in a relationship?
Make an effort to take special note because that actually goes a long way. As tedious as it sounds, [keep] a little notebook for yourself of little moments, jokes, things that you maybe had a deep conversation about, things that you remember as really, really great things and make note. As much as you want to trust your brain to remember every little detail, it helps to have something to fall back on so when it comes time for gifts or little notes or anything like that, you have this whole catalog to look back on. You get to take her back down memory lane, which is all the more romantic.