Photo Credit: Matt Steffanina's Twitter @mattsteffanina
Matt Steffanina didn’t attend a prestigious dance school. In fact, he’s had no formal dance training whatsoever. He actually grew up in Virginia as a competitive snowboarder, and dance was far from his mind. But today, you and I know Steffanina as a choreographer, a dancer, a teacher, and the winner of one of the most popular reality competition shows on TV.
At age 18, Steffanina was exposed to break-dancing and became interested in the genre of hip-hop. He decided to teach himself b-boy moves by watching music videos on repeat at his house. After a few years, he started choreographing on the east coast and then made the big move to LA. Admittedly, Steffanina learned 80% of his dance knowledge in his first few months in LA. Before he was booking gigs, he took classes every day, for eight hours a day, then would continue practicing at home until 2 a.m.
Steffanina’s first job in LA may have been as Jay Leno’s breakdancing body double, but he went on to work for some of the biggest artists in the world. His credits include: Taylor Swift, SYTYCD, The Ellen Show, Step Up, Chris Brown, Krewella, Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa. When asked about working with these artists, Steffanina told youqueen.com that Chris Brown was the most hard-working, talented artist he’s worked with, and he also respected Taylor Swift a lot because she always rehearsed full-out with choreography.
Before being a dancer, Steffanina’s passion lies in teaching people how to dance. Because of this, he started two dance YouTube channels: Dance Tutorials Live and MattSDance. To date, he is the most followed dancer in the world with more than 10 million subscribers on YouTube and more than 1.5 billion views on his videos. Check out one of Steffanina’s latest videos below:
Through Steffanina’s social media success, he was chosen, along with his fiancée Dana Alexa, to participate in season 28 of The Amazing Race. Even though they weren’t favored to win, the couple pulled it out in the end and received the $1 million prize. Life for Steffanina went from being a well-known choreographer to an international superstar.
These days, Steffanina and Alexa work on a project called DanceCon where they fly to a random city and organize a dance workshop in a matter of days all through social media. Each workshop commences with the production of a concept video that is posted on Steffanina’s YouTube channels. DanceCon gives dancers who live in other cities besides New York and LA a chance to work with top choreographers.
Additionally, Steffanina is working on an app called JusMove, which is like Instagram for dancers. On this app, dancers can submit full length videos of their work in all genres of dance. “It’s a way for dancers to take dance from being a hobby to a career. You can be seen by choreographers and casting directors all over the world,” Steffanina told Dance Informa.
I think Steffanina is inspiring because he has built a viral career from teaching everyday people how to dance. Think about it. He had no formal training growing up, and now he’s providing training through YouTube to people of all ages, including kids who may not have the means to enroll in classes. This is a man whose life has come full circle because he took nothing for granted, worked harder than anyone, and always appreciated the opportunities that came his way. I think it’s time we all go learn a routine courtesy of Matt Steffanina.