Canadian drama The Next Step has struck a chord with millions of tweens and teens worldwide.
The series follows the lives of the A-Troupe dancers who strive to win a series of dance competitions while dealing with their own dramas and relationships. It’s a fly-on-the-wall mockumentary, shot in a reality TV style and a world away from the canned laughter of some overseas-made children’s shows aired in Australia.
Children, especially tween and teens, can relate to the dialogue and scenarios and many dream about being able to dance as well as the characters.
The Next Step is on Disney Channel in Australia and New Zealand, and is also broadcast on ABC Me.
Brittany Raymond plays popular character Riley on The Next Step and will star in The Next Step – Live On Stage alongside Trevor Tordjman (James), Jordan Clark (Giselle), Victoria Baldesarra (Michelle), Lamar Johnson (West), Isaac Lupien (Eldon), Myles Erlick (Noah), Briar Nolet (Richelle), Isaiah Peck (Henry) and Shelby Bain (Amy).
The 90-minute stage show will feature solos, duets, trios and group numbers, with choreography by Clark and Tordjman.
Joining The Next Step cast will be the Australian hosts of Disney Channel’s Hanging With Adam and Ash, Adam Roberts and Ash Wells. The duo is stepping away from the sofa and onto the stage to host the tour.
Raymond didn’t perform in The Next Step’s sell-out 2016 Australian tour and is looking forward to meeting the show’s many Australian fans this time around.
She credits the show’s writers and casting agents for the show’s worldwide success.
“The cast members all have something different that they bring to the show,” she explains.
“We’re all dancers, of course, but we also all have different personalities. The writers are incredible because at the auditions they chose the people who they felt would blend well together, and then they created characters around those personalities.
“They did such a great job creating these characters and giving them these incredible storylines. We all work so well together.
“We just clicked and it has made for such an incredible show.”
This on-screen chemistry, Raymond says, translates effortlessly to the live show.
“We’ve all been working together for about five years now, I think, so we all know each other really well, and so do our choreographers. We’re like a family.
“We have lots of fun on set, sometimes too much fun, I would say. There are days when we’re meant to film and we’re all just making bloopers and messing up and the director gets mad at us. And that’s when we have to pull it together.”
Raymond is a talented dancer and dance teacher who in recent years has caught the acting bug.
“When I was a kid I would play at home, putting together these dramatic storylines to act out. When dance got more hectic I started falling in love with the performing aspect of it,” she says.
“When I got onto The Next Step I was surprised to discover how much I loved to act. It was so great to learn and to try out this new skill that I wanted to develop. I started taking classes and fell even more in love with it.
”I’m fortunate to be able to do two things I love in the one job.”