Dance-based reality shows featuring tough coaches and teachers are currently the bread and butter of Lifetime, which has attracted legions of dedicated fans with such series as Dance Moms and Bring It! Now, the network is continuing the tradition with Step it Up, a hot new show about a dance instructor based out of Miami. We recently learned all about Lifetime’s latest and greatest dance sensation during an exclusive interview with Traci Young-Byron.
When fans of Bring It! think of Young-Byron, they picture a strict teacher who, like so many others, is unable to get along with coach Dianna. Turns out, there’s a lot more to this influential dance instructor. Like Abby Lee Miller and Coach D, she is a no-nonsense type of person, but she says the similarities end there. Young-Byron tells SheKnows that she places a greater emphasis on “breaking things down and demonstrating and explaining why.” She also believes that her dancers’ style is much different than that of the girls on Bring It! and Dance Moms, as her YCDT students mix street dance and classical training to great effect.
Another huge difference between Young-Byron and her counterparts on Lifetime? She actually gets along with the parents of her dancers. Coach D frequently bickers with the moms and Miller screams her head off at them, but Young-Byron says there is no such thing as drama with the parents at the YCDT. She says she “runs a tight ship” and that the parents “know straight out the gate that when you dance at YCDT… you don’t really have a voice in terms of telling [the teacher] what to do.”
Young-Byron sets the tone for the environment of her studio and she demands no-nonsense attitudes from both her dancers and their parents. In other words, if you expect to see a lot of mom-based drama on Step it Up, you’re bound to be disappointed. The show’s focus is on the dancers and definitely not on their parents.
So, if there’s not a ton of drama with the parents, what can viewers expect from Step it Up? According to Young-Byron, fans will see more of her strict teaching style and how it benefits the dancers at YCDT. She is looking forward to having a more accurate version of herself featured on the show, as she feels that viewers did not get to truly see her full personality during her brief appearances on Bring It! She will be as much of a “no-nonsense, tough dance teacher” as ever, but viewers will also come to realize that she is “uplifting [and] charismatic” and that she really does love her dancers. There are plenty of humorous moments on the show, as well as some that are very poignant. All in all, Young-Byron believes that Step it Up is a “well-rounded show.”
In addition to giving viewers a better look at Young-Byron’s teaching style, the series will highlight a number of the unique opportunities afforded the YCDT dancers. Young-Byron is very proud of her students, and she feels that their success is proof that her teaching approach is effective. Several former YCDT dancers have made their mark in the entertainment industry, having performed with Beyoncé, on the Miami Heat dance team and even on Broadway. From commercial dance to the classical realm, Young-Byron’s alums are represented “all across the spectrum of [professional] dance… there are many different avenues they’ve decided to take.”
Whether you love or hate her teaching style, it’s obvious that Traci Young-Byron is not your average dance instructor. Check her and the YCDT out on Step it Up, premiering on Lifetime on September 25 at 10/9c. Step It Up will move to its’ regular time slot, Friday, at 9/8c, starting on October 2.