Tanisha Scott on That Drake Dance
The choreographer talks about shooting “Hotline Bling” and more.
Choreographer Tanisha Scott has made the footwork fancy on many a music video—including Beyoncé’’s “Upgrade U” and Rihanna’s “We Found Love” and “Rude Boy.” Add to that list Drake’s utterly meme-able “Hotline Bling,” in which the W Art cover star gets his groove on in a colorful, light-filled space. Here, Scott opens up about shooting the music video with Director X, and how she ended up with her own cameo appearance.
How active was Drake in the choreography?
He was like, “Okay T, this is what we’re going to do: we’re going to improvise and just roll with the energy.” Or, “I want you get on the ground for a moment and then I’m going to do something.” He was definitely in the driver’s seat. To me, it was as if he was talking to everyone and saying, “I am having fun!” Back in the day, hip-hop videos used to be so fun and that’s what he wanted to express.
How was working with Drake on this video different from other artists you’ve worked with?
One major difference is he’s a friend. He also respects me a lot and the work that I’ve done, and wanted to showcase that. He was like “You have do it, there’s no question. I have to do it right, and you’re the only person who can do this with me.”
Was it always the plan for you to be in this video?
Initially I was brought in to do choreography work with dancers, but then we decided the video should focus more around Drake having fun, being playful and letting loose. That end moment, he was like, “Hey T, you know that we have to pay homage to [Sean Paul’s] Gimme The Light and have a moment together?” I didn’t believe him, but he was serious! [Laughs]. What people don’t know is that it’s me and Director X at the end of that video.
What was the biggest challenge in shooting this video?
Working with those lights. They were very temperamental; it was like working with water. But while we were on set, there was a DJ and the atmosphere was fresh. There were no issues and everyone’s vibe was so cool. It wasn’t a big set either. There weren’t a million people there; no entourages. All the players were important to every aspect of the video. That’s why it feels so clean. It was like we’re here to work, we have a job to do but we had a good time doing it.
Read about 5 women who have created their own adaptations of “Hotline Bling” here.