‘Cobra Kai’ Star Tanner Buchanan Won Tap Dancing Contests Before His Karate Days

Tanner Buchanan learned Karate for Cobra Kai. He’s also told Showbiz Cheat Sheet about his musical talents. Buchanan has even more hidden talents than we knew. In a recent interview, he discussed tap dancing as a kid, and the competitions he won as a dancer. 

Cobra Kai: Tanner Buchanan
Tanner Buchanan | Guy D’Alema/Netflix

Buchanan was a guest on Anna Faris’s Unqualified podcast on Aug. 16. Faris asked Buchanan about his dance background and he obliged with stories of his championships, worthy of Cobra Kai’s All-Valley Karate Tournament.

Where did ‘Cobra Kai’ star Tanner Buchanan grow up?

Before he came to Hollywood, Buchanan lived in Ohio. Buchanan had a big family and wanted to follow in their footsteps. 

“I grew up with mostly women in my life,” Buchanan told Faris. “All my cousins were women and they danced. I’m the only child so my cousins to me were like siblings. They’re all older than me so I looked up to them. Obviously, when you have older siblings you want to do what they do. Coming from a small town where it’s midwest, it’s all sports if you’re a guy, you’re a manly man. It’s that whole thing but that’s not what I wanted to do. I wanted to perform and I was different. I was the only and first boy to dance in our town for years.”

There was also dance in the generation older than Buchanan, but neither of his parents pursued show business.

Mary Mouser and Tanner Buchanan training
L-R: Mary Mouser, Ralph Macchio, Tanner Buchanan | Bob Mahoney/Netflix

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“My mom danced as well when she was younger but they both don’t like the camera,” Buchanan said. “No one likes to be the center of attention so I don’t quite know where I got it from.”

Tanner Buchanan took dancing seriously 

Tap dancing wasn’t just a whim for Buchanan. He trained for competitions at the best dance school Ottawa, Ohio had. 

“So there was Center Stage Dance Academy,” Buchanan said. “Jill Kuhlman was my dance teacher. She taught everybody but obviously I danced with girls all the time because there was no other guy. But I got into it and I actually got into competitive dance. I would travel around Ohio and go to dance competitions. I’d have my solo piece and then I would have a dance with girls.”

You’re the best around, nothing’s gonna ever keep you down

The Karate Kid showed Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) win the All-Valley Karate Tournament in a montage. Cobra Kai followed that tradition in season 1 and season 4 promises to feature another tournament. Buchanan had a leg up, pun intended, in those Ohio dance competitions.

Tanner Buchanan watches Ralph Macchio pay tribute to Mr. Miyagi
L-R: Tanner Buchanan and Ralph Macchio | Bob Mahoney/Netflix

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“When I danced with the girls, yeah, I would [win],” Buchanan said. “You’re thinking midwest, Ohio, not many boys danced. So when the judges saw there’s a boy dancing, and it’s cute, so I won quite a bit. I would basically have rehearsal every day after school. That probably helped too.”

Source: Anna Faris is Unqualified podcast