‘Work It’: How Much Dance Experience Did Sabrina Carpenter Really Have Before Getting Cast in the Netflix Movie?

In Netflix’s brand new dance flick Work It, actor/singer Sabrina Carpenter stars as Quinn, a straight-A high school student who dreams of going to Duke University. After she fudges her way through an interview at her dream school, Quinn is dead-set on making it into a popular dance competition to impress the admissions officer. Liza Koshy, who plays her best friend Jasmine in the movie, in Work It, co-stars with Girl Meets World alum, Carpenter. Jasmine teaches Quinn — who has two left feet — how to dance, and she improves considerably throughout the movie. But what is Carpenter’s actual dance background?

‘Work It’ lead cast member Sabrina Carpenter talks her previous dance experience

Sabrina Carpenter and Liza Koshy in Work It
Liza Koshy and Sabrina Carpenter in Work It | Elly Dassas/Netflix

In a recent Cosmopolitan profile of Carpenter, the publication noted that her role in Work It is “delightfully ironic.” That’s because she’s been dancing for years.

“Sabrina, who’s been dancing since before she started acting and has the YouTube videos to prove it, had to pretend to be a bad dancer for more than half the movie to be able to make it work,” Cosmo reported. Indeed, there are several clips of the Work It star on YouTube working on her moves from a very young age. While she doesn’t have the relevant dance team experience as her co-star Koshy, the YouTube videos prove that Carpenter’s hip hop skills do exist — and the sloppy moves in Work It were all an act.

“Dancing badly might be harder than dancing well,” Carpenter admitted to the magazine.

Carpenter had to fake bad dancing for the 2020 Netflix movie

Carpenter is also a successful singer, and she dances quite often when she performs on tour.

However, in a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Carpenter explained that the dancing in Work It did require quite a bit of training, as she hadn’t danced as much in recent years. As the publication reported:

The main challenge in playing the role of Quinn was not only getting her strength back up for the choreography — she says she hadn’t stretched properly for dance in seven years — but also learning how to dance badly for the first half of the film.

Sabrina Carpenter
Sabrina Carpenter performs onstage during the 2018 iHeartRadio Wango Tango | Rich Polk/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

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“[I was] in my body for the end of the movie and … completely out of my body for the first half of it,” Carpenter told Rolling Stone about Netflix’s Work It. “So that was fun.”

Sabrina Carpenter didn’t learn the choreography for some parts — to better commit to the ‘Work It’ character

In a YouTube video for BuzzFeed Celeb, Carpenter also admitted that she purposely didn’t learn choreography — so that she would look like a worse dancer.

Work It cast
Neil Robles, Bianca Asilo, Tyler Hutchings, Liza Koshy, Jordan Fisher, Sabrina Carpenter, Nathaniel Scarlette, and Indiana Mehta in the Netflix movie Work It | Brendan Allen-Zwelling/Netflix

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“But it was on purpose, so that [it would look like] I didn’t … know what I was doing,” the Work It star explained. “That was a sure way to look terrible.” Carpenter expanded:

“[Like] the audition scene for The Thunderbirds, I literally had no idea what I was doing … the two girls they placed in front of me were literally what I was going off of, so I was always a count behind.