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Step Up: High Water Isn't a Western, but Maybe It Should Be

Why aren't there any Western-themed dance shows?

Kaitlin Thomas, Joyce Eng

When the press release for Step Up: High Water, a new YouTube Red series from Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan-Tatum that is based on their iconic film Step Up, arrived in my inbox, my brain immediately honed in on the second half of the title. I am here to tell you I misread it asHell or High Water, the Oscar-nominated Western starring the third-best Chris, Chris Pine. In the span of just five seconds, I imagined a number of scenarios in which the series, which follows several young dancers who attend a contemporary performing arts school in Atlanta, was given a Western twist. And then the madness began.

I found myself wondering why there weren't any Western-themed dance series in the works. Why isn't there a Dance Academy, but with cowboys instead of ballerinas, you know? Ignoring the part of my brain that was screaming for me to listen to common sense, I enlisted my TV Guide colleague Sadie Gennis and former colleague Joyce Eng, who was immensely excited to finally put her Dancing With the Stars knowledge to use, and together we came up with a list of several possible titles that play on existing Westerns in popular culture and should immediately be developed into television shows about the spirit of dance.


We started off with the obvious choices, which really just involved adding emphasis to titles that already included the word dance:
Butch Cassidy and the SunDANCE Kid
DANCES With Wolves

Then we came up with existing titles we could designate as having a Western theme:
American Hustle

We quickly moved on to good but not great options:
How the West Was Samba'd
Once Upon a Time in the West Coast Swing
The Magnificent Salsa

As time went on, we discovered new depths:
3:10 to Rumba
The Hateful Jive
The Quick Step and the Dead
True Jit(terbug)
High Moonwalk
The Can-Can Incident

Eventually we noticed a glaring omission:
Tango Unchained

We smacked ourselves for being so oblivious and then kept going:
Blazing Salsas
Wanted Disco or Alive
Rio Cha Cha
Hora on Wheels

We hit a slump we weren't really proud of:
The Good, the Bad, and the Twerky
The Treasure of the Sierra Macarena
Soon we got our rhythm back:
My Darling Charleston
Have Gun -- Will Two-Step
The Wild Polka

Walker, Texas Rain Dancer
Gunfight at the Troika Corral

And then we found a true winner:
Dr. Quinn, Merengue Woman

Our work here is done. The rest is on you, Hollywood.

The first four episodes of Step Up: High Water are streaming for free on YouTube Red.