Whether he was tiptoeing around the Oval Office as the President’s personal aide on The West Wing or breaking out antiquated hip-hop moves as co-owner of a psychic detective agency on Psych, Dulé Hill has always been about the dance.
“At the root of it, I’m a dancer,” the 36-year-old told New York magazine in a recent interview promoting his appearance in upcoming Broadway production Stick Fly. “My plan was to be a corporate lawyer, but that changed when I realized how much more studying I was going to have to do.”
While studying at Seton Hall University, he was cast in off-Broadway musical Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk, which represented a fork in the road for the young actor. “We had a Wednesday matinee, and I had a midterm that day,” he said. “I went to the teacher and said, ‘I’ll take the test early.’ He said, ‘You have to decide, do you want to get a degree or be in show business?’”
Stick Fly, produced by Alicia Keys, opened at Broadway’s Cort Theatre last night and is about two brothers (one of which is played by Hill) who both bring new girlfriends to a family reunion on Martha’s Vineyard. “No matter how perfect your family, there are always things that aren’t getting said, that ride beneath the surface,” according to Hill. Even though many of Hill’s roles sidestep his dancing skills, he still finds time to bust out moves away from the stage, and is even able to spot the meter in those non-dance productions. “I had a piece of wood set up for tap in my trailer at The West Wing, and I also had one at Psych, he says. But I don’t get to dance as much as I like. If I dance too much on set, then I start sweating and they have to do the makeup over,” he explained. “The play we’re doing now, it’s a dance. From the time I walk on the stage until the lights go out, we’re all just moving beings, creatures dancing. You’re going here, I’m going here. You’re coming harder, I’m retreating.
The whole country is about the dance, Dule’ Hill! I’m working on spreading the word, the moves, the funk, the breath, the hips, the feet…the whole country is about the dance! Dance! Dance!