Before becoming the first Black female pro on Dancing With the Stars, dancer Britt Stewart was a Disney Channel star. The 31-year-old Colorado native first saw dance as her “realistic” career path after appearing in all three High School Musical movies.
“When I was 15, I booked the High School Musical movie. And then from there I went on to do the rest of the trilogy — High School Musical one, two and three. It wasn’t until after the third movie, when I saw dance as being a realistic career for me,” she told J-14 exclusively days after the DWTS season 29 finale. “Disney has really blessed me in my career.”
While looking back on her Disney Channel days, the professional dancer — who was paired with Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir during this most recent DWTS season — remembered none of the HSM cast knowing how big of a pop culture phenomenon the movie would come to be. The film series starred Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Zac Efron, Corbin Bleu, Lucas Gabriel and Monique Coleman, and even spawned a spinoff series.
“The budget was super low. I think we were in production for six weeks in Utah. We just didn’t think it was going to be what it was today. Then when it came out, it turned into this massive thing,” Britt recalled. “I really think High School Musical brought music and the idea of musicals back into the entertainment industry. It was really cool to be a part of … it was one of the best moments of my life.”
While filming the movies in Utah, Britt and the cast hung out frequently and had “some of the best times.” She told J-14 that some of her best friends today are people she met while working on HSM.
“It completely changed all of our lives,” she gushed. “All thanks to Kenny Ortega. … He discovered me really, so I love Kenny so much [I’m] so grateful for him.”
When High School Musical came to an end, Britt nabbed a role in another Disney Channel Original Movie: Teen Beach Movie.
“It was amazing to be a part of another Disney musical built for TV. I just think that Disney makes magic when they do those sorts of things. Specifically for Teen Beach Movie, all of us were pinching ourselves while in production because we filmed in Puerto Rico,” the dancer said. “The whole time, it really didn’t feel like work. It was just so much fun because we were all there together. It had a very similar vibe to High School Musical as well. We all have maintained friends. We really built this family while we were there in Puerto Rico.”
When it comes to a possible High School Musical or Teen Beach Movie reunion in the future, Britt doesn’t have any inside information, but she would be “100 percent” down to get back on set.
“I wouldn’t even question,” she said. “I would immediately say yes.”
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