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Stars who got their start as backup dancers


Stars who got their start as backup dancers


It might be hard to think of these stars as anything but famous but some stars had their humble beginnings dancing backup to some of the entertainment world’s hottest names.

This weekend Jenna Dewan Tatum traveled to the Hollywood Bowl to reunite with Janet Jackson‘s fellow dancers. But Jenna isn’t the only one who got their start as backup dancers. From Las Vegas headliners like Jennifer Lopez and Mariah Carey to rappers like Sean “Diddy” Combs and Tupac Shakur, these dancers all paid their dues before they rose to the top and reached super stardom.

  • Before she was Jenny on the Block, Jennifer Lopez danced for the New Kids on the Block.
  • Jenna has years of experience behind her back having performed as a backup dancer for Janet Jackson and Christina Aguilera.  Eventually she landed her role in Step Up alongside her now husband, Channing Tatum. 
  • Despite her reputation as a diva, Mariah Carey also had humble beginnings. She started her career off as a dancer for her friend Brenda K. Starr, who later helped her to score a record deal with Columbia Records.
  • Before she starred as Brittany on the hit show Glee, Heather Morris danced alongside Beyoncé during such hit songs like Single Ladies
  • Julianne Hough started as a backup dancer for Dancing With the Stars but her cute personality  helped her to star as the main role in the remake of Footloose!
  • Madonna got her start dancing backup to Born to be Alive singer Patrick Hernandez in 1979. 
  • Pharrell, Missy Elliot, Usher and more are among the many performers lucky enough to have had Kat Graham star dance backup for them over the years.
  • Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs joins the many stars who got their beginnings on the hit sketch show In Living Color.


My name is Kriszti Bottyan (23) and I am the Editor of Teenzone Magazine. This means that all content goes through me before it reaches you. I graduated from the University of Pretoria in 2015 and I am currently completing my post-grad in Applied Languages. I am admittedly addicted to E! but I am also into the more serious content about society and about topics concerning YOUR future. Ultimately, you are my number one priority. We have migrated to a digital platform that is more suitable to you, our readers. We are continuously grateful for your support and in return promise to deliver. We will not disappoint!

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