Spoiler alert: not every member of the A-Troupe dancers will last until the end of Season 3 of The Next Step. That shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise for anyone following the tween drama—kids get older and graduate all the time—but this exit will be a bit of a shock nonetheless.
We were on the show’s Scarborough, Ont., set during filming, and watched that pivotal scene from a vantage point just out of camera range. We won’t give it away, but the announcement sends shock waves through the group. How it all happens, and how it affects the crew going into Internationals, rolls out when The Next Step returns to Family Channel on Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT.
To watch filming of an episode of The Next Step is to see television production set at double speed. Unlike most series that take a week to film one episode, The Next Step does it in just over a day and lines are written in a different manner too.
“Traditionally, you write a script and then you find actors to read the material,” says writer and executive producer Frank van Keeken (The Kids in the Hall, Winging’ It). “We write very involved outlines, and on the day of shooting we talk about the scene and then we just start playing.” The result? A serialized drama that feels very real and authentic.
Returning to The Next Step Dance Studio are, among others, Brittany Raymond as Riley, Victoria Baldesarra as Michelle, Alexandra Beaton as Emily, Trevor Tordjman as James, Lamar Johnson as West, Jennifer Pappas as Chloe, Brennan Clost as Daniel, Zac Vran as Hunter, Bree Wasylenko as Kate, Natalie Krill as Phoebe and So You Think You Can Dance Canada Season 4 winner Jordan Clark as Giselle. Newbies include Ella Gilling, a semifinalist from Season 2 of the UK talent television show Got To Dance. Each one—when they weren’t celebrating the show’s catering or discussing injuries and the bonding element on-set—spoke of how van Keeken is a mentor to them. It’s a label he isn’t comfortable wearing, but understands the sentiment.
“I’ve been doing this a long time, so there are certain skill sets I’ve developed,” he says. “Because they’re green, or were, I had to spend the time just educating them. It’s been a good relationship. After they saw the cuts they realized, ‘He just cuts the bad bits.’ Once you make that transition as an actor then they just go.”
As for who exits the troupe early? You’ll just have to tune in to find out.
The Next Step airs Monday to Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on Family Channel.