The Everly Mag team absolutely loved the tween dance film To The Beat, and we are thrilled to present an interview with the movie’s star, Brisa Lalich.
The 14-year-old actress and dancer plays Mia, the tap-dancing counterpart to twin sister Mackie (Laura Krystine). Throughout the film, Brisa portrays Mia as she breaks out of her shell and works together with her family to win Chris Trousdale’s dance video competition.
Everly Mag talked to Brisa all about her character Mia, her friendship with Laura Krystine, and what it was like on set of To The Beat!
Everly Mag: How did you get your start in acting?
Brisa: My start in acting was a little different than most. I started doing a lot of print work, modeling and commercial work, and later decided to start working with acting coaches and [take] acting classes, and was fortunate to land a theatrical agent. I was inspired by watching young actors on television, and thought to myself that I could do what they were doing on set. I started performing with competitive dance when I was 5 or 6 years old, and this certainly helped with my current stage presence and confidence with acting.
Everly Mag: What was the audition process like for To The Beat? How did you feel when you got the part of Mia?
Brisa: What I remember most was reading for our director, Jillian Clare, and seeing her excitement for the work that Laura Krystine, who plays Mackie, and I did bringing our characters to life. I was really excited for the role of Mia and was even more thrilled that I’d be working with one of my best friends and we would be able to use our friendship to bring the strong bond between Mia and Mackie to life on set.
Everly Mag: What did you love about playing your character, Mia? How are you and Mia similar and how are you different?
Brisa: Mia was a perfect character for me as we honestly share some of the same character traits. Family is really important to me, and Mia is a kind, caring, and respectful teenager who really relies on the support of her family during the movie, [through] challenging times. One thing though – I would never go to law school like Mia wants to, I want to study to become a pediatrician in college!
Everly Mag: What was it like working with Laura Krystine, Jayden Bartels, and the rest of the cast of the movie? What was it like playing a twin sister to Laura Krystine’s character Mackie?
Brisa: Playing twins with one of my real life best friends Laura Krystine was a really cool opportunity for us to bring our real life relationship into our work on set as we developed the strong relationship between Mia and Mackie (#Twinning).
Jayden Bartels also did an amazing job playing Avery and developing her character into someone that made us really want to rally our team against. I lost my brother Brent to heaven 10 years ago but am lucky to have a huge extended family who live really near me. I have a Morkie named Koko who I treat like my sister too.
Everly Mag: What do you want teens to enjoy and learn from in the movie?
Brisa: I am so happy that [To The Beat] really is a feel-good movie and I think all teenagers will see how important family and friends are, and how strong relationships help with teamwork. It also shows that no matter how tough the circumstances are, you should never give up. I think this is a great message for actors, because it’s a really competitive business.
Everly Mag: What was it like filming the movie?
Brisa: We had a lot of fun on set, and our director Jillian was great at getting us all to focus when needed, yet letting us act like teenagers and have a lot of fun and energy on set. I can remember a couple of times where Laura and I would start giggling and couldn’t stop. All the cast was so fun to work with and it was also really cool that I got to dance with some of my friends from my [former] dance studio, The Element Dance Center in San Diego.
Everly Mag: What was it like learning the dances for To The Beat?
Brisa: I danced competitively for 5-6 years, and over the past 5 years have just done some technique classes. I was perfect for the role [of Mia] because I have always loved tap the best even though I [also trained] in jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, and ballet. It was cool [that] one of my old dance instructors, Julie Crawley from The Element Dance Center, helped choreograph some of our tap dancing. We also had a blast working together on the finale, choreographed by Chris Trousdale.
Everly Mag: What’s your favorite scene from the movie?
Brisa: My favorite scene is when our older sister Mandy (Veronica St. Clair) helps us decide that Mia should join Mackie’s team and combine tap and jazz styles together for the final dance video competition. We were able to show a lot of emotion and this helped energize our team. [My character’s] family and our bond was evident to the judges in the finale.
Everly Mag: Outside of To The Beat, what other projects have you worked on? What are your hopes for the future of your career?
Brisa: To The Beat! was my first full-length movie but I have been fortunate to have parts in a few small films before. I am continuing on with private coaching with my coach Jeff Dockweiler and am taking acting classes with Brooke Byler Acting Studios. I also want to continue with modeling and am very committed in high school to keeping my schoolwork up and am on JV Cheer and Swim this year.
Everly Mag: What do you look for in a friend? What do you like to do with your friends?
Brisa: I think making friends on set is one of my favorite parts of acting. I have been fortunate to have amazing groups of friends in many different parts of the world from some of my activities. Really good friends are hard to find and that is why it was so awesome to share this amazing To The Beat! experience with Laura Krystine and some of my good dance friends Katie Crowley, Ashley Roehl, Alyna Uribe, and Callie Baum. I also know that I have made some great new friendships from To The Beat! and I know they will continue over time.
Everly Mag: Tell us about some of your favorite things!
Brisa: First off, I love swimming and love the beach. My mom said I should be a mermaid! I love to travel anywhere [with] beautiful beaches and water, my favorite color is blue, my favorite TV show is Modern Family, my favorite movie is To The Beat! of course, I love SnapChat and my favorite food is cucumbers with lemon and salt.
Everly Mag: What else would you like to add?
Brisa: I just wanted to thank our Producer Susan Bernhardt and our Director Jillian Clare for trusting me to bring the character Mia to life. They were supportive. but pushed us to really perform and develop the characters so you could really feel the strong bonds between our family and friends. To Laura – this was a blast working together when is the sequel! Love you, Brisa
Read Everly Mag’s review of To The Beat film today! You can find the movie on Amazon, iTunes, and more.
Feature Image Credit: Vika Pobeda Photography