Double threats! Some of your favorite famous faces actually got their start on the dance floor. In honor of birthday boy Channing Tatum, who turns 37 on April 26, 2017, we're rounding up the sometimes surprising stars who have dancer pasts. Unlike many on this list, Channing didn't start dancing until later in life. In fact, his focus was on football, soccer and baseball while growing up. It wasn't until he started a job as a stripper that he embraced his natural dancing talent, which led to a career in modeling and dancing. His first big dancing gig? He can be spotted shaking his thing in the background of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" music video in 2000. Six years later, he landed the role that launched his career — dancing in 2006's "Step Up" alongside future wife Jenna Dewan. Keep reading to see the rest of the celebs who know some fancy footwork!
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She's an Oscar darling now, but Amy Adams got her start as a ballet dancer! The five-time Academy Award nominee got involved in dance during high school and started training in ballet as an apprentice at the David Taylor Dance Company. Eventually, dance indirectly led her to acting, once she realized she likely wouldn't make it to professional ballerina status. She reminisced about the realization of her true ballet talent to The Telegraph back in 2007: "I am never going to be that good, no matter how hard I work. I got into musical theatre, which was much better suited to my personality. It was like, 'Okay, this fits.'"
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South Africa-born Charlize Theron started out as a ballerina. As a teenager, she enrolled in the Joffrey Ballet School after moving to New York City with her mother. She was progressing in the field until a knee injury ended her chances of becoming a professional ballerina. The devastating setback resulted in her move to Los Angeles, where she ended up settling into her destined career as an actress.
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Vin Diesel grew up in New York City where he was heavily involved in hip hop! As a teen, he was a talented breakdancer and eventually started working as a bouncer at a place called The Tunnel, a legendary hip-hop club. The "Fast and the Furious" superstar eventually transitioned into the career that made him a household name — acting.
While growing up in Nelsonville, Ohio, Sarah Jessica Parker started training as a ballerina. Her family later moved to Cincinnati then on to New York, where she switched gears to acting. But the star always had a special place in her heart for ballet! In 2013, SJP executive produced a few seasons of an AOL docuseries entitled "city-ballet" that followed dancers and choreographers from the New York City Ballet.
After moving to the Dominican Republic at age 9, Zoe Saldana enrolled in a local dance academy, ECOS, Espacio de Danza Academy. The future actress had an extensive background in various forms of dancing, which included jazz and Latin, but ballet was her passion. Like many of the actors on this list, once she realized she couldn't make a career out of it, she left dancing behind.
Like many girls, Diane Kruger had dreams of being a ballerina as she grew up in Germany. Her parents allowed her to audition for the Royal Ballet School in London. She was accepted and on her way to a promising career as a ballerina before she suffered an injury that prematurely ended her dance career.
Patrick Swayze didn't just pick up those moves for "Dirty Dancing" — dancing was in his blood! The late actor's mother, Patsy Swayze, was a dancer, dance instructor and choreographer, so it was only a matter of time before Patrick got on the dance floor. He learned classical ballet during high school — while also playing football. Talk about a well-rounded teen!
Jennifer Lopez put on her dancing shoes at age 5! Jennifer enrolled in both singing and dancing lessons at that age and performed throughout her time in Catholic schools. That commitment to dance paid off at the beginning of her career when she got her big break as a backup dancer for New Kids on the Block and later as a dancer for Janet Jackson. She also famously became one of the Fly Girls on "In Living Color," which got her exposure on television. From there, her career continued to catapult, eventually molding her into the superstar she is today — J.Lo!
Another ballerina! Penelope Cruz grew up in Alcobendas, Spain, where she studied classical ballet at Spain's National Conservatory for nine years while growing up. She remained dedicated to the craft until her teenage years when she saw the film "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!" and got bit by the acting bug.
Being a hyper child paid off for Catherine Zeta-Jones! As a kid growing up in Wales, she had so much energy that her mom enrolled her in dance classes at age 4, starting with tap and ballet. She was heavily involved in dance in her youth, a member of a dance troupe and also active in stage productions. By her teens, Catherine's hard work was paying off — she became a national tap-dancing champion! A few years later, the theater beckoned, and she dropped out of school in order to pursue acting full-time.
Tom Holland may be known now as the future Spiderman, but the British actor is actually an incredible dancer. He picked up his skills as a kid, training for years in the art. He was discovered at age 10 at a dancing competition and offered a role in "Billy Elliot the Musical."
Canada-born Neve Campbell also has a ballerina past. She enrolled at the Erinvale School of Dance at age 6 and just a few years later, it was clear she had a true talent for the craft. By age 9, she was living at the National Ballet School of Canada, where she trained up until age 15, when she left dancing behind for acting.
Jenna Dewan Tatum showed off her dance skills early in her career in "Step Up," but before that, she was a backup dancer for *NSYNC, Pink and Janet Jackson. Though she's best known as an actress these days, she stays close to her dance roots. She's hosting the upcoming dance competition show "World of Dance" and is a brand ambassador for Danskin!
This one isn't a surprise! The material girl herself, Madonna, actually went to college on a dance scholarship! She attended the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance after graduating from high school. Fortunately for the entertainment world, she dropped out of college and headed to New York City to make her dreams of superstardom come true.
Naomi Campbell's mom was a dancer, so the London-born beauty followed suit. At age 10, she enrolled in the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in her hometown to study ballet. She also dabbled in tap, which paid off when she landed a part in Culture Club's video for "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" as a tap dancer. Despite landing work as a dancer early on, Naomi was destined for a different career in the spotlight. She grew too tall to be a ballerina but her height worked as an advantage in her future field: She was scouted by a modeling agent at age 16 and her career exploded shortly after that.
Before making it big as an actress, Lea Thompson was a very successful ballerina. The star studied ballet as a kid and was dancing professionally by the time she was 14. Her talent garnered her multiple scholarships to prestigious dance schools including the American Ballet Theatre in New York City, the San Francisco Ballet and the Pennsylvania Ballet. She ended up performing with the American Ballet Theatre, where she met legendary ballet star Mikhail Baryshnikov, who ended up crushing her dreams when he told her she didn't have the right body type to go the distance. Ballet's loss was Hollywood's gain: She left the ballet world behind and made her film debut a few years later.
Jennifer Garner is another would-be prima ballerina! The actress got her start in the dance form early, taking ballet classes as a kid. While she toiled away at ballet, she was also active in her local theater community, and that passion ended up winning out. She majored in theater in college and the rest is history!
It's not a huge shock that the star of "Billy Elliot" is a trained dancer, but actor Jamie Bell's dancing past is pretty impressive. Hailing from a family full of ballet dancers, Jamie's interest was further piqued after he tagged along to his sister's lessons. From there he was hooked, and his talent helped him stand out above 2,000 other aspiring young actors to nab the role of the young boy who dreamed of studying ballet in the 2000 flick.
Pretty impressive! Before transitioning into acting during college, Megan Mullally was such an exemplary ballerina that she performed with the Oklahoma City Ballet! The star got her start in dance at age 6 and performed at the Oklahoma City Ballet while also studying at New York City's School of American Ballet during high school.
At age 9, Mia Wasikowska took up ballet and had dreams of becoming a professional ballerina. By age 13, she'd advanced to en pointe level and was steadily advancing before she decided that dancing was having a negative effect on her self-esteem. She quit at age 14 and soon after found another passion to pursue: acting.