Burlesque's Tyne Stecklein on Prayer Circles with Cher and Dancing with Michael Jackson

tynestecklein225.jpgTyne Stecklein's having a pretty wild week: Her film Burlesque -- in which she plays a specialty dancer named Jesse -- opened today, and she also performed with her Burlesque co-star Christina Aguilera on Dancing with the Stars and at the American Music Awards. You can add those experiences to Stecklein's list impressive feats: She used to dance with Cher during her Vegas show, and she even rehearsed with Michael Jackson for his "This Is It" tour shortly before his death. Movieline caught up with the 21-year-old dancer/actress yesterday to see how her breakneck schedule is treating her.

So Tyne, you were on Dancing with the Stars this week performing with Christina Aguilera. Did they trick us and pre-record it Monday night to air yesterday?

They prerecorded Monday night after their live show. It'll be on [Tuesday].

And how did it go?

It went really well! At Dancing with the Stars, you usually you get one take, or two takes at most to get it perfect. I've done the show a few times, and it's a little stressful, but it went really well.

What does Burlesque mean to you? How is it special for you?

Well, it's very exciting! This is the movie that I've not only danced in, but that I have a small role in. That's really exciting for me. We started filming last September and then we wrapped in March. So we've been done since then.

You also rehearsed for Michael Jackson's "This Is It" tour before he passed away. Were Burlesque rehearsals a cinch compared to those days?

Actually, Burlesque was quite challenging as far as the dancing went. We were doing many different styles of dance and the numbers are really high-endurance and high-energy, so they're kind of hard to get through. When you're filming, you do them over and over. Some days it would be 18 hours straight for the dance numbers, in heels. So it was actually very challenging at times.

You performed with Cher's Vegas show before you joined Burlesque. Tell us a difference between Cher as she prepared for a concert and Cher when she's preparing for Burlesque.

Well, let's see. Cher during her stage shows -- and this is a main difference between productions -- she does rehearse more. She has to come in and learn dance numbers and where to be when she sings certain things. For Burlesque's dance numbers, she did the same thing, but for the acting part, she just got on the set and did it spontaneously, it seemed like. She's very real and very funny when she's acting, and it just seemed organic. Just happened in the moment. It wasn't something she had to practice.

Did you know Cher will when you worked in Vegas with her?

I did her show in Vegas for about a year, and we'd all do a prayer circle before each show, but that was kind of the extent of how I knew her on her show. We didn't get to spend a whole lot of time with her except for onstage. But she has a really great memory. She remembered me when she saw I was doing the film, and she was excited. I feel like I got to know her a lot better working on this film, and spend more time with her.

How does the experience of working with Cher and Michael Jackson change you? Do you feel spoiled? How do you manage that kind of incredible experience?

I do feel a little spoiled! And very blessed to work with both of them. For dancers, Michael Jackson was definitely the top of the line, so that was awesome. Cher's just so talented that it was really great for me. But now, it's like: What do I do next? They're such great, talented people -- where do you go from there? I want to push and challenge myself to do great jobs like that, but it's hard when you've worked for some of the best people in the business.

You're also in No Strings Attached, the upcoming Ashton Kutcher movie directed by Ivan Reitman.

That movie was cool for me because I auditioned as a dancer for that, and I was asked to read a small role for it. Working with Ashton was cool because I'm with the same management company and was so nice to me. He gave me little pointers about the camera and this-and-that for acting because I was very new to it. He helped me on the set. Ivan Reitman was great as well, he's such a huge director.

You've said that dancing is a more comfortable medium for you than acting. Is the latter getting easier?

It is getting easier. I think the audition settings are a little more challenging for me -- for acting as opposed to dancing. You're in these casting rooms by yourself and I'm usually up against girls who are very similar to me: blonde, petite, my type. It's kind of hard to make yourself stand out, whereas in dance, there are all types of girls. But I'm getting more comfortable with the acting jobs, so there's more to come.