Channing Tatum Learned How to Dance From You and Your Mom

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It’s no secret that Channing Tatum knows how to dance. Since breaking out in 2006’s Step Up, the actor’s stripping past have become public knowledge. (Hell, even Magic Mike is based loosely on his former career as an exotic dancer.)

So, just how did Tatum learn to bump and grind? The answer will surprise you.

Speaking with Esquire, the the actor reveals ADHD helped push him to become a dancer. After he stopped taking martial arts lessons, Tatum says that dancing became an outlet for him to keep busy — and that moms around Tampa, Fla., became his teachers.

He says of his martial arts background, “I learned to appreciate repetition. That’s why I can dance. It’s how I learned to act. I have a high tolerance for repetition. And for the first time in my life, I was busy enough that I didn’t want to stop until I got it right.”

“I wanted to dance,” he continues. “I just didn’t know anything. Neither did the girls I was seeing. But their moms did. I figured out the fastest way for me to learn to dance was to grab up some abuela and get her moving on the porch.”

channing tatum esquire magazine december 2014 cover issue
[Esquire Magazine]

After that, well, Tatum says he really honed his craft when he moved to Los Angeles.

“I was a roofer for a while. It was mostly long days and hours, and hours at night spent in dance clubs,” he remembers. “I mostly learned to dance by hanging out in clubs and grinding on girls.”

He adds, “Then I started modeling. And the travel schedule, the food, the demands brought things together for me. That was a full day, with expectations every day. I’d never had that. Suddenly, every hour of the day was accounted for. Busy. And I never want to be without that again.”

And the rest is pretty much history. The December issue of Esquire is out on Nov. 25.