13: The Musical Star Eli Golden Found His Groove Through Jamal Sims’ Choreography

Eli Golden took on every challenge to book the lead role as Evan in Netflix’s 13: The Musical. That meant Zoom auditions at the height of the pandemic, testing all of his talents: singing, acting, and yes, dancing. The now-15-year-old revealed that choreographer Jamal Sims put him through the paces to see how his dance skills measured up to play the starring role. 

“It was an intricate dance. My mom learned it, I learned it, my whole family learned it — and we got a dance teacher to help me. I looked like an injured giraffe,” Golden laughed. “That was when Jamal realized that I could move, but I can’t dance.” It didn’t matter because the casting directors saw something special in Golden and with a two-and-half-month rehearsal period, Sims and his choreography team were able to get the teen up to speed. 

Sims sang Golden’s praises in Dancentric’s recent interview with the choreographer, and it sounds like the feeling was mutual. “I want to learn more dancing from him,” he gushed. “I want four or five more lessons.” The talented star was so inspired by Sims’ work that he loved learning all of the movie’s musical numbers — even the ones he wasn’t in. “I loved ‘Bad, Bad News’ because I loved the choreography,” he shared. “That number is my absolute favorite because it is so catchy, vibrant and alive.” Like Sims, Golden also loved the opening number “because we filmed it at The Plaza [Hotel].”

Doing 13: The Musical also inspired Golden to dream bigger when it comes to his next project. “I learned how to work, I learned how to challenge myself. I want to take dance lessons because I want to get really good at that,” he summed up enthusiastically. “Singing, I want to bring my A-game. Acting, I got really in touch with myself and my character. And I learned from the experts, like Jamal, they are the best at what they do.”

13: The Musical is currently airing on Netflix.

Photo credit: Netflix.

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