'Some Cut' Challenge Choreographer Ysabelle Capitulé Breaks Down Moves Behind the Accidental TikTok Craze

During a recent interview with Complex, the Bay Area choreographer spoke about the viral TikTok dance craze and says it wasn't meant to be a challenge.

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The “Some Cut” Challenge wasn’t supposed to be a TikTok challenge. Ysabelle Capitulé, a 24-year-old Bay Area dancer, was tapped by Victoria Monét to design some music festival dance breaks to the Trillville classic after she previously curated moves to go with the singer’s “Ass Like That” single. But back in September, Monét’s choreography went viral—with almost everyone trying to mimic the complicated moves.

Capitulé has been in the industry since she was 9 years old, working with the likes of Usher, Chris Brown, Monét, and more. In October, the video reached thousands of people, greatly due to her large Instagram following, which is close to 800,000. While reflecting on the dance craze, Capitulé has been impressed by how many people were inspired to participate. In fact, she explained, she would have made the choreo a little easier to learn had she known the impact it would have. 

“I had dancer friends be like, ‘Hey, can you teach it to me?’” she said. “I’m like, ‘Sure.’ They were like, ‘This is probably one of the hardest TikTok challenges ever.’ I would've made the dance a little easier if I knew that’s what it was going to be.”

In an interview with Complex, Capitulé broke down the full backstory behind the “Some Cut” Challenge, the experience of crafting dances for everyone’s favorite celebrity dancers, and what her next move is going into the new year.

Let’s get straight into it. How did the opportunity arise for you to choreograph for Victoria Monét?
I’ve been pretty familiar with her as friends for a while. I originally made up a routine for one of her songs a long time ago. It kind of blew up, especially during quarantine, everyone was doing it. I taught it on [Instagram] Live during quarantine, so everyone was doing it. People learned it, and it kind of just went crazy. So when I taught it in [an in-person] class, she came and learned it. When it was time for her to do festival shows this year, she and her choreographer called me in to see if I could do the [choreography] again, and the breakdown. The breakdown was the one that went viral. 

While working on the choreography, did you anticipate the challenge going viral?
It wasn’t meant to be a routine on TikTok. It was just meant for her festival performances. I had no clue it went viral at all. After it went viral, she called me into the studio and asked me if I could do a tutorial. And that’s when it really started to get big. One day I logged on TikTok, and it was all over the place. My friends were like, “I can’t believe you didn’t know.” When it was at the height of everybody doing it, I genuinely had no clue. There was no intention of trying to make it go viral. It’s actually really crazy, completely unplanned. 


I had no clue this challenge was going crazy, make sure u tag me and @Victoria Monét !!!! #somecutchallenge

♬ original sound - Ysabelle Capitulé

What has surprised you the most about the challenge? Besides everyone asking what count does it start on? 
[Laughs.] Definitely, people who are non-dancers doing it because it wasn’t choreographed for that. If someone asked me to choreograph for a TikTok challenge, I would probably do something a little more simple that people who aren’t dancers could do the choreography. It was really cool to see people who aren’t dancers tackle it and be able to do it as well. I had dancer friends be like, “Hey, can you teach it to me?’ I’m like, ‘sure.’ They were like, ‘This is probably one of the hardest TikTok challenges ever.’” I would've made the dance a little easier if I knew that’s what it was going to be. 


Is the day complete w/o some TikTok choreo?! 😂lmfaooo #HomeComing

♬ original sound - Victoria Monét

This isn’t the first time that you’ve been recognized by Victoria. You also choreographed “Ass Like That” and more recently created a part two. 
I usually do something a little more PG when it comes to teaching classes, but for this class, I wanted to do something a little more fun. Sometimes girls just want to go out and feel sexy. I did an only-girls class for it, and everyone loved it. There’s just a different energy based on what I would usually do. It just felt like a different environment. I even had people reaching out to me, saying, “I don’t think you realize what you’re doing with this piece because you’re allowing so many people to feel good and unapologetically confident in who they are.” 

Recently, I was just watching videos, and I was like, “Why don’t I just bring it back?" But, make it a part two. I taught two classes in L.A. for “Ass Like That” part two, and it was the same thing. I really like that environment for people to feel safe. That’s why I brought it back, to give people that space to express themselves.

I remember back in 2020 when you got on Instagram Live and taught "Ass Like That." It was during the pandemic, and studios weren’t open. But many people, including myself, started dancing in their homes. How does it feel to know that your movement makes others want to move?
It’s crazy. I’ve been dancing for so long since I was 8 years old, and I don’t really have a specific goal. I kind of just do my thing. I really enjoy what I do. I really have a good time, and I allow myself to go with the flow. I allow my love for it to take me places I never imagined it could take me. The fact that I could inspire anybody—whether dancers or non-dancers—is really surreal. During quarantine, I was going nuts. I’m usually at the studio all of the time. When everything was closed, I really had no idea what to do. I was like, “Why don’t I just do this on [Instagram] Live? It’s free.” We were all able to connect on one level, which is dance. I’m thankful that I can do this, for sure. 

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In addition to the “Some Cut” Challenge and "Ass Like That," there’s also Usher’s “Sex Beat.” What are you thinking when making these challenges? 
That one specifically, they came to me and were like, “Can you make a TikTok challenge?” It’s a weird thing [to think about]. It’s kind of a mental switch that you have to do versus if I’m just making normal choreography. Overall, that challenge was fun. I had a lot of people doing that one, too. 

I believe it was after that challenge that you continuously worked with Usher. 
I was just the assistant choreographer. I went in to help the choreographer on “Don’t Waste My Time” and “Bad Habits,” which I got to dance in. It was a crazy experience to say that I even helped out in any way.

How do you ensure that you stay true to yourself as a creator, and not get wrapped up in the pressures of wanting to go viral?
It’s definitely a balance between doing what I want and doing what I know people would want. I’ve been doing whatever style and music I enjoy, and putting my all into it so that it makes people interested as well. I say this to my classes all the time, “You can see someone dance and there’s not something that grabs your shirt.” It’s not making you feel something more internal. And then there might be someone who is dancing, and you can tell that they believe everything that they’re doing.

When I do what I do, I try to go as deep as possible. Nothing for me when it comes to dancing is ever really surface-level. I give the audience no choice not to like it or not because I give so much of myself. I’m gonna make you feel something regardless. If someone asks me to do a TikTok challenge, and I’m not feeling the song, I won’t do it. I want to stay true to who I am, whether it’s for money or not. 

Your dance résumé is extensive. I know you’ve put in a lot of work to get where you are. However, there are some who argue that it isn’t “hard work,” it’s who you know. How do you respond to that?
It all comes with the territory. That comment of “It’s who you know,” is not necessarily true. Hard work comes with meeting and networking with the people that you may have [to know later]. If you’re not working hard, and those are the right people that you want to be in contact with, they’re gonna make sure that you’re actually on your ps and qs. Working hard is networking. Working hard is waking up every morning training so that you can be the best. Working hard is everything that people don’t see on the outside. Of course, [knowing people] helps with getting to where you want to be, but it’s not just who you know because all of that comes hand in hand. 

What’s next for Ysabelle? 
Right now, I’m working on myself. I’m doing little jobs here and there. This year has been really difficult. It was difficult in the sense that I was forced to take a look in the mirror. I’ve been dealing with human issues, accepting when things hit the fan. Before 2023 starts, I want to start fresh and know that I grew as a person. I’ve been in the industry since I was 9 years old, and now I’m 24. I’ve never really found a way to separate Ysabelle the brand from Ysabelle the human being. I need to work on doing normal 24-year-old stuff, like going out. I’ve been learning to sit with myself and understand who I am. 

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