Actress talks about dancing with Al Pacino in new film


NEW YORK — Call her a stand-up gal: At least that’s how Al Pacino saw Courtney Galiano when she danced with him in the comedy-drama “Stand Up Guys,” which opens today.

“He made me feel so comfortable,” says Galiano, 24, a finalist on “So You Think You Can Dance” season four in 2008. “I was flabbergasted that he made me feel like I’ve been doing this for a hundred years, because I was so nervous and this was my first movie, acting-wise. And he was in character the whole time,” she marvels. “He did not break character.”

And Pacino’s character is quite a character — aged wiseguy Val, who’s released from prison after 28 years of never ratting out his criminal confreres. He reunites with his best friend, Doc (Christopher Walken), and their old wheelman, Hirsch (Alan Arkin). But Doc has to kill Val, on orders from their old capo (Mark Margolis). In the meantime, Val wants to celebrate his freedom.

So he goes dancing, and in a sad, sweet scene, he meets Lisa, Galiano’s character. “He wants to party,” Galiano says of Val, “and at first he comes off a little bit harsh, but then we slow-dance and he’s like, ‘Wow, this is really nice, being with a woman again,’ and he thanks me at the end — a real gentleman.”

To Galiano’s surprise, part of the scene appears in film’s trailer. “When I saw it, I was freaking out!” she says.

The New York native, now based in Los Angeles, will be back on Long Island this weekend with her dance troupe, The Beat, conducting classes and workshops Saturday and Sunday. Galiano, who went public with her diagnosis of MS last year, says a portion of every registration fee will be donated to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.

Then it’s back to L.A., where she appears in “Bounce,” a VH1 drama series about NBA dancers, premiering in May. And she adds that there’s a guy in her life, her MS seems to be under control, and now, with her first speaking movie role, “I don’t think I’ve been this happy in a really long time.”