It’s time for Alyson Stoner to Step Up into her new role as a judge on Dance-Off Juniors.
As she readied for the new competition series (produced by Madonna‘s DanceOn) to premiere on Wednesday, the former silver screen sis to Channing Tatum and breakout star of Missy Elliott‘s “Work It” and “Gossip Folks” videos chatted with PEOPLE about what she learned from her A-list role models of screen and song.
“What I love about Channing is he is so willing to root for every single person in the room,” said Stoner, 22. “He’s not trying to walk into the room and be the star of it, he celebrates everyone. And working with him, I felt celebrated, the other people felt celebrated, and we in turn were able to just create an atmosphere that really supports each other.”
As for Elliott, Stoner says, “She, to this day, is the same grounded professional that she has been since the beginning. She’s also a forward thinker so she’s very purposeful in the content she makes, and that’s very inspiring. It shows me that I want to focus on quality not quantity.”
The exclusive clip above, Dance-Off Juniors introduces just one of the three young dancers who will face off each Wednesday in freestyle and choreography challenges for a $5,000 cash prize.
Stoner’s not afraid to admit she was blown away by the kids who are making names for themselves in the dance community, just as she did, at a young age.
“It’s kind of scary of scary, kind of intimidating,” she says, “because I’m like, ‘They’re gonna replace all of us!’ ”
She notes, “The caliber of talent nowadays I think is significantly more advanced than when I was their age. So I’m blown away by their skill level, the value of their movements. Not just learning choreography, but actually adding their own individual style elements – they’re far more evolved.”
And, having been in the spotlight as a dancer for nearly 15 years, she is proud as a judge to be passing on the wisdom of her experience and helping the dancers develop a sense of family.
“I think the best part about starting young is with the proper support system, you really get to cultivate a community that is building each other up,” she says. “I feel like that’s what the show really celebrates as well, like you’re seeing these up-and-coming stars who are going to set the pace for the industry and the choreography world in the next several years, and you’re watching it unfold in front of you.”
But Stoner says the teen and tween phenoms aren’t the only ones learning: “I am their student,” she says. “You end up learning both ways.”
New episodes of Dance-Off Juniors begin streaming Wednesdays (11 a.m. ET) on go90.