Julia Stiles performs 'Save the Last Dance' routine in surprise 'SNL' cameo

Julia Stiles sits with Sean Patrick Thomas in a scene from the film Save The Last Dance, 2001. (Photo by Paramount/Getty Images)

Julia Stiles re-created her iconic routine from the 2001 film "Save the Last Dance" during a surprise appearance on "Saturday Night Live."

The 42-year-old actress made a cameo during Saturday’s episode, stopping by the "Weekend Update" desk with cast member Chloe Fineman. 

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During the sketch, Fineman shared some "intimate gift ideas" for the holidays. 

"I only have one sexy gift idea and I kind of have to demonstrate it," Fineman told "Weekend Update" co-host Colin Jost. "The sexiest gift you can give your partner is to try something new in the bedroom."

As Jost watched with a bit of concern, co-host Michael Che pulled out a bucket of popcorn, prompting laughter from the audience.

"The perfect holiday gift this year is the dance that Julia Stiles does at the end of the 2001 movie ‘Save the Last Dance,’" she announced, before stripping down into an all-black dance outfit similar to that of Stiles’ audition outfit in the movie and breaking out into a "street ballet" dance routine.

"Save the Last Dance," which also stars Sean Patrick Thomas, portrays a teenage couple who meet when Stiles’ character Sara moves to the south side of Chicago after a family tragedy.

"Basically, Julia Stiles’ character Sara is an uptight ballerina who auditions to get into Juilliard, but doesn’t get in," Fineman explained to the hosts. "And then her mom on the same day dies in a car crash."

Jost then asked Fineman to elaborate on "street ballet," to which Che added, "Colin, come on. Sara moves to the south side of Chicago and goes to a more urban high school where she learns hip-hop. Duh." 

Jost continued to ask more questions about the plot of the film, including whether Stiles’ character Sara got another chance to audition at Juilliard. That’s when Stiles herself jumped into the scene wearing the same outfit, yelling "Yes!"

Stiles and Fineman then pulled chairs out onto the stage to give the finale of the performance.

Jost then shared his final thoughts: "Well, I can’t say this on the record yet, but welcome to Juilliard!"


Sean Patrick Thomas and Julia Stiles at a dance in a scene from the film 'Save The Last Dance', 2001. (Photo by Paramount/Getty Images)

In 2021, Stiles reflected on the 20th anniversary of "Save the Last Dance," telling the Today Show that her favorite part of the movie was the audition dance.

"I mean, the rehearsals, and the dance training. I was, like, sign me up; where do I start?" Stiles said. "It was really challenging and really daunting because I’m not a professional dancer. So there was a lot of playing catch-up. But it was so fun. And such an awesome opportunity to get to do that kind of, like, rigorous training, and choreography rehearsals."

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This story was reported from Cincinnati.