It was the hit phenomenon that drove cult film fans crazy and brought wannabe Brat Packers to their feet. Just as the ’50s jived and the ’70s grooved, the ’80s were entirely footloose. It was the spark that ignited Kevin Bacon’s career and placed him in that oh-so prestigious category of the immortalized sex symbol. His cool shades, leather jacket and smooth moves were a potent combination that made Footloose (1984) what it is today.

Revitalized some 20 odd years later, Footloose (2011), directed by Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow), is back in theaters. No, Bacon did not take a leaf out of Harrison Ford’s book and assume the role he had almost 30 years ago – yes, it’s been that long. Instead, newcomer Kenny Wormald fills Bacon’s dancing shoes as Ren McCormack, a Bostonite who moves to small town, Oklahoma after his mother’s death. Although his character’s new home does not welcome open dancing and loud music, Wormald was raised in Boston where he says he was also hesitant to reveal his passion.

“I used to get made fun of for dancing,” says Wormald. “Within my own town where I grew up, I felt like an outsider. I used to lie to kids, ‘I’m only doing tap dance. It’s really cool.’ But I was doing ballet and jazz and everything. There was a time I felt wrong for doing what I love. Screw them.”

In Footloose, however, dancing and playing loud music are made illegal after the death of several teens while driving home from a dance. Reverend Shaw Moore (Dennis Quaid) is a proponent for the law since it was his son that was behind the wheel of the car that caused the tragedy. His daughter Ariel (Julianne Hough) is a free-spirited, fun-loving high schooler who acts unbecoming of a preacher’s daughter.

“I think she’s more likable in this version,” says Hough about her character compared to the character originated by Lori Singer. “There’s more depth to her, and you understand why she acts the way she does. I think Ren finds her more attractive that way. In the original, I thought she was a total bitch.”

Trying to adjust to life in the very small town, Ren finds a friend in Willard (Miles Teller) and a love interest in Ariel who wants only to do with the token bad boy in town. Ziah Colon stars as Rusty, Ariel’s best friend and, often, the only voice of reason. Georgia born and bred, Colon gives the film her stamp of approval in terms of showing what it’s really like down there.

“Craig gives a great depiction of what the south is today,” explains Colon. “There are so many cultures in the south now, and I think people forget that. We get to see that. He adds that grit, and the hip hop and the different genres of music that are in the south.”

“Everyone is white in the first one,” interjects her close friend and co-star Teller. “So there is a difference [between this and its original].”

But the jovial talk of light-hearted dancing and freedom of expression turns slightly serious when the stars of the film are asked to describe what dancing means to them. In Wormald’s childhood, dancing meant hanging with the right crowd.

“It kept me out of trouble,” says Wormald. “I was in dance class six days a week. I didn’t have time to go out and do crazy things. I’m from Boston, and a lot of my friends got into some bad business. And I was just going to dance class.”

“It’s an expression of who you are,” says a passionate Hough who is best known for being a professional dancer on “Dancing with the Stars.” “I feel like I’d be a little dead inside because I can’t remember my life without dance.”

If anything, Footloose is a carefree fall flick that has a big heart and even bigger dancing feet. You may cry, you’ll probably laugh and you’ll most definitely leave the theater wishing your parents had put you in dance class. Above all, Footloose is an experience for those who weren’t around for the phenom that was its predecessor.

“Adults bring their kids, and they are watching their kids go through what they went through with the original,” says Wormald. “To make sure that that same heart is there, that’s what we want to get out of it.”

Footloose releases in theaters Oct. 14.