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The movie begins on Ocean Drive in Miami, Florida. A flashmob, later identified as 'The Mob,' shuts down Ocean Drive by cutting off the streets with retro convertibles and dancing on cars to music blasted by DJ Penelope (Cleopatra Coleman). A few hours later, Sean (Ryan Guzman), Eddie (Misha Gabriel), and Jason (Stephen "tWitch" Boss), the leaders of the Mob, watch their latest flashmob air on the news in a restaurant kitchen where they work. A few complain about their public disturbance, while others praise it. After they get off work, they sneak into the Dimont Hotel's beach club (where they work), claiming to be guests, not employees.
Meanwhile, across the club at the bar, Emily (Kathryn McCormick) tries to get the waiter's attention, but ends up preparing her own beer. Sean, who is immediately smitten by her, asks for a beer. She tells him its on the house, then heads down to the beach to dance, resulting in a dance battle between the two, but ending with Emily suddenly running off when she sees one of her dad's business partners, Trip.
The next day, Emily and her dad Bill Anderson (Peter Gallagher) argue over breakfast at the Dimont Hotel. Sean, their waiter, immediately recognizes her, but Emily spills her orange juice in an attempt to distract Sean. He helps clean it up, but when he goes to far Emily immediately storms off in an angry fit with Sean following her into the hotel's ballroom, where Emily begins a fast contemporary dance, oblivious to Sean's presence. After Emily notices Sean and warms up to him, she explains to him that she's trying to nail an audition for the prestigious Winwood Dance Academy Company, which she is already a pupil of. Sean advises her to incorporate faster, more interesting moves, but Emily declines, saying that there are rules. Sean, in turn, tells her to break the rules, giving her an address and telling her to come there. Emily does and finds herself at the Miami Museum of Fine Arts, where the paintings and statues come to life, which is work of the Mob. By telling her to attend, Sean basically reveals to her his participation in the Mob.
The next day, Emily persuades Sean to let her take part in their next Mob, which is scheduled to hit a restaurant the following week. Eddy immediately dislikes Emily, giving her the lead to test her. Sean then introduces her to "the gang" where she meets Eddy (The Hacker), Penelope (The DJ), Jason (The FX), and Mercury (The Artist), who never talks. He also explains that they are trying to win a contest through YouTube by getting 10 million hits on the site. The flashmob goes well and Eddy admits that Emily did great. They then celebrate at Ricky's, where Emily and Sean salsa together, much to everyone's delight. Emily and Sean then sneak onto a boat Sean had reserved for himself to sail down the river. There, they bond over their mothers both not being a part of their lives, and they kiss and sleep on the boat until morning. When they hurry back to Ricky's, which turns out to be owned by Sean's uncle, Ricky reveals to them that Emily's dad, a building tycoon, is planning to develop the strip, destroying Ricky's bar, Sean's home, Sean's sister's home and workplace, and many other things. Enraged, Emily storms off to talk to her dad, with Sean following behind her. Emily wants to tell the Mob who her dad is, but is reluctantly convinced by Sean not to. She instead finds out from her dad that there will be a meeting to determine whether the project to develop the strip goes through or not. She convinces the rest of the Mob to protest the plans. Their dance is a huge hit, gaining the group over a million more views.
Eddy finds out that Emily is Bill's daughter through watching a tape of Sean and Emily rehearsing where she reveals the truth, without knowing that they are being recorded. Enraged, he reveals with the Mob to Bill through a protest dance that Emily is a part of the Mob. This ruins relationships for Emily with Sean (romantically), Eddy (friendly), Bill (trustfully), and the rest of the Mob. Emily leaves embarrassed, and Sean, brokenhearted, is arrested for trying to stop Eddy from being arrested after they fight. Emily had rehearsed her Winwood audition piece as a duet with Sean, but now that she and Sean are estranged, she no longer has him as a dance partner. Instead, she adapts the piece, dancing it as a solo performance. The result falls flat and she fails her audition for the troop. She finally meets Sean, and tells him she is going back to work for her dad, per a promise she made with her dad that if she did not become a professional dancer by the end of the summer that she would work at his hotel.
After Eddy and Sean were sent to jail for being caught in the flashmob, Ricky bails them out and Eddy and Sean make up. Sean convinces the Mob to do one last protest to speak for the people who don't have a voice, but the Mob gives them one. They then Mob the development public announcement, with the help of past Step Up characters, including Moose (Adam Sevani), Kido, and Vladd. Emily and Sean then perform the original audition piece. Seeing his daughter so happy, Bill decides to build up the community rather than tear it down, and he and Emily reconcile. Sean and Emily kiss passionately and make up, and Eddy and Sean makes a deal with the owner of the marketing firm that represents Nike for the Mob to dance in their commercials. The end sequence shows numerous dance numbers from throughout the movie.