Last night's episode of "All the Right Moves" was mostly hilarious (Nick compares riding a bike with "Toddlers & Tiaras") with a tiny touch of boy drama (don't kiss your best friend's girl, people) and, naturally, an explosive blow from Taja, who threatened to leave the company. There wasn't enough dancing for my liking, but there was still plenty of action, so let's talk about that, OK?
The 10 Lessons We Learned From “All the Right Moves” Episode 3:
1. The backpacks on this show continue to be amazing. I realize that during the first scene I was supposed to be focused on the blowout between Travis and Taja and the whole "this needs to squash" drama. But really, all I could think was that last week, Travis rocked a black sequined backpack (which appeared again this week before he did his solo), and this week Taja made her exit wearing a yellow fur backpack thing. I would like to pitch a spin-off to Oxygen called "Backpack Shopping with Shaping Sound." I will gladly let Travis and Taja hook me up.
Oh yeah, and Taja quits the company. She says her work ethic is "misunderstood," and this makes Travis sad because he feels like he and Taja have such a long-standing relationship and she would never do this to him. Luckily the other female dancers in the company are pretty much awesome, so I think everyone will be OK.
2. At some point, you have to make a decision: Are we best friends or are we professionals? Obviously leading a company of your peers is going to be challenging, and this came to a head in last night's episode with the Taja/Travis stuff. I think Travis could have come down on Taja a bit harder, honestly, which I know is tough. But by saying, "Enough is enough, shape up or you're out," he would have maintained the upper hand instead of letting her be the one to leave.
Travis made a great point later when he was talking with Jaimie, and it's a point I wish he had made directly to Taja: "You would have never done that with Brian Friedman. You would have never done that on 'X Factor.' " It's so true. Look, I like Taja, I really do, and I get where she's coming from sometimes. But she does act differently around Travis than she does around Nicole Scherzinger, I'm sure, and that's not fair.
Also, Taja's hair bouf gets bigger every week.
3. Jaimie and I have the same bunny onesie. I got it for Christmas. It's really snuggly and wonderful. It's no sequined backpack, but it's still pretty cool.
4. Travis doesn't want to be a dancer. "It may be hard for people to believe, but I don't like dancing as much as I like choreographing," he said last night. I like that he's evolved, and that he's done it consciously and at his own will. It wasn't like he stopped growing as a dancer or got injured or dried up. Travis was always a really good performer. But he realized it wasn't what he wanted to do, and so he took action to transition into choreography, and ultimately he wants to be a director. I give him a lot of credit there.
"My life as a dancer, to me, means nothing," Travis said. It's kind of a bummer because he's really talented and he can do something like 4,200 pirouettes, but hey, if he's not digging all that spinning, why do it? Power to you, Trav, for doing what you want and not just doing what you're already good at.
5. Kyle and Noelle together should be illegal. It's just too much good-looking-ness happening.
6. Chantel Aguirre is my favorite female dancer right now. She doesn't even have to dance. I just think she's so stunning.
7. The whole "Teddy kissed Kyle's girlfriend" thing from the episode previews was just slightly blown out of proportion, don't you think? First of all, it didn't really seem clear to me that Noelle and Kyle were actually dating. Were they? Did I miss that? I don't know. So yeah it's a bit shady that Teddy and Noelle kissed (where were the Oxygen camera crews for that one?), and Teddy says it was all "intense," but the bro code didn't seem quite as broken as the previews indicated.
What have we learned from all this, dancers? Don't drink tequila. It's evil and it ruins lives and friendships.
Also, in the "morning after everyone got drunk and kissed the wrong people" scene, Teddy's Gatorade matches his bright-green shirt. I realize this has little relevancy, but it's something I noticed and appreciated.
8. Nick taking hip hop is the best ever. He walks into Bryan Tanaka's class with a sideways hat and a greeting of "What up, gangsters?" Nick claims he's terrible at hip hop. "I'm stressed out about this!" he exclaims. He says he doesn't like doing hip hop because he's not good at it. I get that—but I thought he looked pretty good! Granted, he was dancing next to Teddy, who crushed the choreography effortlessly, but Nick held his own. Still, Nick doesn't want Shaping Sound to do hip hop in its show, and then he drops a "You go, Glen Coco." Just...yes. Yes, Nick.
Then, Nick and Travis have a heart-to-heart back at the house, which is great. Nick recounts his day of hip hopping, dropping great lines like "Not to mention, Teddy was like DJ Swagaroo." He tells Travis that when he's not good at something, it stresses him out. And that brings us to knee pads...
9. Travis teaches Nick how to ride a bike, but it's about so much more than that. This was, hands down, the most excellent part of the episode. To summarize: Nick agrees to learn to ride a bike (which he refers to as "a machine") if, in turn, Travis will overcome his fear of performing a solo. Travis is practically giddy about getting Nick into knee pads, elbow pads and a helmet and it's so ridiculous to watch.
Nick in a helmet is cute enough, but Travis wanting to teach him to help him "overcome his control issues" is even more precious. Then Nick slams his head into the ground to make sure his helmet works. Now, we all realize this scene wasn't just about learning to ride a bike, right? There's deeper contextual meaning here as Nick "takes one for the team, bites the bullet and tries not to break his face" on the bike. This was about Nick pedaling around ("pushing like a mom from 'Toddlers & Tiaras' ") and overcoming his own fears so Travis could take that energy onstage with him to perform a solo. That's friendship, man. Bromance—brodance—at its best.
10. Kyle is angry. Luckily, anger looks good on him. Everything looks good on him. Teddy confesses that he and Noelle kissed, and Kyle seems a little "kicked while I'm down." He tells Teddy he's "been lost the past couple weeks" and ultimately snaps that he's "over L.A. and over Shaping Sound." But considering he's in the previews for next week's episode, I don't think he's going too far. And I predict he forgives Teddy, because they are besties.
Next week: tWitch is back! Plus, the boys plan to go to NUVO to perform a Shaping Sound piece, but then everyone bails and it is scandalous.
Until then, tell us what you thought of this week's episode!
Today's the day! "All the Right Moves" premieres tonight at 9/8c on Oxygen. Get the popcorn ready and set your DVRs, people, because you're going to love this show. I mean, come on: a docu-series starring Travis Wall, Teddy Forance, Nick Lazzarini and Kyle Robinson, along with the other super-hot members of contemporary company Shaping Sound? What's not to love?
And if you're looking for a little pre-premiere reading/viewing to psych yourself up, we're here to help. Learn all about Shaping Sound in Alison Feller's May/June cover story. Check out these kind of hilarious highlights from a conference call with Travis, Teddy, Nick and Kyle. Get a sneak peek at clips from the show on the "ATRM" website. And watch the fab foursome banter on Pix 11 News below. Enjoy!
T-minus two weeks until the premiere of "All the Right Moves" on Oxygen! Us DS editors were lucky enough to get our hands on a preview copy of the first episode of the dance reality show—starring Travis Wall, Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance, Kyle Robinson and the other members of Shaping Sound—and we can assure you that it's packed with all the amazing dancing (and drama) you're hoping for. (It also, by the way, features a cameo by Editor in Chief Alison Feller's arm, from the footage the show's crew shot at our photo shoot with Shaping Sound.)
Travis, Nick, Teddy and Kyle, who live together as well as dance together in L.A., did a conference call on Monday to discuss the show. They were, of course, their usual awesome, outspoken selves. Here are some of the highlights.
[When asked what they've learned about each other from living together:]
Nick: With Kyle, I learned that he's...very handy. I mean, the first week he moved into our house, he literally fixed everything that was wrong in it. It was incredible. It was like having Tim "The Toolman" Taylor in our house.
[On the dynamic of two straight guys living with two gay guys:]
Travis: We don't even think about it, because it's our life and it's been our lives. This is who we are and this is who we've always been. Our sexuality has never ever been a factor in our relationship.
Kyle: I mean, they know that I'm straight and they respect that. Do they crack jokes and everything? Yes, all the time. They're always like—you know, grabbing at me. But, you know, you fend them off and then you're like, "All right, come on."
Nick: Kyle, I've never grabbed you before.
Kyle: Oh no, never, Nick.
[Their advice for aspiring dancers:]
Teddy: Have your own voice. Give that style and that flavor—find your own creative juices. All of [Shaping Sound's] dancers can take the stage and be amazing.
Travis: Train, train, train. Take your ballet seriously. Do everything technically that you can do to make your body better....We also look for that something special. All the girls that dance in our company, especially—they sparkle. They're really cool girls, and that comes across in their dancing.
Kyle: And it helps if you can get the leg up.
Tune in for the first episode of "All the Right Moves" on July 31 at 9/8c!
(photo by Joe Toreno for Dance Spirit)
It seems like Travis Wall can do no wrong. From absolutely killing it on "So You Think You Can Dance" almost every single week to getting nominated for an(other) Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography—his fourth—Wall is having one heck of a year. There's only one downside: The Emmy Award presentation for choreographers won't be broadcast live on TV à la last year. Instead, they'll be presented at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards this weekend—not on TV, not in the limelight.
I believe I speak for us all when I address the Emmy producers: BOOOOO.
But Wall is taking it all in stride, continuing to wow us on "So You Think" and gearing up for a second national tour with Shaping Sound. We talked with Wall before the Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
Are you pleased with the pieces that make up your Emmy nomination this year ("Hanging by a Thread," "Wicked Game" and "Medicine")?
I am! The "SYTYCD" producers submit choreographers for nomination, but they give us the chance to weigh in on the pieces they select to represent our body of work. So if I win, I win for all three routines. My favorite is definitely Wicked Games, which I choreographed for Amy Yakima. But I'm just so honored to be nominated again. I try not to think about it too much—it's so crazy.
Amy Yakima and Travis Wall in Wall's Wicked Games
(photo Adam Rose/FOX)
What's next for you?
Right after "SYTYCD" finishes, Shaping Sound starts rehearsals for its next tour, which starts in October. We'll be stopping in more than 20 cities. I'm really excited for Shaping Sound to hit my hometown in Virginia so my family and everyone at my dance studio can see what I've created.
Is it a new show?
It has the same outline as our first production, but it will be an overall cleaner and better show. There are two new numbers, and lots of things throughout have evolved. We definitely want to keep it fresh. The cast is also changing—we held an audition earlier this week to fill a couple of male parts.
Shaping Sound Dance Company in That's Where I'll Be Waiting
(photo by Charley Gallay, courtesy Shaping Sound)
What qualities do you look for in a dancer?
I love dancers who are unique. I look for someone who I believe can stand onstage alone and hold an audience's attention. I also like hiring people we already know. When we're on tour, we live, eat and breathe with one another. So we have to be able to get along. And of course, I'm always excited to see amazing technique and focus.
What are your goals beyond the tour?
I just always want to stay passionate about what I do. I work hard and put so much of myself into my work, so I hope to continue doing that. I have to stay focused. And I know that if I continue pushing myself, and stay on the same path, I'll achieve my biggest dreams ever.
Jamie Goodwin and Teddy Forance have a not-so-private conversation on the set of "All the Right Moves." (photo by Joe Toreno)
If you’re anything like us, you’re probably glued to the screen anytime a reality dance show is on. Then you might watch it over and over on your DVR, obsessing over your favorite parts. (No? Maybe that’s just us, then.) And, like any dance reality junkie, you’re probably dying to know the juicy secrets about how things really work behind the scenes. Wonder no more: We’re flipping the script and unveiling the top five reality show secrets. (Shhh! Don’t tell anyone.)
Reality Secret #1: Unscripted doesn’t always mean unscripted.
So how real are reality shows? It depends on the show, but in many cases, the stars might follow a loose script or even be fed certain lines by producers. Not everyone is always in on the storyline, either. For example, on “Dance Moms,” some moms know the plan and others don’t (making those “surprises” extra juicy). Time constraints play into it, too: When our DS insiders were on the “Dance Moms” set, they heard that dancers sometimes changed outfits several times a day to make studio scenes seem more spaced out, when really they’re all filmed within a 24-hour period. And “Dance Moms” isn’t the only show that enhances reality just a tad: on “So You Think You Can Dance,” sometimes the contestants are asked to reshoot their “I’m going to Vegas!” reactions to make them more over the top.
"Usually when someone's filming a rehearsal in one room, the rest of the kids will be in the other room having dance offs," says Maddie Ziegler, above, of "Dance Moms." "We listen to music and jam out." (photo by Nate Powers)
Other dance reality shows, like “Breaking Pointe,” are a bit more true to life. “Breaking Pointe” executive producer Izzie Pick Ashcroft says the cameras at Ballet West rehearsals are purely observational, as that’s one of the conditions of being allowed to film there. “We can film class, but we can’t produce it or ask people to do anything over again,” she shares. “We just have to hope and pray there’s a story in there.” (And there almost always is!)
Reality Secret #2: On dance competition shows, things move at lightning speed behind the scenes.
Since shows like “SYTYCD” and “Dancing with the Stars” debut new routines every week, a new show is set in motion as soon as the cameras stop rolling on the last one. To succeed, contestants must thrive amid the fast-paced flurry of activity. (By finale week on “SYTYCD” Season 10, the remaining contestants were put on IV fluids to keep their energy up.) “The question is: Can you work under that pressure and still deliver a quality performance?” says choreographer Tyce Diorio.
Vegas Week on "So You Think You Can Dance" is just as grueling as it seems on TV. (photo by Adam Rose/FOX)
A typical week on “SYTYCD” goes like this: After Tuesday’s taping/live show, the process starts all over again. On Wednesday, the choreographers figure out their concepts, lighting, costumes and music for the next week’s routine, and the contestants learn the choreography on Thursday and Friday. “They only get seven hours with us to perfect the routine,” Diorio says. Contestants spend weekends working on the group routines and practicing on their own, and on Monday, they rehearse onstage for the producers. Come Tuesday, it’s dress rehearsal and show time!
“DWTS” couples have a bit more time to practice, with unlimited studio time from Wednesday to Sunday. “Certain celebrities want to be in the studio nine hours a day, while others are OK with three or four,” says Chelsie Hightower, who mentions Helio Castroneves and Ty Murray as her hardest-working partners.
Reality Secret #3: Everyone involved must always be ready for changes.
Even the best-laid plans sometimes hit snags. Just ask Diorio, who found out at the last minute that the song he’d chosen for Will Wingfield and Jessica King’s contemporary routine in Season 4 wasn’t cleared to air. But his second choice turned out to be a lucky charm. “My backup song, ‘Silence,’ ended up being part of my Emmy-winning routine,” he says.
Real-life problems can also throw filming for a loop. For instance, when Ronnie Underwood from “Breaking Pointe” suffered a nasty foot injury, the producers had to scramble to follow the storyline. “Ronnie had his accident around Christmas, and suddenly we were all on the phone between Christmas and New Year’s trying to work things out,” says Pick Ashcroft. “Here’s one of the senior male dancers, who would have had a big role in Cinderella, suddenly out of the picture. We just had to follow that.” In the end, the show’s producers got even better drama for the show than they may have hoped for.
Reality Secret #4: You’re not necessarily guaranteed your spot from season to season.
Just because you’re in the cast one season doesn’t mean you have it made in the shade forever. For instance, the whole cast of “Breaking Pointe” had to show up for an audition interview to be considered for the second season. On recent seasons of “DWTS,” the producers have switched up the pros in the mix for every new go-round (giving fresh “SYTYCD” alums like Lindsay Arnold a chance to break in!). “It’s all about the celebrities and who [the producers] think will match up with them best,” Hightower says. “Things like age, personality and height all factor in—it’s very much a casting process.”
As for the “SYTYCD” All-Stars, many return season after season, but the producers choose who will be taking the stage based on availability, ability and rapport with the choreographers. “Some choreographers request people for certain pieces,” Hightower says. Diorio requested Kathryn for a Holocaust-inspired “Eli, Eli” piece with Chehon Wespi-Tschopp, and also for Season 10’s jazz piece with Paul Karmiryan. In the past, he’s also asked to work with Kent Boyd and Neil Haskell. “Those were three All-Stars I felt very connected to,” Diorio says.
During "SYTYCD" auditions, the days are long, there's plenty of drama and yes, the injuries are real. (photo by Adam Rose/FOX)
Reality Secret #5: Once the ink is dry, reality stars don’t really get any say in what’s shown on TV.
Out of all the hours of footage shot for shows like “Breaking Pointe,” there are probably some moments the stars wish they could erase—but they don’t get to decide what ends up on the cutting room floor. “As a human, you don’t want those things shown to the world, but as a participant in the show, it’s understood that once you sign the contract, nothing is off-limits,” explains cast member Allison DeBona. “In those moments, you have to remember that you signed up for this.” She adds that the stars also don’t get to watch the episodes before they air, so they see them for the first time along with the rest of the world.
“So You Think You Can Dance” Season 9 winner
Eliana Girard (courtesy FOX)
From the wannabe-primas on “Bunheads” to the fierce comp kids on “Dance Moms,” talented dancers—both real and fictional—are all over the TV these days. So which small-screen star are you most like? Take our quiz to find out.
What’s your turning specialty?
[a] A perfect triple pirouette.
[b] Powerful, super-flashy fouettés.
[c] Pretty traveling piqués and chaînés.
Fifteen minutes before show time, you’re…
[a] …already in the wings, calmly reviewing choreography in your head.
[b] …in your dressing room, singing along to your iPod as you apply another coat of your signature bright red lipstick.
[c] …backstage, offering words of encouragement to your nervous friends.
How do you master a difficult new combo?
[a] By practicing endlessly until the steps look perfect and effortless.
[b] By adding a few personal touches, like a sassy hair flip, to help you feel more confident.
[c] By observing other dancers until you feel ready to tackle the moves yourself.
What are your favorite jumps?
[a] Soaring grand jetés.
[b] Switch leaps and toe touches—go big or go home!
[c] Assemblés, pas de chats and any kind of small jump you can do with a group.
You’re asked to improv for 16 counts. What do you do?
[a] Solid moves that show off your technique and your personality.
[b] Every trick in your arsenal, from high kicks to acrobatics. You want to be noticed!
[c] A combo of simple steps you know well.
If you were an iconic ballet character, who would you be?
[a] Aurora from The Sleeping Beauty:
the picture-perfect princess.
[b] Kitri from Don Quixote: sassy, seductive and sultry.
[c] One of the four little swans from
Swan Lake: Go, team!
In dance class, where do you usually stand?
[a] Close to the instructor, so you can hear corrections.
[b] Front and center!
[c] Any spot where you have enough room to dance and won’t be in anyone’s way.
What’s your favorite thing about performing?
[a] The satisfaction of executing a difficult dance flawlessly.
[b] The applause and compliments you receive afterward.
[c] Being able to share the joy of dance with an audience.
Your choreographer wants you to dance a solo at an upcoming competition. How do you feel?
[a] Not surprised. You’re a pro at dancing solo.
[b] Psyched! You’re finally getting the recognition you deserve.
[c] Grateful, but nervous. You’re not used to being in the spotlight.
How do you feel when your best friend lands the part you want?
[a] Disappointed at first—but happy once you realize your part is even bigger.
[b] A little angry with the director. You were perfect for that role!
[c] Ecstatic for your friend. You’re more comfortable with smaller parts anyway.
WHO'S YOUR ONSCREEN ALTER EGO?
Maddie Ziegler (by Scott Gries)
If you answered mostly A’s, you’re the LEADING LADY, like Maddie Ziegler from “Dance Moms,” Eliana Girard from “So You Think You Can Dance,” Karen Cartwright from “Smash” and Christiana Bennett from “Breaking Pointe.” You were born for the spotlight, and you’re always working hard for that next big role. But don’t forget, dancing is supposed to be fun, so try not to take it too seriously all the time.
Megan Hilty as Ivy Lynn (by Patrick Harbron/NBC)
If you answered mostly B’s, you’re THE DIVA, like Taja Riley from “All the Right Moves,” Ivy Lynn from “Smash” and Sasha Torres from “Bunheads.” You’ve got the attitude as well as the moves, and you’re not afraid to show off! Sometimes it’s best to tone it down a bit, though: If your technique is top-notch and your personality screams “Book me!” you’ve probably got the job. And remember to keep your ego in check—no one likes a bossy ballerina!
Nia Frazier and Paige Hyland on “Dance Moms” (by Adam Taylor/ ABC Family)
If you answered mostly C’s, you’re THE BEST FRIEND, like Nia Frazier from “Dance Moms,” Jaimie Goodwin from “All the Right Moves” and Boo Jordan from “Bunheads.” You might take a backseat to the leading lady, but you don’t mind—you just love to dance! You’ll get your moment in the spotlight when the time is right—and when you really want it. In the meantime, know that your talent is worth showing off a little, so don’t get too comfortable in the back row.
Kyle Robinson (bottom row, left) and Brandon Cournay (top row, fourth from right) with their Juilliard class
Brandon Cournay and Kyle Robinson are pretty similar. They both grew up in small towns, moved to NYC to attend The Juilliard School, received their BFAs in Dance in 2009 and went on to have majorly successful dance careers. They also both learned early on that being a male dancer comes with a lot of stereotypes.
Brandon is gay. Kyle is straight. Even though that difference hasn’t changed the way they dance, it’s affected their lives as dancers. Their stories don’t represent every gay or straight male dancer, but they’re real. And Brandon and Kyle agreed to share them with DS.
"I'm Gay" —Brandon Cournay
Brandon for KEIGWIN + COMPANY (Matt Murphy)
As soon as I bought my first pair of Capezio jazz sneakers, I was hooked on dance. I was 10 years old, and I’d wear my dance shoes to school instead of tennis shoes. Yes, I was kind of a weird kid, but I’d found something to look forward to every day.
School was terrible for me. I was constantly being pushed into lockers, and kids would call me “gay” just because I was a dancer. I felt very alone. But I never tried to defend myself, and I didn’t tell anyone about the bullying—not even my parents. I was called gay so frequently I started to wonder, “Am I gay?” when I was still too young to comprehend what that actually meant. I didn’t know anyone in small-town Walled Lake, MI, who was gay and could have told me it was OK.
Every day at four o’clock, I found solace in dance class. I was lucky to go to a studio with a lot of boys. It was unspoken, but we knew we were all going through the same thing at school, and that bonded us.
For the last three years of high school, I had a girlfriend. It’s hard to explain: Looking back, I knew at that point that I was gay. But at the time, I didn’t realize it. I was too afraid and embarrassed to acknowledge it, even to myself.
My girlfriend and I were still dating when I started college at The Juilliard School in NYC. Suddenly, I was meeting people my age and older who were openly gay and totally cool with it. But I was confused through my whole freshman year. I was constantly worried I wasn’t acting straight enough. I was going crazy thinking, What do I do? What is this feeling?
Brandon, with his sister, in his first dance costume
I had a breakthrough when I went back to Michigan the summer after my freshman year. I was acting like a different person back home than I was at school, and I finally understood why. I realized and accepted who I was—a gay man. I felt like a new person, starting over at the age of 19. In a way, it was terrifying.
I never officially came out to my family or friends. There was no big announcement—I just stopped hiding it. When I talked about it with my mom, she just said, “I love you. You’re amazing.” To this day, I still haven’t come out to my extended family. I feel like I don’t have to. I know they know, but I don’t want it to define their perception of me.
After college, I stayed in NYC to audition for roles in both commercial and concert dance. I performed in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and did some gigs with Mark Morris. Then Larry Keigwin—who’d choreographed Runaway on my class during my senior year—emailed to say his company was doing Runaway again and he needed extra dancers. I took the job, and the next season I officially joined KEIGWIN + COMPANY. Larry’s work expands what it means to be a male dancer. For example, Mattress Suite features a love triangle between three men. This company feels like home. These dancers are my family.
As a whole, the dance community in NYC is an open one. But that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with the stereotypes that come with being a gay male dancer. There’s this idea that we’re all promiscuous and flamboyant. Sure, some men act like that, but not all of them.
Brandon with his parents at his Juilliard graduation
When I go back home to Michigan, I’m still self-conscious about how I dress and act. I don’t wear skinny jeans to the mall. I’d rather put on a sweatshirt and “mom jeans” to avoid being called names. In August, I ran into someone from high school in my hometown. I said, “How are you?” and he said, “What’s up, homo?” That still hurts.
Luckily, experiences like that are rare these days. One of my closest friends, who’s straight, just visited me for my birthday, and I’m going to another friend’s wedding next week—my first gay wedding. My sister recently started a serious relationship, which sparked a conversation between my mom and me. She asked, “Why don’t you ever talk to me about your relationships?” I was like, “I didn’t think you wanted to know!” She surprised me. When I meet the right person, I’ll bring him home to meet my parents.
Overall, I don’t think being gay has affected me professionally in a negative way or a positive way. Gay or straight, we’re all just dancers.
"I'm Straight" —Kyle Robinson
Kyle Robinson (Tyler Golden/Oxygen Media)
I loved acting as a kid, especially musical theater, so when I was 10 my mom suggested I join my sister at the dance studio. My dad would’ve liked me to stick to baseball and football. But as soon as I took my first dance class, sports became secondary. It took about a year before my dad really started to understand and accept my dancing. By the time I stopped playing sports altogether to focus on dance, my parents had become my biggest fans.
When anyone gave me a hard time at school for being a dancer, I had ways of dealing with it. If someone called me names like “gay” or “fairy,” I’d say, “Is it gay that I’m hanging out with lots of hot girls after school?” That would shut them up.
I had my first girlfriend at 14—a dancer at my studio. But I’d never really given my sexuality much thought. My hometown, Duxbury, MA, was conservative. Things like that just weren’t discussed.
It wasn’t until starting college at The Juilliard School that I really thought about what it meant to be gay or straight. I felt surrounded by gay men. I think I was one of two straight men in my class and one of five in the division. I suddenly had friends who were questioning their sexualities or coming out for the first time.
Kyle (third from left) with his family
It felt like there was a big gay party I wasn’t invited to. I even wondered, “Am I gay because I dance? Or because I can admit that that’s a good-looking guy?” It didn’t take long to realize that, while I loved my male friends, I wasn’t interested in them in a romantic way. At first, I was uncomfortable changing in front of gay guys in the dressing room. But once I got to know the people I was dancing with, there was so much mutual respect that it wasn’t a problem. They knew I was straight, and we wouldn’t make a big deal out of each other’s sexualities.
I realized how far I’d come when some friends from home visited me in NYC. I brought them to a party with all my dancer friends. In the elevator, I warned them, “No matter what, don’t say anything like ‘homo’ or ‘fairy’ at this party.” We stepped off the elevator, and the first person we saw was one of my gay friends—this tall, gorgeous black man—wearing a tiara and running toward me screaming, “Kyyyle!” My friends from home were in shock. But I loved how out and free people were at Juilliard. I’m glad they didn’t feel the need to conceal it or feel guilty about it.
Still, I found myself hanging out with actors rather than dancers at school. There were more straight guys in that major, and we’d watch sports and meet girls together. I don’t think I realized exactly what I was doing, but there were definitely times I went out of my way to “prove” I was straight. The side effect was that I was a little promiscuous with the ladies.
Kyle (second from left) at the L.A. premiere of West Side Story
Since graduation, I’ve danced with Aszure & Artists and Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, traveled with the first national tour of West Side Story and starred on the reality show “All the Right Moves” with Shaping Sound. I’ve seen how quickly people judge professional dancers. I’m told all the time I look more like a hockey player that a dancer, which I think stops people from automatically assuming I’m gay. Still, after I tell people what I do for a living, they’ll ask, “So are you gay or straight?” Nowadays it doesn’t hurt my feelings.
While filming “ATRM,” we had two straight guys (Teddy Forance and me) and two gay guys (Travis Wall and Nick Lazzarini) living in one house, and the producers had us talk about sexuality to no end. I’m pretty matter-of-fact about it, but I have to admit, discussing it constantly made me a little uncomfortable—mostly because it really wasn’t an issue for us. I loved living with those boys. Yes, Nick liked to get a little frisky with me; he’s definitely grabbed my butt once or twice. But a firm punch to the arm usually dissuades him from doing it again. I know he’s doing it in a playful way. And frankly, I find it flattering that he spends so much time throwing admiration my way.
My advice for any boy who loves to dance, regardless of whether he’s gay or straight, is to follow his passion. And definitely don’t let other people rain on your parade.
Remember "All the Right Moves?" And remember during those last few, tension-filled episodes, when Shaping Sound co-founder and resident fedora-wearer Teddy Forance was repeatedly missing in action?
Teddy was busy—and today we finally get to find out exactly what the contemporary choreographer (and awesome freestyler) was up to.
It does not involve kissing Noelle or any of his other friends' girlfriends.
Ohhh, burn! Sorry, Ted. We love you.
And we love your new project!
It was clear during the eight episodes of "ATRM" that Teddy was always wanting to do more. He was committed to Shaping Sound and the company's work, but Teddy seemed to have this constant desire to add more choreography, more classes, more inspiration to his growing plate of extracurriculars.
So Teddy and his friend, producer/composer Jon Arpino, joined forces and created Movement One.
Movement One is a documentary following Teddy and Jon's quest to create a 30-minute performance (set to an original score) using 20 dancers—in just eight days. The task was ambitious and the camera crews were there for every gorgeously-executed step along the way. You get to see every rehearsal, every brainstorming session, interviews with the dancers and, of course, the final show.
But—no surprise here—not everything goes oh-so-smoothly in those eight days. One of the show's stars (spoiler: Teddy) has to bow out of the performance with little time to spare. Can the guys find a replacement? Will Teddy be OK? Does anyone wear a tank top?
Oh, and did we mention the superstar lineup Teddy gathered for Movement One? Name your favorite "So You Think You Can Dance" alums and you'll find them in the cast. tWitch! Allison Holker! Jaimie Goodwin! Kathryn McCormick! (So basically all of Dance Spirit's 2012 cover stars, plus a few other OMG-so-good dancers including Michael Keefe, Jason Parsons and Ben Susak.)
The documentary is an hour long and, lucky you, you can watch it today for free!