Congrats to this year's Outstanding Choreography Emmy nominees, announced yesterday morning in Hollywood! It's a pretty stellar list of names, with "So You Think You Can Dance" and "Dancing with the Stars" choreographers earning four of the category's five slots. (Rockstar Mandy Moore was actually nominated for her work on both shows. 🙌 )
If, like me, you've ever wondered (and wondered) how that stunning opening scene in La La Land came together, do we have a treat for you.
It's funny to hear the New York Times describe choreographer Mandy Moore as "not a household name"—because, in our dance universe, she's basically THE household name. But that's why we're excited the Times just put out a great profile of Moore, talking about her work on the drop-dead gorgeous song-and-dance film La La Land. If a major newspaper is talking about her, hey, she's one step closer to mainstream fame, which she richly deserves.
What makes the Times story especially fun? We get to hear more about how, exactly, she taught stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling to dance. Well, OK—she wasn't starting from square one, given Stone's star turn in the jazzy Cabaret on Broadway and the video evidence we have of baby Gosling's insanely adorable dance moves. But Moore had to bring out their Fred and Ginger side, a kind of graceful naturalism. That involved training them in the fundamentals of tap, ballroom and jazz. “I tried to instill a general love of learning how to dance in them, because I thought that that was going to go a lot further than just teaching them steps," Moore told the Times.
Other tasty nuggets: She played Frank Sinatra for Gosling's training sessions, and Haim for Stone's (lord, could Emma GET any cooler?). Moore's choreo inspirations for various scenes included "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story and "Rich Man's Frug" from Sweet Charity. Moore herself trained in belly dancing growing up, which is amazing.
It's the perfect read to get you through this pre-holiday hump day. And once you're done, go ahead and watch the La La Land behind-the-scenes featurette again, because you know you want to:
As if last night's Oscars didn't feature enough dance goodness (still obsessed with that swoon-worthy Justin Timberlake opener), "Good Morning America" gifted us with another fab show this morning—featuring a few of our fave dancers.
The performance on "GMA" was set to La La Land's catchy opening song "Another Day of Sun" and featured some fantastically old-Hollywood-esque choreo by Mandy Moore (she choreographed the film) and Al Blackstone.
How American in Paris-y is the poster? LOVE.
You guys! We need to FREAK OUT talk about La La Land. It's out in select cities December 9, it stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, it's already getting Oscar buzz—and it's the most fabulously song-and-dance-y thing to hit the big screen since, oh, the movie musicals of the 1950s.
Which is exactly the idea. Writer Damien Chazelle wanted "to take the old [movie] musical but ground it in real life where things don't always work out." The result is a modern-day spin on the classic genre, telling the story of an aspiring actress and a struggling jazz musician through song and—hooray!—LOTS of dance.
There are no fewer than 15 musical numbers in La La Land, with choreography by the ever-fantastic Mandy Moore. And you'll see almost literally every dancer in Hollywood onscreen at some point. In addition to High Strung's Sonoya Mizuno, who has a speaking role, the movie's IMDB page credits—take a breath before you start down this list, because it's a doozy—Melinda Sullivan, Dana Wilson, Khasan Brailsford, Montana Efaw, Galen Hooks, Jeremy Hudson, Ryan Ramirez, Bryan Tanaka, Mallauri Esquibel, Martha Nichols, Robert Roldan and Chelsea Thedinga. (And that is a VERY PARTIAL list.)
We already knew Stone and (especially) Gosling were triple threats, and the peeks we get at their dance scenes in the movie's various teasers are verrrrry intriguing—lots of Fred-and-Ginger vibes. Take a look at the film's official trailer and a great behind-the-scenes featurette, which includes an interview with Moore, below.
It's Halloween week, which means..."Dancing with the Stars" is doing things that make us miss Wade Robson's Ramalama (Bang Bang).
I know, I know—sorry to get sidetracked in the "So You Think You Can Dance" universe during what is ostensibly a "DWTS" recap. But the over-the-top zombie hair and makeup, tattered-chic costumes and spookily spastic choreography in Mandy Moore's fun opening number last night were giving me Robson flashbacks in the best way possible. (COME BACK TO US, WADE.)
The narrative of the Halloween Night episode of "DWTS" centered on the dreaded team dance, which divided the remaining star-pro partnerships into Team Itsy Bitsy and Team Creepy. And there was an extra twist: All the members of Team Creepy were up for elimination. (Way to stack the deck there, "DWTS.")
Derek Hough's "Black Widow" freestyle for the Itsy Bitsys—Bethany Mota, Michael Waltrip, Lea Thompson, Janel Parrish and their partners—was legitimately great, to the extent that I occasionally had a hard time distinguishing the stars from the pros. (Also, I love the heck out of that song, which never hurts.) The Creepys—Alfonso Ribeiro, Sadie Robertson, Antonio Sabato, Jr., Tommy Chong and their pros—gave it their all in a high-energy number to "The Time Warp" from that old Halloween favorite, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. But let's be honest: Any group that includes Tommy Chong is at an immediate disadvantage (sorry, Tommy—love you!). Team Itsy Bitsy ended up outscoring Team Creepy 36-32.
In the non-team portion of the night, Bethany, Janel and (as always) Alfonso all gave strong performances. Note to America: Please, please stop putting Alfonso in the elimination danger zone. He's fantastic! His wife's going to have another baby! He gave the world the Carlton Dance! SAVE CARLTON!
Ahem. Anyway, at the end of the night, it was Antonio Sabato, Jr. who was sent packing. Domo arigato, Mr. Sabato. I'll miss your abs you.
What did you all think of last night's episode? Did Team Itsy Bitsy earn its victory? Who's going home next week? Should everyone just chill out with the guyliner for a while (YES)? Let us know in the comments!