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:
Yes, I've done this before. But during last night's "So You Think You Can Dance" episode, dancer-celebrity doppelgängers kept popping into my head. (Maybe because this season's cast is so ridiculously attractive?) Without further ado:
Matthew Kazmierczak and Ryan Gosling
Janelle Issis and Kourtney Kardashian
Witney Carson and Carrie Underwood
Chehon Wespi-Tschopp and Ricky Martin
Amelia Lowe and Amélie (Audrey Tatou)
and finally: Amber Jackson and Mary J. Blige (OK, yes, this is really just a hair lookalike. But still!).
What do you think? Do you see it, or am I crazy? Let us know your other dancer lookalikes in the comments!
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.
For the three people in the world who aren't already in love with Ryan Gosling: This video should take care of that.
Behold 10-year-old Ryan (and his sister, Mandi who's not a bad little dancer herself) performing at a talent show in 1991. To "Everybody Dance Now." In hammer pants. There is, of course, Roger Rabbit-ing involved.
You thought he was cute on The Mickey Mouse Club? Well, this predates his MMC days by two years, which obviously equals even more cuteness. Watch out, ladies.