Dancers behind the scenes of "Katy Keene," which Kelly Devine works on as choreographer (courtesy LSG Public Relations)

Broadway and TV Choreographer Kelly Devine on What Inspires Her Work

If there's one word to describe Kelly Devine's career, it's "busy." Devine is the choreographer for the new hit musical series on the CW, "Katy Keene" (a spin-off of a little show called "Riverdale"—maybe you've heard of it?), as well the choreographer for the much-anticipated Broadway musical Diana. Of course, Devine is used to being busy: She's an Olivier Award winner, a Tony Award nominee, and a general Broadway icon for her work on shows like Come From Away, Escape to Margaritaville, Rocky, Rock of Ages, and Jersey Boys. Dance Spirit spoke with Devine about what inspires her dazzling work. —Cadence Neenan


"I find inspiration for choreography in all the things I'm drawn to. Music, art, architecture, even in textiles—the way they feel, the way fabric moves. But I'm always looking for things I haven't seen. Being a seeker of new things helps me stay creative."

"I get inspired by everybody I work with. Especially working here in New York—the talent out here, and what the dancers can do. They all work so hard. They're all athletes. But, honestly, every single artist I've worked with has inspired me in some way. The people I work with make me better."

"What's so interesting about working on Broadway, as opposed to film or television, is that it's such a collaboration. I'm responsible for coming up with the steps for a number, but there's also a lyricist, a composer, a dramaturge, a director. You just have to start throwing out ideas, and that's when it turns into something."

"I love creating movement for strong, athletic, beautiful, sensual women onstage. I appreciate that aesthetic—it's empowering."

"On Broadway, you're responsible for every single step in the show—and making sure people are looking where they're supposed to be looking. On film and television, a camera can focus you right in. But with an audience in a theater, how do you tell that story? It's a challenge. And I, apparently, like a challenge."

"Right at this moment, I'm inspired by Harry Styles. I think he's fantastic. He's got something soulful and original—and he's just so cool."

Devine reading up on Princess Diana with Bon Jovi member and Diana lyricist David Bryan (courtesy LSG Public Relations)

"The first time I go into the studio with the dancers, I feel like I'm trying to break concrete. I have no idea what I'm going to do, and the music is playing, and I'm looking for that movement that breaks the dance open."

"The biggest advice I can give is to do everything. Say yes to everything. All you need is a platform to create work. I've said yes to a lot of things that were totally wacky or all over the place, but each gig I did set me up for the next one. I'd learn something. I'd acquire a new skill. It's on-the-job training. And that's really important."

Latest Posts


Kennedy George and Ava Holloway pose in front of Richmond, Virginia's Robert E. Lee statue (Chris George, courtesy Kennedy George and Ava Holloway)

9 Dancers Using Their Art to Advocate for Change

Dance and activism can go hand in hand in a number of ways. Over the past few months, many dancers have turned to their art not only to advocate in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, but to highlight injustice within the dance world itself. Whether it's incorporating dance into protests, starting conversations with other members of the dance community, or expressing themselves through personal creative projects, dancers are finding ways to speak out.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Nick Silverio (Kevin Wang, courtesy Silverio)

Meet the Dance Competition Judge Behind the Most #Relatable Dancer TikToks

If you're on #compkid TikTok, odds are you've seen a post by Nick Silverio (@nicksilverioo). Silverio was a competitive dancer with Elite Academy of Dance in Shrewsbury, MA, before studying business at the University of Pennsylvania and continuing to dance throughout college. Now he works as a professional dancer, choreographer, and competition judge in NYC, and—like so many of us—turned to TikTok to fight quarantine boredom. His account has grown to almost 40k followers and has garnered over a million likes.

We asked Silverio to tell us a bit about his new creative outlet.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Here's a round of applause for all the former comp kids who made it big. (Courtesy Fusion Dance Competiton)

Getting a Leg Up: How Growing Up as a Comp Kid Prepares You to Go Pro

Commercial dancer Kaitlynn Edgar was in Travis Wall's class at NUVO when she realized that competitions and conventions could lead to big things. Like joining-Shaping-Sound big. "After class, Travis started asking me all these questions, like when I was graduating," she recalls. "Everything fell into place, just because I happened to be a senior that year—and because I went to that convention. Soon after, I ended up joining the company."

There are all kinds of natural bridges between the competition world and the professional-dance world. We spoke to the experts about how life on the comp circuit can benefit your future career.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search