Talking with Travis Wall: Emmy Edition

Travis Wall
(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.

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