Will Loftis teaching at NUVO Dance Convention (Courtesy Break The Floor Productions)

How Choreographer Will Loftis Finds Inspiration

As a choreographer, Will Loftis has touched almost every part of the dance industry. He's worked on television, from "So You Think You Can Dance" to "The World's Best" to "The Voice," and he served as the supervising choreographer for the "Dancing with the Stars" 2020 tour. He's a regular on the convention circuit, teaching combos at NUVO, The Dance Awards, and DancerPalooza. He's worked with musical artists, including Miley Cyrus and Florence + the Machine, plus ballet companies, including Los Angeles Ballet and Cincinnati Ballet. Oh, and he's appeared in just about all of your favorite dancy TV shows and movies, including "Bunheads," "Glee," "Shake it Up" and Teen Beach Movie. Find out what inspires Loftis below—and follow him on Instagram @willloftis to see what he does next. —Cadence Neenan

"Don't be afraid to try different things. As people see what else is happening, a lot of times they try to mimic that, or recreate that. Find your own lane. Find your own voice. Take your training and take everything that you have learned and create your own thing."

"Music is a massive inspiration for me. I am the Shazam king of the world. Most of my favorite pieces I've done, I found the music because I heard it while I was at dinner, or at the gym, or on the street. I don't spend tons of time looking for music. Music finds me."

"I'm really visual, so I'm definitely inspired by different fashion designers and aesthetics. I look at people's style—I love the way Janelle Monaé dresses, I love Pharrell's style, I love anything that's bright and monochromatic."

"Anytime you're doing TV or film work, it's always about meeting in the middle, which I think is an art within itself. It's still about finding your voice, and creating your own movement and aesthetic, but it's also about, 'OK, we have to reveal six celebrities in the skybox in the first 30 seconds, and then we've got this cool new camera that we want to show off.' I have to think about, 'How can I do what they need and still make it look like me?' "

"Any song that I choreograph to, I really research the artist. I look at where they were when they wrote the song, what the song is about. You don't always have to do exactly what the song is saying—I think you can take a song and put an interesting spin on it. But I always think that what I'm working on is, at that moment, the furthest extension of the artist's work. I'm carrying their work forwards."

"My favorite part about choreography is that I don't have to be the same Will Loftis all the time. I like when people can look at my work and know it's mine, but I also don't want them to think 'Oh, it's more of the same.' I like to switch it up."

"Every single one of my experiences, every single one of my teachers, every single one of my mentors—it has all shaped my choreography. I've learned so much from so many different people. I've gotten to work with people like Mandy Moore and Sonya Tayeh, whose work is similar to my style, but I've also worked with ballroom dancers, hip-hop dancers, breakers, b-girls and b-boys. I love learning from so many different people who are in different parts of the industry."

"Being willing to learn from others, to just be a student, is really important. I've seen a lot of young choreographers who are frustrated if they aren't instantly a hit, or instantly super-successful, but I think that's part of the process, giving yourself time to develop."

Latest Posts

Because there's never been a better time to binge-watch "Bunheads" (via Freeform)

5 of the Danciest TV Shows Streaming Right Now (and Where to Stream Them)

We're about two months into #SocialDisDancing, and let's be real—while we all wish we were spending every spare minute stretching, cross-training, or taking online classes, sometimes we just need to Netflix and chill.

We figure, if you're going to be watching TV anyways, why not make it dancy TV? After all, watching pros dance on-screen is basically dance class homework...or at least we'll say it is. Here are five of the danciest TV shows for you to watch—and where to find them.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
The cast of Center Stage in a promotional poster (courtesy Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

The Making of "Center Stage," as Remembered by Its Dance Stars

Whether you first watched it in a theater two decades ago or on Netflix last week, odds are you feel a deep connection to Center Stage. The cult classic, which premiered May 12, 2000, is arguably the greatest dance film ever made. (Dance obsessives might take issue with the "cult" before "classic," not to mention the "dance" before "film.") Jody Sawyer's ballet journey—which combines oh-wow-I've-had-those-blisters realism with wait-does-she-have-magic-color-changing-pointe-shoes fantasy—stands the test of time, early-aughts fashion be darned. We've memorized its highly quotable lines, laughed with (and, gently, at) its heroes, and been inspired by its sincere love of dance and dancers.

To celebrate Center Stage's 20th anniversary, we asked five of its dance stars to talk through their memories of the filming process. Here are their stories of on-set bonding, post-puke kissing scenes, and life imitating art imitating life.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

2020 Dance Grads: We Want to Put You on Our Cover!

Hello, all you members of the great Dance Class of 2020. With the world on lockdown, this hasn't been the graduation season you expected. You likely weren't able to go to prom; your commencement ceremonies have probably been delayed or canceled; and you might not have been able to take your planned-for final bow onstage.

Since you're missing out on so much, we'd like to give you a virtual ovation, to recognize all you've accomplished. And what's the highest honor we can bestow? The cover of Dance Spirit!

Here's the plan:

  • If you're a high school or college senior dancer, use this form to submit your information and dance portrait.
  • Each day during the month of May, we'll create a digital Dance Spirit cover starring one of you, chosen at random—31 covers in total.
  • At the end of the month, we'll create a "commencement video" featuring even more of your submitted dance photos.
  • 100 of you, selected by lottery, will also receive free one-year subscriptions to the print magazine.

Merde, 2020 graduates, as you dance your way into the future!

High School and College Senior Dancers: Submit Your Photo Here

Editors' Picks

Enter the Cover Model Search