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  • Writer's pictureKristyn Burtt

2020 Emmys Watch: Outstanding Choreography Submissions

Updated: Jul 26, 2020

Emmys season is officially here, even though it feels quite different than prior years. The elaborate FYC (For Your Consideration) parties aren't happening and the state of Emmys week in September is still in flux. The Emmys will happen one way or another, but a ceremony in a crowded downtown L.A. theatre seems out of the question at the moment. The Emmy Awards calendar has been slightly revised with the entry deadline for nominations shifting to June 5. Voting for nominations begins on July 2 and the nominations will be announced July 28.

It's never too early to talk about Outstanding Choreography submissions for the Variety or Reality Programming and Scripted Programming categories. Dance Dish will continue to update this list as choreographers discuss their Emmys submissions and which pieces they selected for a nomination.

Variety or Reality Programming

In the Variety or Reality Programming category, the race is wide open because World of Dance will not be eligible for this Emmys period. Season 4, which debuts on May 26, 2020, will submit their nominees for the 2020-2021 television season. Last year, Tessandra Chavez took home the win for Seasons 2 and 3 of the series. This category has always been competitive and this year should be no different. Season 16 of So You Think You Can Dance is sure to be in the mix as well as Holidays with the Houghs. It's been three years since Dancing with the Stars had a nomination in this category, but anything is possible this year with World of Dance out of the running. The nominees will be announced on July 28, but the final winner will decided by a jury from the Choreography Peer Group.

Derek Hough: Holidays with the Houghs

"One routine from Holidays with the Houghs that was a logistical challenge was this rotating room, where I dance with a young boy and I play the father and he plays the son," he explained to Gold Derby. "That particular project takes a lot of trial and error. That one is also really special and it has to be one take."

Derek Hough, Julianne Hough, Hayley Erbert: Disney Family Singalong

"The format we are shooting it in is kind of made for social media or YouTube. We are creating this content for television. That was my mentality as well," he said. "I wanted it to be television-worthy and I wanted it to feel like a production because that's what television is. I wanted to make sure we lived up to that."

Talia Favia: So You Think You Can Dance:

Talia Favia had a big impact on Season 15 and 16 of So You Think You Can Dance. It was "Amen" that put her signature style on full display. With a male trio and a powerful song, it's hard not to see this piece as an Emmy standout.

Travis Wall: So You Think You Can Dance:

There will always be dances that I witnessed live in-studio that will forever be seared in my brain. This Travis Wall piece is one of them. The hair on my arms was standing up by the end of number from the goosebumps. It was chilling. Wall only choreographed two weeks on the show in Season 16, but this piece might give him his 10th consecutive Emmy nomination for Outstanding Choreography.

Scripted Programming

This category was introduced in 2019 because dance on TV has taken many different forms. It's not really fair to pit a variety show against a scripted series. The Television Academy took note of this and divided it up. The first winner in this category was Kathryn Burns for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. With Crazy Ex-Girlfriend no longer on the air, the field is also wide open. Remember, this category's nominees/winner are solely decided by a jury, it is not voted on by the membership.

Marguerite Derricks: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

The FYC program for the show already went out to Television Academy members a few weeks ago and the choreography by Marguerite Derricks was mentioned as a highlight of the show. With Season 3 having the big USO moment in the first episode, it would be hard to ignore her contributions to the show.

Mandy Moore: Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist

It's going to be hard to choose just three numbers from this series. From the pilot with big Mandy Moore group numbers to the touching father-daughter finale, this is a tough show to beat because it has it all.

Tommy Tonge: Penny Dreadful: City of Angels

Tommy Tonge created an entire world through movement with Penny Dreadful: City of Angels. The work is lush, exquisite and often involves over 100 dancers in the scene. Koko Iwasaki and Kiki Nyemchek talked about their experience as a part of the skeleton crew for developing the movement on To The Pointe in January. It was an experience they will never forget — will the voters feel the same way?

Before you go, click here to read about Mandy Moore's 2018 Emmy win for 'So You Think You Can Dance.'


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