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  • Writer's pictureKristyn Burtt

Dance on Television Isn't Just 'DWTS' and 'SYTYCD' Anymore

Updated: Apr 11, 2020

When the Emmy nominations came out in July 2016, there were a lot of questions about the choreography category. Instead of the nominees solely coming from So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With the StarsAmerica’s Best Dance Crew and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend were in the mix.

What was hard for some dance fans to understand was the difficulty in choreographing for episodic comedy. They saw non-dancers doing less technical movements, without realizing the challenges of creating movement for the camera.

In the end, two Emmys were handed out to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Kathryn Burns and ABDC stars Quest Crew. These wins also signal a changing of the guard; the days of DWTS and SYTYCD dominating this category are over.

Photo credit: Justin Lubin/NBC

Tuesday night’s World of Dance Industry Awards is also a reflection of the direction the dance industry is moving. The organization is only growing by leaps and bounds now that their new show, World of Dance, is premiering in the spring. With dance powerhouses like Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough, and NappyTabs — in addition to a slew of other dance mentors behind the scenes — fans are going to see what this next dance phase looks like.

It’s also time to start looking beyond DWTS and SYTYCD to see the stars in the dance world who are emerging. The shows will continue to support and generate talent, but it’s important for fans to recognize the creativity going on beyond the scope of these two shows.

The Television Academy is a pioneer in recognizing what is happening in the dance industry. On Wednesday, they announced the formation of the Choreography Peer Group to “support the growing profession of choreography in today’s thriving television landscape.”

Burns and four-time Emmy-nominee Mandy Moore are serving as the first Governors of the peer group. What you might not know is that Moore has fought for choreographers’ rights and a place at the table behind the scenes for years. If you like the recognition choreographers are finally receiving, thank her for her part in moving this aspect of the industry along.

She didn’t do it alone, though. Gail Mancuso, Nigel Lythgoe, Derek Hough, NappyTabs, Michael Rooney and Christian Perry were also instrumental in establishing the group’s stand-alone status. This paves the way for fellow choreographers, creative directors, associate choreographers, assistant choreographers and dancers to join and cements the future of dance.

So the next time you encounter one of these leaders in the dance industry, thank them. They are not only creating a better present, but they are also establishing a stronger future for the world of dance.


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