• Kristyn Burtt

The Emmys Deliver a Surprising Nominee List for Outstanding Choreography


Just when you think you have the Outstanding Choreography category for Reality & Variety Programming figured out, the panel throws a left curve. Like 2019, the category represents the global work of choreographers from the U.S., New Zealand and Colombia. It's a statement that excellence on television is coming from all areas of the world.


The work is a representation of more than just So You Think You Can Dance and World of Dance, The Oscars and Rihanna's Savage X Fenty Show was included in the nominees. Another interesting note is that World of Dance took advantage of the "hanging episodes" rule and submitted for this television season versus waiting a full year for the next Emmys cycle. The Outstanding Choreography nomination was their only nod this year.


More: Check Out the Emmy-Nominated Dances in the 2019 Outstanding Choreography Category


It's hard not to see Derek & Julianne Hough and Hayley Erbert recognized for their innovative work on The Disney Family Singalong. The movement, along with the cutting-edge technology, resulted in a fresh take on Disney classics. On the SYTYCD side, Talia Favia continues to deliver strong contemporary work that cuts to the emotional core, so it was shocking not to see her name on this year's list either.


Let's take a look at the nominees and their submissions:


Savage X Fenty Show "Routines: Statues, Benches, Window" Prime Video

Parris Goebel, Choreographer

This is Parris Goebel's first Emmy nomination. Her nomination also dives into the variety side of the category that has been dominated for a decade by the reality competition shows. As the reality competition shows age out, it is likely we will see more variety programming represented in this category.

So You Think You Can Dance "Routines: I'll Be Seeing You, Mambo Italiano, The Girl From Ipanema" FOX

Al Blackstone, Choreographer



This is Al Blackstone's second Emmy nomination after being nominated in 2018. His work on Season 16 encompassed the best of his Broadway style — subtle heartfelt moments that draw you into his movement.


More: 2018 Outstanding Choreography Emmy Nominees

So You Think You Can Dance "Routines: Enough Is Enough, Sign Of The Times" FOX

Travis Wall, Choreographer

As predicted, Travis Wall ran away with this nomination for his gun control piece. This is his 10th consecutive Outstanding Choreography nomination. It's a shame So You Think You Can Dance doesn't have a season this summer. Wall has helped define the show and its choreography.

The Oscars "Routine: Come Alive (Opening Sequence)" ABC

Jemel McWilliams, Choreographer

Jemel McWilliams was nominated for his first Emmy nomination for the 2020 Oscars. The opening number featured Janelle Monáe and Billy Porter and it's a big flashy number for a big flashy awards show. It's been a while since we've seen this type of choreography featured in this category, so it's a welcome return.


More: Melvin Timtim Caps Off His ‘World of Dance’ Experience with an Emmy Nomination


World Of Dance "Routines: Dos Jueyes, El Ray Timbal" NBC

Jefferson Benjumea, Choreographer

Adrianita Avila, Choreographer

This is the second year in a row that a Salsa duo has been nominated in this category from the same show. Last year, it was Karen y Ricardo from World of Dance, and this year, it's Jefferson y Adrianita. They represent the show's sole nomination, but it's a lovely surprise for the couple. It's also a win for styles outside of contemporary and jazz dance because the dance world encompasses many genres.

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