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  • Writer's pictureKristyn Burtt

Outstanding Choreography Has Earned Two Categories for the 2019 Emmys Season

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

With the Emmys nominations round officially open for voting through Monday, June 24, it's a good time to take a closer look at the process for the Choreography Peer Group at the Television Academy. There have been some major changes to the Outstanding Choreography category this year, thanks in part to the growth of the dance industry. 

In 2018, Dance Dish spoke with the Governors of the Choreography Peer Group, Eboni Nichols and Mandy Moore, on how a nomination occurs. We asked if they thought their category would ever split into two categories — live and scripted shows.

At the time, Moore responded, “Like anything else, it’s not that easy. There are rules that apply here. You can’t just go to the Academy and ask for more categories. The Academy is looking to us to build our numbers, to show that we have community, to show that we have the support and that we have the talent and variety of work to justify multiple categories. At this point, we have to be patient, but it’s definitely a goal that is on our radar.”

That day came sooner versus later, and starting with the 2019 Emmys season, there will be two categories for choreographers to submit their work to — Outstanding Choreography for Variety and Reality Programming as well as Outstanding Choreography for Scripted Programming. 

We circled back to Nichols and Moore this spring to discuss these exciting changes and how they came about.

"We worked hard to build the numbers to show the academy that we are a sustainable peer group and a part of that was also talking about what our needs are as a peer group," Moore explained. "To choreograph for live, variety or reality shows is a very different skill set than having to choreograph for a scripted series or an episodic show. Many of the members have voiced this opinion over the years and we finally felt that it was the right time."

The board voted in favor of two categories for the Choreography Peer Group and submissions for the new category were strong. For the two Governors, they were happy to see such progress since the peer group is still young. They also represent both sides the industry with Moore having worked extensively on live shows like Dancing With the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance, and Nichols on the episodic side with Jane the Virgin.

"It felt close to home for both of us because we work in television but in opposite genres. I work completely on episodic and hardly any live show like Mandy does," shared Nichols. So it was very close and dear to us to try to get this going just because of our personal missions as choreographers. We're very, very proud of it."

While the rules remain the same for the nomination and voting process for the Outstanding Choreography for Variety and Reality Programming, there are a few changes for Outstanding Choreography for Scripted Programming. This will be a juried award so the jury will decide who the winner/winners are ahead of the Choreographers Nominee Reception, where they will be honored along with the nominees in the Variety and Reality Programming category. They will receive their statue at the Creative Arts Emmys in September.

What makes this even more interesting is the fact that there will be a unique panel, different from the group who selects the nominations and winner/winners of the Variety and Reality Programming category. This allows more of the Choreography Peer Group to serve as judges, as long as they aren't in contention for that particular category.

"It opens up their voting opportunities for people, where if you had a submission in the past, you couldn't sit on the panels because it was one category," explained Nichols. "Now that we're broken up, everyone who submitted would have an opportunity to judge unless they're submitted in both categories."

"It's going to represent truly what our community is — scripted, live, variety and episodic," Moore chimed in. "We work across many genres and now we finally get to actually represent those with the two categories."

The nominations will be announced — including the Outstanding Choreography for Variety and Reality Programming category — on Tuesday, July 16. In the meantime, Nichols and Moore are continuing to build the membership within the Choreography Peer Group because it's a place for everyone who is involved with dance, choreography and television. 

“A big push for Eboni and me is to let people know that it is a place that is inclusive. It's a place that is determined to educate. It's a place that wants to represent. It's a place that wants to evolve," Moore summed up. "The Television Academy, along with the peer group of the choreographers, directors and everyone, we're all trying to be at the forefront of what's happening in television."

For more information on joining the Choreography Peer Group, visit the Television Academy website.


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