If you know Travis Wall you are in awe of him and if you don’t know him, let’s get you up to speed!
The 25-year-old dancer/choreographer/genius was raised in his mother’s dance studio in Virginia. His childhood career was illustrious: A Dr. Pepper commercial, a run on Broadway, the Teen Outstanding Dancer of the Year Award.
But it wasn’t until 2007 when he competed on Season 2 of So You Think You Can Dance that America started to swoon. He finished in 2nd place. But on SYTYCD, everyone is a winner—especially if you finish in the top 10. Instead of kicking “losers” off the island, SYTYCD provides support and opportunities for talented young dancers. The producers and judges form a veritable Linked In of dance. Once you make it there, you can make it anywhere — if you’ve got the chops and you’re willing to work. Travis Wall qualifies in spades.
SYTYCD brought Travis back as a choreographer. His memorable dances are always fan favorites and he has earned Emmy nominations for his work on SYTYCD. For the 1st time ever, all the Emmy-nominated choreographers have teamed up to choreograph a number for the show. It should be pretty special.
SYTYCD has famously ignited renewed interest in dance. I’m not a dancer and my kids don’t take lessons. I watch it because I see works of art performed on the show every week. It moves me and I love it. So I was pretty starstruck when I got to speak with Travis Wall on the phone recently. I didn’t even try to be a professional! I totally gushed fangirl on him. Here’s what he told me about the show.
Believe it or not, Travis choreographs to his dancers’ strengths spontaneously on-the-spot. He chooses a song and has a concept, but the actual steps come organically through rehearsals. I was all, “You don’t write anything down?” Nope.
As part of the dance concept, the choreographers do envision costumes for the dancers. Travis will send pictures or explain what he’s picturing to the costume designers (who are incredible) and they make it happen.
Travis Wall is known for choosing beautiful, accessible music to accompany his dances. (And whatever song he uses often sees a spike in downloads the next day.) People often suggest songs to him (I tried) but he’s got a list of 10 songs already that he wants to use next year. He bases his song choices more on the music than the words, which surprised me since the lyrics are often a key part in the stories he tells with his pieces.
What about chemistry? I asked him if “chemistry” happens when you just like someone you are dancing with. “Not necessarily,” he explained. He can have chemistry with anyone he dances with, whether he likes them or not. Conversely, some dancers can’t have chemistry with anyone. He described it as being in the moment, engaged, and connected with the person you are dancing with. Before his dance with Amy, for example, (which you can watch below) he took deep breaths with her, grabbed her face, and looked her in the eye right before they went on stage and said, “Let’s do this.” So there’s your chemistry lesson.
What does Travis Wall watch on TV? He just finished Game of Thrones and he loves Project Runway. But mostly he likes to laugh and relax when he watches TV, so no heavy dramas. SNL, Family Guy, and True Blood are some of his faves.
(I may have lectured him a little about how he needs to be watching Breaking Bad, off the record.)
Talking to Travis was a real treat. I think we all feel like proud parents as we watch him achieve success after success. He’s the real deal. Check out the following Travis Wall footage. It’s quintessential. It’s must-see. It might even change your life.