"I feel like, 'Get over it'," Mandy Moore, one of six choreographers nominated for their body of work on the seventh season of SYTYCD, told Wetpaint Entertainment at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on September 10. "The fact that dance is even able to get to a massive audience is great for dance. Is everyone going to be happy with everything on the show? No. That's life."
"I need to make the dancers look really good," added fellow nominee and Moore's SYTYCD colleague, Travis Wall. "They need to move forward to the next week of the competition and make Top 10 and make that money. It is so stressful, you have no idea."
Travis acknowledges that dance as an art form is not just tricks and leaps, but given less than a minute and a half to work with, there are few opportunities to showcase subtlety. "If you don't do tricks during your solos, it's like, 'You're not good,'" he said. "What we [as choreographers] have to do, is we have to be more creative to not just outdo ourselves but to outdo the dancers and make them look better than the season before. If we start not doing good work, then the show will be canceled. We want to keep this on television."
Stacey Tookey, also nominated for her choreography on SYTYCD, told us that each choreographer gets about five hours to create their dance number every week.
"It is like the biggest rush and the biggest stress combined. It is so fast and every week is something new," Stacey revealed. "You can think you have an idea that's going to be great, and then you get the dancers and the music and everything comes together, or it doesn't come together. I love the challenge — it's never the same."
And yes, the choreographers do agree that a trick for the sake of a trick is not the way to go. "It has to be inspired, no matter what it is," said Travis. "It has to come from a true place and has to be for real reasons, and you have to keep the art form of dance in the back of your mind, instead of making it so commercial and pop."