Emmy-nominated choreographer Travis Wall has come full circle on "So You Think You Can Dance." He tells us in our exclusive video chat (watch it below), "For me to be a contestant [in season two], and then to be brought back as a choreographer, and to be nominated [for five straight Emmys], and then maybe this year, maybe next year, to win, it would be a full wrap-around moment. It would just be incredible."
This year, he's nominated for choreographing three routines: a male group number set to "Wave" by Beck, a contemporary duet to "When I Go" by Over the Rhine and a marriage equality-themed group number set to "Wind Beneath My Wings" sung by RyanDan.
"I knew I wanted to do either a duet or a group that had two men dancing together and two women dancing together," he says. "we've never showcased same-sex couples dancing on the show before, and it's something that I obviously always believed in … When I was on the show [as a contestant], I was fighting how to act because I was out of the closet but didn't know how to act on the show, so when [contestant Ricky Ubeda] was dancing that, he said, 'This was the greatest gift you've ever given me' … which was the coolest experience."
Two years ago, when Wall was nominated for the third time, he and his fellow nominees organized an interpretive dance for the telecast. "It was so cool to be performing with [Emmys host] Neil Patrick Harris in front of everybody," he says, "and for the first time for Best Choreography to be on the primetime [telecast instead of the Creative Arts Awards the week before] … I was really excited I got to represent 'Game of Thrones' because that's my all-time favorite TV show."
He continues to choreograph routines for season 12, which is airing this summer on FOX, and he's also the mentor for Team Stage in the show's first ever "Stage vs. Street" face-off. "I care so much about them. I want every contestant to do as well as they can," he says of the dancers under his guidance. But as the season has progressed and some of the strongest peroformers have risen to the top, he's also feeling the competitive spirit: "Now we're to the point where I want to win the show. I want my contestants to win, and they want to win … I could not be more proud of how they've come so far."
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Photo: Travis Wall in "So You Think You Can Dance." Credit: Brooklin Rosenstock/FOX