“What an extraordinary moment in my life. I will never forget those feelings. It’s incomparable,” says Travis Wall during our recent webcam chat (watch above) as he recalls winning the Emmy for Best Choreography “So You Think You Can Dance” in 2015. It was Wall’s fifth straight nomination for FOX’s reality-competition series, but his first victory.
Last year’s Emmy race actually ended in a tie. “Dancing with the Stars” choreographers Derek Hough, Julianne Hough and Tessandra Chavez were announced first. The award was presented by “SYTYCD” host Cat Deeley, and Wall tried to read her face before she read the second name. “She came up to the mic and said, ‘I have chills,'” Wall says. “I don’t remember hearing my name. All I remember is my mom and my boyfriend freaking out, and I realized, ‘Oh god, it’s me!'”
That was the beginning of “six days of craziness” for Wall. He won the Emmy on September 12. Then on September 14 was the “SYTYCD” season finale in which a contestant he mentored, Gaby Diaz, was announced as the winner. And on September 16 he celebrated his 28th birthday. Not a bad way to spend a week.
This year Wall picked up his sixth straight Emmy bid, this time for a three dances from last summer’s 12th season of “SYTYCD”: “Beautiful Friends,” “November” and “Gimme All You Love.” The first of those, “Beautiful Friends,” was an eerie group routine that incorporated creative lighting design, costumes and makeup. “When all departments come together, those are my favorite moments because everyone truly believes in the final product and everyone contributed,” explains Wall of why that was one of his highlights of the season.
“November” was a more personal number, performed by contestant Jim Nowakowski and all-star Alex Wong and telling the story of a confrontation between an absent father and his son. It was performed during the finale; it was supposed to come earlier, but Nowakowski was eliminated from the competition sooner than the producers expected. “We had little time to put that together, probably three hours,” says Wall, “but because of their technique it was incredible.”
“Gimme All Your Love” was actually performed by Wall himself, along with actress-dancer Jenna Dewan Tatum. Dewan’s husband Channing Tatum was in the audience and Wall remembers him exclaiming, “‘That was so hot!’ And I thought, ‘Channing Tatum thinks my dancing is hot with his wife — that’s pretty cool, I’ll take it!'”
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