Kathryn Burns Q&A: ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ choreographer
During our recent webcam chat (watch above), “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” choreographer Kathryn Burns admitted to being shocked by her recent Emmy nomination. “It’s typically a dance competition reality show’s game,” she says of the category, which is indeed dominated by the likes of “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing with the Stars.” Yet Burns reaped her first bid for this CW comedy about a twenty-something lawyer (Rachel Bloom) who quits her job in New York to start anew in West Covina, CA, which just happens to be where the boy who broke her heart ten years ago now lives.
Created by Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna, each episode features at least two original songs co-written by the star. She brought in her old Upright Citizens Brigade pal Burns, whose TV credits include “Key and Peele” and “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp,” to stage the numerous dance numbers after the pilot was picked up for series. “With a lot of other TV stuff, choreographers come in and out, kind of later in the game to be honest,” Burns reveals. On this show, however, “I’m a part of all the meetings.”
The three numbers for which she competes — the exotic Bollywood style “I’m So Good at Yoga,” the teen-pop infused “A Boy Band Made Up of Four Joshes,” and the Astaire-Rogers inspired “Settle for Me” — display a wide variety of dance styles. “The choreography has to serve the story first,” she explains, “and live in the genre correctly, and then it’ll be funny.”
Working on this show has been a dream come true for Burns, who was inspired to take dance lessons by watching Shirley Temple musicals as a little girl. “There was something about the joy and the magic that would happen with those big musical numbers,” she recalls. “I would just start studying, and wanted to create it.” With “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” she has done just that.