Mandy Moore Interview: ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ choreographer
“I don’t know how people keep it so cool when they win because I was freaking out,” choreographer Mandy Moore reveals about the moment she won her first Emmy last year at the 2017 Creative Arts ceremony. She had been nominated six times in nine years for her work on “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing with the Stars.” Last year she was actually nominated for both shows, prevailing for “DWTS.” This year she earned her lucky seventh nomination, this time just for “SYTYCD,” but her nominated routines could fill an entire category’s worth of dance shows. Watch our exclusive interview with Moore above.
“I wanted to show that I can choreograph group numbers with 100 dancers on location, but then I also can do a duet,” Moore explains. So for the routines she entered as examples of her work she submitted one of each: “To Make You Feel My Love,” an intimate contemporary duet performed by contestant Taylor Sieve and “SYTYCD” all-star Robert Roldan, and “Brand New,” a pre-taped number for “Academy Week” that featured dozens of contestants performing in a wide variety of dance styles at California State University Northridge.
“I wish people could see what it took to get there,” says Moore of the group number. It was “shot one day on location with 100 kids. We had one day of rehearsal. A lot of those segments were shot in 20 minutes. It was such a huge group effort on everyone’s part.” She doesn’t remember as much of the choreography process for Sieve and Roldan’s routine: “I remember starting, and then I kind of remember finishing, and I guess maybe that means you’re in the zone.” But she was thrilled to have the chance to utilize the strength, flexibility, and long, elegant frames of those two dancers.
Moore is primarily trained in jazz and contemporary dance, but her work on both dance shows brings her into contact with a wide variety of other styles, from ballroom to hip-hop, from Latin to tap. But “I’m a complete nerd when it comes to dance,” so it excites her to collaborate with performers outside of her specialty. For instance, “it’s a really interesting place to be working with a krumper.” Even though it’s not her area of expertise, “I know enough about movement, and I know enough about the style and the culture that I can kind of conduct it in a weird way.”
And she’s doing plenty of conducting this year too. Her current Emmy nomination is for the season of “SYTYCD” that aired last summer, and now she’s working on the show’s 15th season, which starts its live episodes on August 6. Next she’ll be featured as a judge on “Dancing with the Stars: Juniors,” for which she will also be choreographing numbers. So it looks like she’ll have plenty of material for her 2019 Emmy reel.