“So, do you think you could interview Travis Wall?” We’ve been getting that request a lot around here, so thanks to everyone who pushed for it. We’re happy to deliver!
Travis Wall is just 23-years-old, which is easy to forget when you consider what he’s already managed to accomplish. Dancing all his life, he starred in a nationwide Dr.Pepper commercial when he was nine. He was performing on Broadway in a revival of The Music Man at 12. But perhaps his biggest break as a dancer came in 2006, when then 18-year-old Travis competed on the second season of So You Think You Can Dance.
If nothing else, you probably remember that gorgeous (and Emmy-winning) Mia Michaels routine he performed with Heidi Groskreutz called The Bench. EW.com recently ranked it as #2 on their list of the 15 greatest So You Think You Can Dance routines.
Travis was the runner-up in Season 2, and even though he was widely considered to be one of the most technically gifted dancers ever on the show, like many other SYTYCD contestants, that might easily have been the last that people outside the dance world heard from him.
Not so, because it turns out dancing is one of Travis’ minor talents. Travis returned to SYTYCD in Season 5 as a choreographer, and ever since he’s been contributing some of the show’s most exciting and memorable contemporary numbers.
The handsome blond kid from Virginia Beach, VA is also raising eyebrows with some recent tweeted conversations between himself and a fellow named GymDom. Inquiring minds want to know: Are they a couple? Is Travis officially “out”?
The answer to that is yes, Travis is out. In fact, he never really considered himself “in” and is a bit surprised at all the
fuss those tweets caused.
We recently had a chance to talk with this amazing talent about his boyfriend, his family, his experiences on So You Think You Can Dance (including being your authentic self as a gay contestant on a public voting reality show), the personal experiences that have inspired his choreography, his own upcoming reality show, and even his great appreciation for one Nigel Lythgoe.
Hi Travis! Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. We’re excited that you’re participating as a choreographer again this season on So You Think You Can Dance. Curious, are you now a permanent employee of the show, or do you just come on for certain weeks?
Travis Wall: They just kind of go around your schedule and when your conflicts are, which weeks you can’t do. They’ve asked me to do a couple episodes this season, but they try and spread it out so it’s not so wham bam. The next time I’m on will be the top 12. I’ll have two pieces, a jazz and a contemporary. Then the top eight, the top six, and then, hopefully, the finale.
I loved that statue piece that you did two weeks ago with [dancers] Melanie and Marko. That was pretty amazing.
Thank you! I was really proud of that one.
So I’ve got a question about your process. When you choreograph a piece like that, is it largely formed before you even work with the dancers? Or do you wait to work with the dancers and figure out what they can do and then tailor the piece to them? I guess what I’m asking is: would that statue piece with Melanie and Marko have been completely different if it had been a different couple dancing
Oh, absolutely! Absolutely. I was a contestant on the show so I experienced some choreographers not fitting a routine to my body, or not showcasing what I do best… they might just kind of come in with a pre-planned notion.
Anyway, I experienced that on my season, and I learned that when you’re coming on the show as a choreographer that to get the best product and keep your dancers safe for next week you really need to tailor the piece to them and their talents. At the end of the day it’s not about the choreographer… it’s about getting the dancers on to top ten so they can go out on tour. Our job is to get people to vote for them and have America like them.
I have a general idea when I come in, but nothing’s really planned. I really do choreography on the spot.