Interviews

Travis Wall – So You Think You Can Dance

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Q) What are the recent projects that you are working on?

A) My dance company Shaping Sound will be heading out on a thirty-six city tour starting in October. So, it’s kind of crazy. Right when one thing finishes, I jump right into tour.

Q) Please tell us about Shaping Sound and what we’ll get to see from them on tour.

A) This is our second national tour. We toured last year and pretty much sold out every city, which was awesome! It’s a dance company I started with my best friend about four years ago and now we’re just creating new work and doing this hour and a half show we created together. It’s pretty amazing to dance with your best friend on stage.

Q) You were recently a part of DancerPalooza. What made you want to be a part of it?

A) It’s put on by Break The Floor, which is the convention I teach for. This guy named Bill Sterling is the producer for it. He keeps inventing new dance events for people to get together. I always go to teach at those events. The amount of talent that comes out of those rooms and the amount of people that you meet…You’re meeting the next generation of dancers. I started teaching when I was sixteen years old. So, I have been teaching for ten years! I go all around the country teaching dance videos and the convention I teach for we do about thirty cities a year. It’s really crazy, but DancerPalooza is a summer event where all kinds of dancers from all over come to Long Beach. It was extraordinary!

Q) With such a busy schedule, how do you juggle between your dance life and your personal life?

A) I make a lot of time for my personal life. I love coming home more than anything just to come home and watch TV with my dog and my boyfriend. That’s how I wind down. With work, it’s so hard not to come home and get right on your phone to respond to email. Sometimes it gets hard and you try to catch up on sleep when you can.

Q) We are close to the finale of this season of “So You Think You Can Dance.” Who have been some of the standout dancers to you?

A) It’s a really talented group this year. I think more than anything it is how hard they work. There are some really, really hard workers on the show this year. Sometimes you have a contestant that gets the routine, but doesn’t really improve from the first time you show them until the show time. They don’t really grow from when they first see the routine and where the routine gets to because of how dedicated the contestants are to get it to work the way you want it. It is very impressive to me. Obviously, I think Ricky [Ubeda] is uber, uber, uber talented! He is such a naturally talented kid that you can tell he was just born to dance. I love Rudy’s [Abreu] enthusiasm and his work ethic. I think Jessica [Richens] is gorgeous and I think Tanisha [Belnap] can do anything you ask her to.

Q) You talked a little bit about this, but what has set this year’s crop of dancers apart from those of other seasons?

A) I think it’s the work ethic. Every year you get a different group of eighteen year olds or people who haven’t made the show yet. That’s kind of the crop you are seeing making it on to the show. It’s who is turning eighteen years old and is old enough. I definitely think it is the work ethic though. They will not stop until they have it down. It’s awesome to have that quality in a dancer.

Q) What qualities do you look for in a dancer?

A) I look for individuality. It’s so cliché to say, but there is that “x factor,” that something special. There is something that if you draw my attention and are captivating, whether you have beautiful technique or not, but you can hold an entire audience’s attention on stage is what I look for. Especially in my company, you need to be able to own the stage by yourself, not just as a group member. I look for individuality and people who have strong voices, but at the end of the day I look for strong technique. We train all our lives for this. I look for girls who have beautiful feet and beautiful legs. At the end of the day, you have to be a good person because we work with you. How you work with others and your discipline, we bring you in to our company. We work with you 24/7 so dancers have to mesh well. I never want to feel like I’m going to work when I’m with my dance company.

Q) You were a contestant on the show and you are a frequent guest choreographer. What makes you continue wanting to return and be a part of the show?

A) I think it is everything. This is where I came from and this is a huge, huge outlet to me to get my voice out there, to experiment and challenge myself. To put myself into a pressure cooker and say, “Come up with a routine in four hours!” It’s a great experience for me and I truly love it. I love coming on the show and it is a huge part of my history, as far as my exposure got out there. I love the producers and I love coming back and choreographing. It’s challenging and I love challenging myself.

Q) Dance is a big part of your life. What continues to fuel your passion for it?

A) Constantly being inspired, just wanting to do something different, new and wanting to evolve with the times. It’s life experiences and just being around my friends. It’s everything in life and music inspires me to dance and what inspires me to create and experience it.

Q) Is there anything else you would like to share with fans and supporters?

A) Come see on the road with Shaping Sound. You can go to http://www.shapingsoundco.com. I am also teaching art NUVO so if you are a dancer and you want to come take a class you can go to http://www.gonuvo.com

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