Chore­og­ra­pher Travis Wall

Takes At­lanta by storm

GA Voice - - Front Page - By DAR­IAN AARON

Travis Wall is prov­ing that you don’t have to win the show to be the show. By all ac­counts, the 28-year-old chore­og­ra­pher and Vir­ginia Beach na­tive was sup­posed to dis­ap­pear into ob­scu­rity, or at the very least end up a name­less dancer in mu­sic videos, af­ter he failed to take home the crown as Amer­ica’s fa­vorite dancer dur­ing sea­son 2 of the hit FOX re­al­ity show, “So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD).” Even Wall couldn’t have imag­ined that the ti­tle “Emmy Award win­ner” would even­tu­ally pre­cede his name in print. But clearly, the uni­verse had other plans.

At­lanta au­di­ences will have a front row seat to his vi­sion­ary work as the cur­tain rises on “The Shap­ing Sound: Dance Reimag­ined Tour” on Nov. 17 at the Fox The­atre. “Shap­ing Sound” is an on­stage re­union of sorts for Wall and com­pany. The dancers are many of Wall’s in­dus­try friends and “SYTYCD” alumni. First and fore­most a chore­og­ra­pher, Wall tells Ge­or­gia Voice that his re­turn to the stage may not have hap­pened if he hadn’t been able to tour with his ex­tended fam­ily.

“I don’t nec­es­sar­ily fully enjoy per­form­ing. The only rea­son why I per­form at this stage is be­cause I’m with my best friends, my fam­ily,” says Wall. “I love be­ing on­stage with them. And if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be on­stage any­more. I would definitely hang those shoes up, be­cause I’d much rather be the cre­ator.”

Since his “SYTYCD” exit, Wall’s chore­og­ra­phy has not only been in high de­mand on the show that launched his pro­fes­sional ca­reer, but his work has been fea­tured on “Danc­ing With The Stars,” MTV Video Mu­sic Awards and even his own 2012 re­al­ity show “All The Right Moves” on the Oxy­gen Net­work. It was dur­ing “All The Right Moves” that Wall says the seed for “Shap­ing Sound” was planted.

“I knew I was handed an op­por­tu­nity with ex­po­sure and I knew I wanted to chore­o­graph,” says Wall. “I know for a fact when we got off that stage from the (SYTYCD) tour that I wasn’t gonna go to LA and au­di­tion to be this per­son’s backup dancer. I threw my­self into a dance stu­dio and I worked on who I was as a chore­og­ra­pher and what I wanted to say. I knew that that was my jour­ney. I didn’t want a ca­reer as a broke dancer.”

Leave it all on the floor

Wall also wanted to elicit more than ap­plause for his chore­og­ra­phy. As an openly gay man whose life ex­pe­ri­ences in­flu­ence his work, he wanted to make a state­ment.

Ei­ther one wit­nessed the con­tem­po­rary pas da deux (a dance for two) be­tween male dancers Neil Haskell and Kent Boyd, chore­ographed by Wall dur­ing sea­son 7 of “SYTYCD” or they were privy to the on­line chat­ter about the na­ture of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the two char­ac­ters por­trayed by Haskell and Boyd dur­ing one of the show’s most un­for­get­table mo­ments. Were they a gay couple? Or did the “SYTYCD” judges play it safe by avoid­ing the pol­i­tics of same-sex re­la­tion­ships by la­bel­ing the two men best friends? Wall con­firms that if it was about any­thing, it was about friend­ship and be­trayal.

“It was a very in­ter­est­ing re­la­tion­ship I had with some­body and I was be­trayed by that per­son,” says Wall. “I had to release my frus­tra­tion in some way. I can’t put la­bels on any­thing be­cause I don’t know ex­actly what it was. It wasn’t about boyfriends be­cause that’s not what we were la­beled. It was be­trayal be­tween two peo­ple who were really close.”

The pos­i­tive re­cep­tion of a would-be gay re­la­tion­ship on “SYTYCD” didn’t quell the spec­u­la­tion of cen­sor­ship by those in charge at Fox. Wall says any im­pli­ca­tion of gay cen­sor­ship couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth.

“In 2006, I would have said ab­so­lutely there is cen­sor­ship be­cause I was told to cen­sor it, but that’s not the case any­more. For the past five or six years they’ve (con­tes­tants) all been open, they’re not hid­ing any­thing. They’re not lit­er­ally com­ing out and say­ing here’s a pic­ture of me and my boyfriend, but they’re be­ing them­selves,” says Wall.

No longer a nominee

So what has changed now that Wall has taken home a 2015 Emmy award for Out- stand­ing Chore­og­ra­phy for his work on “SYTYCD?” Not much.

“The only thing that changes is that in­stead of Emmy nominee it’s Emmy award win­ner,” says Wall. “Life is ex­actly the same. There’s new op­por­tu­ni­ties ev­ery day I wake up. It just sounds a lot nicer (laugh­ing).”

The op­por­tu­nity to go on the road with “Shap­ing Sound” is what Wall is ex­cited about right now.

“Come see us on tour. It really is an amaz­ing show!”

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