Travis Wall has a lot to be happy about. On Monday, he was an Emmy nominee for his choreography on FOX's reality series So You Think You Can Dance. The program is heading toward the end of its eleventh season, with the top four dancers performing tonight ahead of next Wednesday's season finale. And once the season concludes, Travis and his dance company Shaping Sound will be taking to the road for a national tour. Even with all this happening, Travis still found time to sit down with us last week and discuss his busy and successful year.
"I remember my first nomination like yesterday!" he laughed of his Emmy recognition. Travis was also nominated for SYTYCD in 2011 and 2013, and for his work on Dancing with the Stars in 2012 - a nomination he shared with his friends Teddy Forance and Nick Lazzarini. So does being a four-time nominee give him more confidence in his career?
"There's validation inside of it," he told us. "There's moments when you doubt yourself and you get so frustrated, and you just go, let's rewind for two seconds to remember you are doing something right if one thing continuously continues to happen. You just have to remember the good things."
Those good things including his work on another season of SYTYCD, which he's once again enjoying being a part of. "I think the contestants are amazing," Travis told us. "I'm choreographing the finale competition episode, where I'm doing a duet, and I'm also doing the top four group number. For the group number, it's something that's really, really special to me. I'm doing a piece about marriage equality...I think it's going to be very powerful."
"As a choreographer, you come in with the ideas you want to do and the songs you want to do. You come in with your own music and hopefully you get it cleared," he explained. "With this season it's been kind of easy, because the dancers are so good they can do anything you ask them to do."
Dance has found a stable home on television over the last several years, from SYTYCD and DWTS to cable series like Dance Moms and more. We asked Travis for his thoughts on why the art form has become more popular for TV audiences. "I think there's an admiration about it. Dance is a very, very hard thing and not everyone has the body," he told us. "I think the work people get affected by. Dance makes you emote. It makes you feel something. It makes you form an opinion. Did I like that piece? Did I not like that piece? With So You Think You Can Dance, I hear all the time that oh my gosh, you made me cry."
Travis had his own experience being at the center of a reality TV show when Oxygen green-lit All The Right Moves, which followed him and his friends as they formed their dance company Shaping Sound. Though the show is no longer in production, the company is still going strong, and Travis enjoyed the period he spent working on the TV series - even as it took more time than originally planned.
"It was fun," he told us. "It ended up being like six months. We were supposed to do three months, and just because of our schedules and [because] we ended up doing a lot of reshooting, it ended up being so long.
"The dance company was very, very, very young," he continued, "and we were trying to figure out how to start a dance company, run a business, and at the same time shoot a TV show and be sensitive about what people were saying about us on TV. [The show] got us our first national tour."
Shaping Sound is now ready for their second national tour, which begins preparations just as Travis is wrapping up his work on So You Think You Can Dance. "We start rehearsals for our second national tour September 2nd," he told us, "and we head back on the road in October. We open in LA on October 11."
Whether he's on television or performing live, Travis is doing his part to make the world of professional dance its best. And with four Emmy nominations already earned at the age of 26, we'd argue that he's doing something very, very right.
A brand-new episode of So You Think You Can Dance airs tonight at 8 PM ET/PT. For more on Travis's dance company Shaping Sound, including dates for their upcoming tour, visit their official website (shapingsoundco.com).