News
Mandy Moore loves the chaos of live television. Photo by Lee Cherry, Courtesy Bloc Agency

In the dance world, Mandy Moore has long been a go-to name, but in 2017, the success of her choreography for La La Land made the rest of the world stop and take notice. After whirlwind seasons as choreographer and producer on both "Dancing with the Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance," she capped off the year with two Emmy Award nominations—and her first win.

You've come a long way on "So You Think You Can Dance"—from assistant to the choreographer (Season 1) to creative producer (Season 14). What keeps you returning to the show?

"So You Think You Can Dance" was one of my first jobs, so it feels like home. I love the chaos of live television; as soon as one show is over you're on to the next.

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Inside DM
Jayme Thornton

2017 has been quite a year here at Dance Magazine. From launching our new website to celebrating the magazine's 90th anniversary, it's been a thrilling 12 months. To wrap up the year, the Dance Magazine team took a moment to share each of our favorite highlights.

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Training
PC Kyle Rowling

You dance like a knockout—but can you take a punch? Intense stage combat is a crucial element in many shows, from the sword fighting in Romeo & Juliet to the left hooks of the Broadway musical Rocky. But performing it well requires careful body awareness, trust and a full commitment to safety. Whether you're dancing a pivotal battle in a story ballet or intense partnering in a contemporary piece, these expert tips can help you make your fight scenes convincing, compelling and safe.

1. Master the Basics

When Luke Ingham was cast as Tybalt in San Francisco Ballet's Romeo & Juliet, he spent a full month practicing the basic body positions, footwork and momentum of fencing. "You need to be really grounded, you need to know where your feet are," Ingham says.

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Dancers & Companies
J.T. and Robert perform Travis Wall's "The Mirror" on "SYTYCD" season 13.

No, you didn't miss the Emmy Awards telecast. (It's next weekend.) The Creative Arts Emmys, on the other hand, were awarded yesterday, including the Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography. Among the nominees were "Dancing With the Stars" favorite Derek Hough, "So You Think You Can Dance?" contestant-turned-choreographer Travis Wall, surprise contender Fred Tallaksen for comedy "The Real O'Neals" and commercial dance juggernaut Mandy Moore, who grabbed two nominations for both "DWTS" and "SYTYCD."

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Dancers & Companies
Wall's piece for SYTYCD

Last week for "So You Think You Can Dance," Travis Wall choreographed a routine to Nina Simone's "Strange Fruit." It had beautiful dancers, liquid movement and subtle lighting. The concept no doubt had good intentions. But the execution was troublesome.

My complicated relationship with "So You Think You Can Dance" will never cease. I was in the second row when the "SYTYCD" Season 2 tour hit my city; I've taken class from Season 1 winner Nick Lazzarini; I saved Melanie and Marco's duets to my "Favorites" on YouTube.

The show creates opportunities for dancers and choreographers, yet consistently holds the artistic integrity of dance to such a low standard. The nature of this competitive dance show is quick-paced, where choreographers set several dances on performers in one week or less. The repercussions of this learn-dance-eliminate cycle are such that the process, research and discussion of the dance—namely the work in spotlight—are condensed into a week.

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Dancers & Companies
Kellie Epperheimer, Adrienne Lipson and Elliot Hammans of HSDC. PC Todd Rosenberg

Peter Chu, the amazing dancer/choreographer first noticed in Crystal Pite's company Kidd Pivot, is teaming up with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago for an adventure in immersive installations. Back at the 2010 Dance Teacher Summit, when his piece This Thought exploded across the stage, he rightfully won the Capezio A.C.E. Award Competition for choreography. I was so dazzled by his dancers hurling themselves in jagged stop-start patterns that I wrote about him for our "Taking Off" cover feature on new choreographers in 2011.

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Popular

The best day of the year is finally upon us—National Dance Day is tomorrow!

In case you've been living under a rock and haven't celebrated NDD before, it's an annual event established by Nigel Lythgoe and the Dizzy Feet Foundation where dancers and non-dancers across the country are encouraged to get movin'.

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Dancers & Companies
Ricky Ubeda and Jessica Richens perform a Sonya Tayeh number on "SYTYCD." Photo by Adam Rose, Courtesy FOX

Last year, it looked like "So You Think You Can Dance" might be on its final season. Viewership and ratings were down, and the show seemed to be trying to hang on by switching up its format, focusing on young talent ages 8 to 13 instead of the adult dancers audiences were used to.

But this summer it's back to its traditional formula, and embarking on a 14th season starting next Monday. That means we get another summer where dance gets an audience numbering in the millions.

That much exposure for that many seasons begs the question: What kind of mark has the show made on the dance world?

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