An exclusive interview with the dance maestro himself and his passionate love for the community!
Allen and I sat down at Dupar's, in Studio City, to discuss his upcoming World Choreography Awards, which will be held at Hollywood's iconic and historic Ricardo Montalban Theatre on Monday, October 24th.
He has only one thing on his mind: Community.
Waide- What year did you found the World Choreography Awards, Allen?
Allen- The World Choreography Awards were just founded last year. Before that it was the World Dance Awards, which has transitioned into what is now World Choreography Awards... The history of the awards started in 1994 as the L.A. Dance Awards. That lasted two years. Then they went on and did another two years as the Fosse Awards, for Bob Fosse, then they transitioned into the American Choreography Awards, that lasted from 1998 to 2003. Then it became media-choreography honors and honored people for their choreography... then it just dissipated. It was about 2006 when it totally went away.
W- Why do you think there is such a major turn-over with this type of event?
A- I think it's just hard to keep the community together. And moving forward without having any major sponsorship or backing behind it. So people basically, like myself, in the beginning, took it up because it was interesting, and because I thought choreographers needed to be recognized for their work. Being a choreographer for twenty-five years in the business and not ever really getting the chance to get any type of recognition, for anybody, for that matter, not just myself. I think it's important for people who are creative, as a community, as choreographers are, to have some recognition. There's nothing out there at such a high-level that does that. The Tonys do for choreographers, but that's Broadway. That's stage. Then you never see the work, because they never broadcast the Tony shows. Then you have the Emmy Awards that give the choreographer an award for television. But, that's with all the facets of television which are award shows. Competition shows. Episodic. Sitcom. And that's all combined as one award... and that's not really fair because you can't have so many awards for so many genres and get the best of that.
W- There are many talented dancers and choreographers and this is a way of celebrating that.
W- And honoring the best of the best of the best.
A- Yes. Definitely.
W- What inspired you to do this?
A- Just to have a way of bringing the community together. To have a community event. I've always enjoyed being in an event where people all came together for a cause and got to see each other... a big party! It's important from a lot of different levels. Everyone I know is in the dance world. I've been in the business for thirty years. I've been a dancer for thirty years. I'm connected to everyone since I've been here and started. And those are a lot of the people who are my friends and do business with on a daily basis. So, I like to bring all those people together and celebrate us... I like to salute the up-and-comers. Celebrate the present and honor the past.
W- ... did you just make that last quote up?
A- (Laughing) I did! I've heard it before, but put my own twist to it.
W- Where do you want to take it from here?
A- The natural progression is to have it televised. Get it to a wider and broader audience. I see it happening... slowly-by-slowly... As it starts to manifest, more people get involved. I think the progression of it now, it should be on TV. People say all the time, 'why isn't this on TV?' 'Is this on TV?' 'This has got to be on TV!' ... Right now it's videotaped and live streamed.
W- What's your dream job?
A- My dream job... kinda what in the sense this is... is to go out and see up and coming talent, put them in the show, collaborate with my friends who are making the Art now, get them recognized... then go to people who have brought me up in the business, who are my mentors, and to honor them. To thank them for helping me. And that is what I enjoy doing.
W- What is the theme of this year's show?
A- Everyone's Dancing! Last year it was Breaking The Limits! This year it's how animation and all is dancing. Cars are dancing. Animals are dancing. Everything is dancing.
(Writer's note: At this point, I asked Allen a series of my usual questions: favorite song, dance, movie & book. To my surprise, he revealed that he had none. He sees so much on a daily basis that it came down to what he loves and appreciates most is what is Current. Because that is what is Valid for its time. Hey, wrap your mind around that!)
W- Joe Tremaine is on your board...
A- Yes. Mr. Tremaine is on the board... He has been on the board of the World Choreography Awards since its inception about a year and a half. Now, we're honoring him with the Joe Tremaine Legacy Award which is an inaugural award, which I will give away every year in his name. I'm very excited about that. I love Joe. He's such a humanitarian and such a huge supporter of dance in every facet... this is where I 'accumulate' the understanding of a career. Who has a career. Who you worked with. The people you inspire and train and taught. What they do with it. Then the people you continually teach and who come into the world of dance and who need that foundation of understanding to move forward and carry on. So, if you're young and want to be taught properly. Professionally. And want to take that with you in your career... so that everyone who you have touched can take it with 'them.' And then, when you go on to your next level, whatever that is, after your dance career, if that so happens, you will be the better for it. A mentor. That's what Joe has been to me. I met him 34 years ago. I took a dance class from him. He would hire me to produce his shows. Then I would work with him as a mentor. Now, I get to do my own thing and I can honor him. It comes full circle at that point. The basis of having this show is to come together and to celebrate ourselves. And to have others understand how we feel about ourselves and say, 'Wow! These people are really connected.'
We see actors, directors getting notoriety for their work through awards, but not so much for the choreographer. When the other parts of the entrainment world come to see the show, they are fascinated by the sense of Community that is in the room, and how everyone is just so happy to be there. And being honored with being a Nominee. It's not even about who is getting the award, it's about people being honored for their body of work in the past year. To see this amazing compilation of work that you never get to see in just one place at one time.
W- Thank you, Allen. I'm looking forward to seeing the awards. Thank you for your time.
The World Choreography Awards will be presented at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre in Hollywood on Monday, October 24th. For more information and to contact Allen Walls: