Take 5 with Dyson News: Mandy Moore

Mandy Moore, the Emmy nominated choreographer best known for her work on the hit show So You Think You Can Dance, was on campus for five days, from February 18 – 22, to audition and rehearse Pace Performing Arts Commercial Dance students for her piece, Dance In a Straight Line.

You’re in high demand.  You’ve done six seasons of So You Think You Can Dance, and counting. On top of the television series you work on films, music videos, concerts, etc.  Why do you make time for teaching?

I’ve always been a teacher no matter if I was doing choreography or dancing professionally. Teaching was always kind of something I did on the side.

Is there a teacher who influenced you?

I learned a lot about teaching through Rhonda (Rhonda Miller, Pace Performing Arts Commercial Dance, BFA Chair). I use to assist her when I was 18 years old and I first moved to Los Angeles. I had just move to the big city from a small town, didn’t know anybody. I had auditioned for a scholarship at Edge Performing Arts, a big studio in Los Angeles, and I didn’t make it. I remember that day. I went to take Rhonda’s class and she said ‘Don’t worry about it. I need an assistant. Would you want to help me out?’ That little gesture she helped me get back on my feet and helped me decide I wanted to do this.

What advice do you have for aspiring dancers? 

I’ve watched people burn bridges simply by making stupid mistakes in situations where they didn’t think it would matter – ‘Oh, it is just class or just rehearsal or just a free gig.’ I feel like a part of my success has to do with the fact that I have been good in a different situations and people remember that. Carrie Underwood - I just did Carrie Underwood’s video, The Good Girl, not too long ago. I was an assistant on American Idol the year she won. I wasn’t the choreographer.  I was an assistant, but when my name got passed around with her camp, she goes, “Oh my god, I love Mandy. She was awesome. Let’s hire her.” As an assistant, it was my job to make sure the talent was ready.  To say, “‘Hey, just remember to look here and count five.’ ‘You look great.’  ‘Do you remember that lyric?’” Who knew ten years later she’d be hiring me. I didn’t expect her to remember me because I was literally an assistant.

I think so many times people get lost in big stupid things that don’t matter. And I think it’s the little things that create longevity and I’ve always been someone who thinks it’s more important to have longevity than just a flash. I’d much rather make my entire career dancing than just last for six months.