Choreography awards honor the best in dance

Updated: Jun 2, 2020

Salsa, “Mary Poppins” and dancing flight attendants were big winners at this year’s World Choreography Awards.

By Mickie Shaw, Multimedia Editor

Photo by Solomon Smith/The Valley Star

Referred to as the Oscars of dance, the ninth Annual World Choreography Awards, honoring the best dance choreography in films, television and digital content of 2018, were recently held at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills.

Salsa, hip hop and modern dance entertained an enthusiastic audience at the filled-to-capacity theater. Hosted by Heather Morris from “Glee” and more recently from the show “Raven’s Home,” the choreography awards celebrated creativity, innovation and excellence in dance choreography. Choreos, the award’s name, were given in eight categories: feature film, music video, commercials, television reality show or competition, digital content, independent digital content, television episodic and television award show or special.

Rob Marshall, John Deluca and their choreography team won Choreos for outstanding choreography in a motion picture for their work on the musical “Mary Poppins.” Outstanding choreography for a television reality show or competition went to the nine-time world salsa champions Argentinian Karen Forcano and Chilian Ricardo Vega for their crowd thrilling and acrobatic performance on “World of Dance.” Forcano and Vega opened the choreography awards dancing their nominated salsa performance.

“We are really excited. This opportunity is really amazing,” said Vega.

A big win in the music video category went to Mark Ballas for Alexander Jean’s music video “Stampede” featuring Lindsey Stirling. The salsa-like performance had Jean and Stirling dancing while playing their instruments.

A dark moment during the show came when it was announced that the winner of the outstanding choreography in digital content category, Ophelie Longuet, had died in July. The 41-year-old Longuet, a French dancer and choreographer from Nice, died in a multiple car accident in France. The video of Longuet’s remarkable underwater dance named “Ama” was shown in its entirety as a tribute — a performance that required her to hold her breath for six minutes.

Philanthropist Glorya Kaufman was presented with The Next Frontier of Dance Governance Honor. A dancer in her youth, Kaufman has long been a patron of dance. The Glorya Kaufman Foundation supports the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Juilliard. Kaufman was honored for her foundation opening the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. The school is located at the 54,000 square foot Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center a state-of-the-art dance training facility.

“Dance is magic,” said Kaufman during her acceptance speech.

Dancers from the school performed at the awards show.

The Choreo was presented in the outstanding choreography in commercials category to Ashley Wallen for her work on the humorous Emirates Airlines’ ad, which beat an animated commercial of dancing GI Joe dolls. In the outstanding choreography in a television award show or television special, Napoleon, Tabitha Dumo and Kiel Tutin won for Jennifer Lopez’s performance at the “Billboard Music Awards.”

Alison Faulk and Leo Moctezuma won the outstanding television episodic category for “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

“It’s so wonderful to have it recognized just because of all the hard work everybody put in to it,” said Faulk.

The Awards were held Nov. 11. For a complete list of the World Choreography Awards’ winners, go to the World Choreographers’ website at