Emmy Nominee Al Blackstone Shares Five Big Broadway Dance Numbers That Inspire Him

Last updated August 20th, 2018 by Al Blackstone
Emmy Nominee Al Blackstone Shares Five Big Broadway Dance N…

Al Blackstone is a 2018 Emmy nominee for Outstanding Choreography for his work on FOX's So You Think You Can Dance. A faculty member at Broadway Dance Center, Al's stage work includes the world premiere off-Broadway musical The View Upstairs, regional productions of Newsies and Pippin, and Freddy Falls in Love and Kung Fu at off-Broadway's Signature Theatre. Here's a look at Al Blackstone's Emmy-nominated dance pieces “The Man That Got Away” and “L-O-V-E”.

BroadwayBox caught up with the Emmy nominee to find out from him about five big Broadway dance numbers that he absolutely adores and that have shaped him.

"Finale" from Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake

Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake completely changed the way I thought about dance and how it can be used to evoke story and emotion. I saw the Broadway production three times as a teenager and watched the VHS recording dozens of times. The way Bourne uses humor and character blows my mind to this day as does his stunning use of texture, line, technique, and design. It’s sexy, emotional, and incredibly clear storytelling through dance.

"Turkey Lurkey Time" from Promises, Promises

To me, this is the ultimate Broadway production number. The dynamic, stylized choreography and complex staging is a master class in how to craft a showstopper. I was very fortunate to work with the original Turkey Lurkey Ladies (Donna McKechnie, Baayork Lee, and Margo Sappington) last year on the opening number of the Gypsy of the Year Competition and it was a dream to work with them to recreate sections of this iconic number.

"Sing Sing Sing" from Fosse

When I was in high school Fosse was on Broadway and we went to see it on a field trip with my dance studio. Bob Fosse’s work totally blew my mind, and later I was able to get my hands on a DVD of this performance from the Tony Awards in 1998. I loved the grounded athletic movement and the attention to detail and musicality. Not to mention, Andy Blankenbuehler (who later became my teacher and friend) murders this choreography. I learned so much from watching this performance on repeat in my family room.

"Gold" from Once

I’ll say it: Once is my favorite musical. Steven Hoggett’s work on the show completely knocked me out when I saw it for the first time at New York Theatre Workshop. It was innovative, emotional, and story driven and it turned pedestrian movement into choreography worthy of a standing ovation. For me it totally broke all of the rules that I thought I was supposed to follow. Thank you, Steven.

"Brotherhood of Man" from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1995 Revival)

When I was a kid Mom took me to see my then favorite actor Matthew Broderick in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. We met Gregory Hines in the audience and he signed my Playbill. It was a very special memory and Wayne Cilento’s choreography still dazzles me to this day. It is timeless.