How ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Choreographer Christopher Scott ‘Dances Through Life’

Scott tells TheWrap about the inspiration behind his Emmy-nominated routines

“So You Think You Can Dance” choreographer Christopher Scott “dances through life” — and finds inspiration for his routines along the way.

The choreographer earned his third Emmy nomination this year for two of his routines on the longstanding Fox reality dance series, and explained in a recent interview with TheWrap that the inspiration for them often comes from real-life experiences, even if they’re a little unexpected.

In the nominated group routine “Prism,” Scott found inspiration in a particularly unlikely source: his friend’s dog, who was recently being trained to sit, stay and speak.

I was having a moment watching this process and how proud he was [after he] got his dog to listen to him,” Scott said of his friend. “It made me think about how trained we are as human beings.” 

“It really became this overwhelming thought of, how trained am I?” he continued, explaining that the blocks in the routine represent forces that are “constantly teaching us how to walk and how to stand and to talk and, you know, gives us all this structure in our lives.” 

“That’s why it was very structured,” he said of the piece, pointing out the staccato movements and use of props.  

The nominated duet, “Say You Won’t Let Go” is in a very different style: the lyrical hip-hop genre on which Scott says he built his career.

The concept for the duet, which features dancers Allison Holker and Logan Hernandez, was inspired by one of Scott’s past relationships.

“There was always this moment where we would be, like, brushing our teeth together, when we would wake up and we’d go to bed,” he said. “And it was just so funny to us that we’d be like kind of in unison brushing our teeth … Without saying any words we’d be brushing our teeth and then kind of dance and be kind of silly with it.”

The dance is playful, similar to the relationship, Scott added. “If you’re not a dancer it’s hard to understand, or believe that we actually dance through life a little bit. But we definitely do.”

Scott said that he likes the lyrical hip-hop style because it turns viewers’ expectations of hip hop on its head.

I found a lot of beauty in hip hop. And I just always wanted to showcase the beautiful side of it, because I think people see it and … [they think] it’s a bunch of people doing tricks, or it has to be aggressive,” he said. “To me, a b-boy spinning on his back is similar to a ballerina doing fouettes on pointe. There’s a beauty and a gracefulness about it that I’ve always been drawn to.”

“So You Think You Can Dance” airs Mondays on FOX.