Television’s Hottest Choreographer, Sonya Tayeh, Brings it to the El Portal Stage

Sonya Tayeh’s dance group in rehearsal for El Portal’s “The Endurance to Move” Nov. 13 and 14th only.

Sonya Tayeh’s dance group in rehearsal for El Portal’s “The Endurance to Move” Nov. 13 and 14th only.

Internationally known choreographer Sonya Tayeh, the red-hot choreographer seen on So You Think You Can Dance, returns for her third engagement to the El Portal Mainstage in North Hollywood November 13-14 at 8pm. Created and directed by Sonya Tayeh, The Endurance To Move brings her intense, unique vision to the stage, expressing the miracle of survival and the strength to endure any obstacle.
Recognized for her signature mohawk haircut and her iconic, visceral choreography, Sonya has introduced the world of modern dance to America’s households through FOX TV’s So You Think You Can Dance and the on-air promo for ABC TV’s Dancing with the Stars. Sonya answers some of the public’s burning questions:

Q: How and why did you grow that awesome Mohawk?
A: I was bald for a long time! Then I watched the movie Last of the Mohicans and decided I wanted a rockin’ mohawk!
Q: What are your artistic influences?
A: My artistic influences are everywhere. I’m influenced by anything that’s true and provoking.
Q: Where did you grow up? Do you have brothers and sisters? Describe your family.
A: I grew up in Detroit, Michigan—one of the most artistic cities I know. I have 2 stunning sisters, an awesome half-brother and a niece and nephew. My family exudes strength and artistic flair—from acting to music production to raising a family, my siblings do it all!

Sonya Tayeh, probably the most exciting choreographer to hit the national dance scene.

Sonya Tayeh, probably the most exciting choreographer to hit the national dance scene.

Q: When did you start dancing, and why?
A: I will say I seriously began dancing around the age of 17. When I started reading about dance historians such as Twyla Tharp and Martha Graham, it all just made sense. I wanted to dance about my life. I wanted to be a strong female figure like them.
Q: Why is your new show called “The Endurance to Move?” What does that mean?
A: My show is called The Endurance to Move because, based on my experiences this year—any pain I would have to endure or struggle I would fight through—I always found myself back dancing. It’s the one thing that makes life better. It’s the one thing I need to survive.
Q: Where are the dancers from?
A: The dancers are from all over! New York, San Francisco, Vegas—everywhere! I have known these dancers for many years; they are my family and I trust them with my life.
Q: How often do you rehearse?
A: We dance Monday through Thursday, 6 hours a day, for 9 weeks. No ego, No drama—just dance!
Q: How would you describe yourself?
A: I would describe myself as strong-willed, loving and somewhat irrational at times!
Q: How much time do you get to choreograph a dance number on “So You Think You Can Dance?”
A: We get about 4-5 hours total to choreograph on the show.
Q: Who is your favorite judge on SYTYCD, and why?
A: I love all of the judges!
Q: How has SYTYCD changed your life, if at all?
A: SYTYCD completely changed my life! I am now a figure to the general public, and my work is being seen all over the world. It’s crazy but i love every minute of it! I get to share my dream with the world, so cool!
Q: Do you have a favorite charity? If yes, what is it?
A: Any charity that is cancer related, I will support. I lost my father and grandparents to cancer. Almost lost my best friend and my mother. It’s a devastating disease.
Q: What are your goals (as a choreographer)?
A: My goal as a choreographer is to be consistently working, making a mark in the world and creating work that is timeless.
Q: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
A: One thing I would change about myself is learning how to relax. I am such a fireball; quiet time is hard for me.

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