By Sean Neumann
21 January 2020
The “Dance Across America” video was the idea of Julia McDonald, another Emmy Award-winning choreographer dubbed a “Hollywood Dance Super-Agent.”
Ortega says Stranger Things editor Brad Tobler and producer Kelly Parker, another pair of Emmy winners, were part of the project as was choreographer Paul Becker and producer Truman Alfaro.
The team combed over submissions and put together the three-minute video in less than two weeks, Ortega says, after he was invited to head the project just before the new year. The video, set to Martha & The Vandellas’ song “Dancing in the Streets,” features 275 everyday Americans dancing in 30 states and territories.
Ortega says the video ranks up there with his other career milestones, including the Emmys he has won for his work choreographing the 1996 and 2002 Olympic ceremonies, Super Bowls, films like Dirty Dancing and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and more.
“Dance is a language without words,” he says. “It’s a language that all of us understand. A dancer can express so much: pain, happiness, hope, and despair. So many things.”
Most of all, Ortega says, dance “carries the story forward.”
That was undoubtedly the theme at the Capitol Wednesday, where the nation turned to its next chapter and Biden, its new president, urged the country to move past ideological differences and come together.