Kenny Ortega’s work as a director, choreographer, and producer is known and loved by millions around the world.
As a director in film, television, theater, concerts, and special events, Ortega has had a career that spans four decades and has been the recipient of many awards, including three Emmy awards as a director and choreographer. Recently, he was honored with a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and received Disney’s highest accolade—the prestigious Disney Legends Award. Ortega served as Michael Jackson’s creative partner, director/choreographer for more than two decades. He has also worked with top artists including Oscar winners Barbra Streisand, Cher, Robert Duvall, Christian Bale, and a stable of internationally known artists that include Bette Midler, Hugh Jackman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patrick Swayze, Mick Jagger, Jennifer Grey, along with discovering Zac Efron and helming Disney’s High School Musical franchise—one of the most successful franchises in television history. Ortega began his work in film and television as Gene Kelly’s protégé, studying under his masterful tutelage where he learned Mr. Kelly’s art of designing choreography for the camera.
Some of Ortega’s works throughout his long and illustrious career in film and television include the feature documentary Michael Jackson’s This Is It, Newsies, Hocus Pocus, Dirty Dancing, two American Olympic Opening/Closing Ceremonies, a World Cup Ceremonies, and a number of Super Bowl Halftime Shows. Steve Wynn and WET Design also called upon Ortega to choreograph the iconic Las Vegas Bellagio Fountains. Kenny’s Disney Channel franchise, Descendants, premiered to record numbers and his Netflix series, Julie and The Phantoms, won 3 Emmys, premiered in the Top 10 on Netflix, with its soundtrack reaching #1 on iTunes in the first weeks of release. Petitions to revive the show received hundreds of thousands of signatures and spurred a media frenzy when fans began buying theater marquee space to “SAVE JULIE AND THE PHANTOMS”.
Ortega has been the recipient of three Emmy Awards, and two Director’s Guild of America Awards, The Fred & Adele Astaire Lifetime Achievement Award, Bob Fosse Award, American Choreography Lifetime Achievement Award, MTV Video Music Award, American Music Award, Billboard Award, ALMA Award, Nosotros Golden Eagle Award, Imagen Creative Achievement Award, NAACP Award, as well as a number of others.