USC Kaufman premieres Move Ya Body: A Dance for TV Experience

May 14, 2024

Move Ya Body: A Dance for TV Experience | Photo by Rose Eichenbaum

The USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, in conjunction with USC Kaufman Board of Councilors member Jeff Thacker (Executive Producer of So You Think You Can Dance), premieres Move Ya Body: A Dance for TV Experience. Helmed by Broadway veteran and USC Kaufman faculty member Betsy Struxness and creative directed by choreographer Robert Roldan, the school brought together choreographers Mandy Moore, Luther Brown, Mandy Korpinen, Elizabeth Petrin, Koko Iwasaki and Kiki Nyemchek to create a dance performance specifically choreographed for TV.

Move Ya Body: A Dance for TV Experience is a film that documents the students of USC Kaufman as they learn the technical aspects of performing dance, specifically for a TV audience from some of the top choreographers in the TV industry. Encompassing varying genres of dance, it culminates in the students’ filmed performance of Move Ya Body, an original mix for the project by Hefa Tuita.

“I wanted the students to ‘experience’ and apply some basic principles dancing specifically for the TV camera,” says Thacker.  “To perform ‘to’ and connect ‘through’ a lens is a craft dancers must acquire and be competent in should TV become their career. We only ‘scratched the surface’ this time, but hopefully [we] will show what is possible to achieve and accomplish moving forward. Thanks to the choreographers involved and everyone at USC Kaufman for giving us time to ‘experience’ and ‘experiment!’” 

Film: Move Ya Body: A Dance for TV Experience
Producers: USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, Jeff Thacker, Betsy Struxness
Premiere date: April 25, 2024

About the Artists

USC Kaufman Dancers: Aimee Brotten, Austin Diaz, Janae Holster, Ell Horan, Kyson Kai, Ava La France,  Diego Lopez, Ella Melideo, Bella Mills, Andrew Nash, Anthony Picarello, Kali Sayles,  Jalen Scriven, Malachi Stevens, Katie Tapalaga, Jayde Woodard, Avery Zerr,  Mikaela Zarsky

View USC Kaufman Student Profiles 

Jeff Thacker is one of British Television’s foremost and elite Entertainment Producers and former head of Music Programming on ITV. His background as a dancer, choreographer, and producer has enabled him to work with the biggest names in the music and entertainment industry. Throughout his career, his own programs have won numerous prestigious awards including a BAFTA, an EMMY, the Bronze Rose at Montreux, two Television Press Awards and a “Mention Speciale” at the television festival in Montreux. He has also received additional nominations for two Emmys, three BAFTA Nominations, The New York Film and Television Award, five consecutive Record of the Year Awards, and two National Music Awards for his contributions to music. For So You Think You Can Dance alone, where he is an Executive Producer, he received five consecutive Emmy nominations between 2011-2015. Currently, Thacker is Executive Producer/Showrunner on the new CBS primetime dance show Come Dance With Me and continues his role as Executive Producer for the 17th season of  So You Think You Can Dance.

Robert Roldan  is from Thousand Oaks, California. As a dancer after graduating from high school he joined the Contemporary Ballet Company “Bad Boys Of Dance’’ as a soloist. Shortly after in 2010, Robert joined the multi Emmy Award winning show So You Think You Can Dance where he became a Top 3 finalist on Season 7. His popularity on the show secured his place as an AllStar, becoming one of their most popular performers on SYTYCD: The Next Generation performing with JT, taking him all the way to Runner Up. His Mirror routine received a record breaking 55 million hits.

Betsy Struxness is an interdisciplinary artist, entertainer and educator.  Raised in the professional arts communities of Kansas City (KC Ballet, Lyric Opera, Starlight Theater) and with a BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School, Struxness forged a career on Broadway, appearing in Wicked, Memphis and originating hit shows like Matilda and most notably, Hamilton.  Struxness’s talents extend well beyond dance and stage with her continued work on screens small and large, as actor, voice actor, creative leader or performer. Her debut pop album, Physical Attention, which she co-wrote, is available on all music platforms. A New Yorker at heart, Struxness currently lives in Los Angeles and is a lecturer at USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. Follow along on all of her adventures! @be_strux or

Mandy Moore is a world class Choreographer, Director, and Producer who has garnered 3 Emmy Awards among her 12 collective nominations. She is best known for her groundbreaking work as a producer and choreographer on the global television hit So You Think You Can Dance. In 2017 Mandy made history by being the first choreographer to choreograph the Golden Globe Awards, Academy Awards, Grammy Awards and Emmy Awards in the same year! Recent projects include Taylor Swift’s The Eras World Tour and Paramount’s Babylon directed by Academy Award Winner Damien Chazelle. Upcoming credits include Disney’s live action feature Snow White and John Krasinski’s Imaginary Friends

Luther Brown, 2-time Emmy nominated choreographer and creative director, continues to take his love for dance to new heights. He is a born leader that has inspired multiple generations of dancers and choreographers across the world. His exceptional work speaks for itself and as a result, has allowed him to work with some of today’s most popular artists such as: Daddy Yankee, AI, Megan the Stallion, and Ozuna, to name a few. Luther has been a featured choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance (seasons 9–17) in the U.S., in which he was Emmy nominated for his work. 

Mandy Korpinen & Elizabeth Petrin are a dynamic and inventive choreography team. Some of their credits include The Big Bang Theory, Clipped, Fuller House, Two and a Half Men, YMCA, Disney Fairytale Weddings, Derek and Julianne Hough’s Move Beyond Tour, and So You Think You Can Dance. Other acclaims include choreography nominations for their routines from SYTYCD, World of Dance Awards and World Choreography Awards. In addition, they enjoy teaching at various conventions and studios around the country. 

Koko Iwasaki was born in Kanagawa, Japan. Through her years of dancing, Koko trained in all styles of dance and began her professional dance career at the age of 16. She has worked with artists such as Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, JBalvin, Becky G, Luis Fonsi, and Camila Cabello. In addition to appearances with artists, Koko went on world tours with artists such as Luis Fonsi and Maluma and also dance tours such as So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With The Stars. 

Kiki Nyemchek has been in the Ballroom industry with over 25 years of experience on an  international level as a competitor. He is an active teacher, performer and choreographer. Throughout his career he has achieved numerous National titles and is one of the top ranked Latin dancers in the world. He has performed and choreographed on several television shows including So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With The Stars, and Masked Singer. With a deep passion for teaching and educating, he continues to spread his love for the art of Ballroom.