Dancer's Forum

Event Type:Special Event
Title:Dancer's Forum
“Dancer’s Forum: The Evolving World of Dance” – Stepping into Hope and Change.
Date:Thursday, July 25, 2013

SAG Foundation Actors Center

The James Cagney Board Room

The Maxwell Board Room

5757 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
(free validated parking)

Check in: 6:00 PM. 

Status:Seats are available
Event Rules:
Event rules

This evening event is the culmination of a day of programming to celebrate, inspire and inform dancers.

The first 120 people to check in on the night will be seated in the Actors Center. The next 150 will be seated in The James Cagney Board Room to watch the event livestreamed. Any additional audience members will be able to watch the event livestreamed in the Maxwell Board Room.All located at 5757 Wilshire.

Cat Deeley will have a Conversation with Nigel Lythgoe

followed by a panel. Panelists:

Adam Shankman – Director, Choreographer

Dayna Hasson – Answers4Dancers

Kym Johnson Dancing with the Stars

tWitch – Celebrity Dancer, Performer

Julie McDonald – Co-Owner, Agent MSA

Larry Billman – Founder: Academy of Dance in Film, Moderator


Our hope at the “Dancers Forum” is to explore the future of dance, the changes that have gone on in the field, how history intersects with the future, what dancers can do to create product for a hungry audience and what we believe the future holds.



Nigel Lythgoe was born in St. Helen's, Lancashire, England. He and his family moved to Liverpool, where he began tap dancing at 11 years of age. He became the only person to dance in, choreograph, direct and produce the Royal Variety Performance for Her Majesty the Queen of England.

He has worked with stars such as Gene Kelly, Bing Crosby, Cyd Charisse, Chita Rivera, Shirley Bassey and, most prestigiously, the Muppets.

Lythgoe has been a pioneer in reality television and a driving force in the world of performing arts as the co-creator, executive producer and judge on SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, which has won 11 Emmy Awards, and the executive producer of the TV juggernaut AMERICAN IDOL, which has been nominated for nearly 70 Emmy Awards.

Lythgoe produced the charity spin-off "Idol Gives Back," which raised more than $170 million. In 2007, it received the prestigious Governors Award, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' highest honor. Additionally, Lythgoe was recently awarded the International Emmy Founders Award, presented to him in New York by Lady Gaga, recognizing him for his indelible imprint on the TV industry and a body of work that crosses cultural boundaries and speaks to our common humanity.

In 2009, the U.K.'s University of Bedfordshire awarded Dr. Lythgoe with an honorary Doctor of Arts for his outstanding contribution to the performing arts in television.

Also In 2009, Lythgoe helped to establish the Dizzy Feet Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to support, improve, and increase access to dance education in the United States.

In 2010, Lythgoe created National Dance Day. Recognized by a Congressional resolution, National Dance Day falls on the last Saturday in July and promotes dance as part of a healthy, active lifestyle.

Lythgoe resides in Los Angeles.


Boss was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama where as a child he was always seen dancing. At times when he wasn't allowed to dance, like at school or church, he would resort to "popping and ticking" (a popular hip-hop style of dance) that resembles a twitch to most. That was how he earned the nickname "tWitch."

In 2003, Boss saw an opportunity that he couldn't resist. MTV was casting for a new dance show, "The Wade Robson Project," and he decided to pursue his dream and took his passion for dance to Los Angeles. His entertaining freestyles nabbed him a semi-finalist spot and later that year, Boss went on to compete in the popular talent competition television show "Star Search" where he was runner-up. Throughout this time, he attended Chapman University where he continued to study dance.

In the following years he worked on choreography for the female singing group "Cheetah Girls" and the Korean pop star "Se7en" in 2007. He was also a featured dancer in Paramount's "Blades of Glory" and in New Line's mega-hit "Hairspray." In 2009, he teamed up with Paramount and to film several viral videos for the dance spoof film "Dance Flick."

Boss continues to be on The Board of Directors for The Dizzy Feet Foundation that aims to support, improve, and increase access to dance education for the underprivileged in the United States and is the first dancer to be a Gatorade-endorsed athlete. He launched casual street wear tWitch Boss Clothing in January 2012.


Kym Johnson began dancing at the age of two. She began ballroom dancing at 15 years of age and in 1998, she and her partner placed second at the Australian Dance-sport Championships in the Open Amateur Modern Ballroom. Since then Kym has appeared on Seasons 1-3 of Dancing With The Stars in Australia, taking out the dancing crown in Season two. In 2006, Kym joined the US version of the dancing show. Her first partner was talk show host, Jerry Springer, during Season 3, where she won the hearts of America. Her other partners include Joey Fatone, Penn Jillette, David Arquette, David Hasselhoff and Warren Sapp. After nine seasons on the American show, Kym won the mirror ball trophy winner with her celebrity partner, Donny Osmond and then again with athlete, Hines Ward.


Julie McDonald is co-owner of McDonald Selznick Associates (MSA). She is a pioneer in the field of dance and choreography representation, having formed the first talent agency in 1985 devoted exclusively to dance. A classically trained dancer, Julie studied ballet in Seattle, Washington before moving to Los Angeles where she studied and then toured nationally with various modern dance companies. Not long after, she opened her own dance studio, Room to Move in Venice where she met her business partner Tony Selznick. While breaking ground by representing her clients across all mediums of entertainment, she became an advocate for better terms and working conditions for dancers and choreographers and devoted herself to raising the visibility of the art and craft of commercial dance. In 2000 she and Tony Selznick formed McDonald Selznick Associates (MSA). Their clients are the who's who in the world of choreography and dance. MSA clients have been nominated for and won numerous Emmy, Tony and MTV awards and have worked with such music artists as: Madonna, Michael Jackson, Shania Twain, Miguel, IL Divo, Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, Pink, Lady Gaga and Carrie Underwood. They have directed and/or choreographed numerous Cirque Du Soleil productions including KA, Beatles Love, and Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour and One; television shows such as Smash, Glee, So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, True Blood, and The Emmy and Oscar Awards telecasts; films including Across the Universe, Little Miss Sunshine, This is It, Star Trek and the upcoming Saving Mr. Banks. On Broadway, MSA's clients have lent their considerable talents to such hit shows as Hairspray, The Color Purple, and the current smash hit Kinky Boots.

Julie was one of the founding creators of The American Choreography Awards from 1994 – 2004. She is proud to be on the Advisory Boards of both Dance Camera West and the Center Dance Association at the Los Angeles Music Center. In 2010 Julie was honored with The Lifetime Achievement Award by the Choreographers Carnival and The Dance under the Stars Choreography Festival for pioneering the representation of dancers and choreographers.


Dayna Hasson began her dance training at the Ludovici Dance Academy in New Castle, PA, but it wasn't until she reached The Pennsylvania State University that she realized dance would be such an important part of her life. Her dedication to Penn State affiliated tap and hip hop/jazz dance clubs Tapestry and Whiplash not only brought out, but also nourished Dayna's emerging talent and passion for dance; and eventually earned her positions of Tapestry Audition Chair and Whiplash President. Through Tapestry she was introduced to Sarah Mason, one of Chicago's finest tap teacher/choreographers. Dayna became an original member of Sarah's professional tap company Jade Dance Project. It was at this time when Dayna began her teaching career at Sarah's studio, The Pennsylvania Academy of the Arts, and even had the opportunity to direct her own hip hop/jazz studio company, Vibe.

In 2005 Dayna was invited to intern as a Summer Counselor at Broadway Dance Center (BDC) in New York City, an experience that would eventually lead her back to New York to pursue her dreams of dancing professionally. Her hands on work detail for the Summer Dance Intensive combined with over 20 hours per week training with the industry's top dance educators, including Brian Friedman, Rhapsody James, and Frank Hatchet, was exactly the inspiration she needed going into her senior year of college.

After graduating in 2006 with a Bachelor's of Arts degree in Psychology, Dayna moved back to New York and immediately immersed herself in the NYC dance scene and continued her training at renowned studios, including BDC, Steps on Broadway, and Dance New Amsterdam.

She has performed in various venues in and around the New York area, including In It For Life Production's Dance: In It For Life (Off-Broadway) and Real Dance Life (Off-Broadway), Broadway Dance Center's Dance Intensive Showcase (Off-Broadway), and numerous Sybarite Productions Artist Showcases. Dayna also continued her teaching career as a faculty member at the Look Sharp Performing Arts Center in Ramsey, NJ and Armonk Centre for Dance in Armonk, NY, where she directed the hip hop programs at both studios. She has also traveled with NYLA Dance Convention and Competitions as a master teacher and judge.

In 2009, Dayna took her career to Los Angles, CA. Since moving to L.A., she has performed in various venues, including Carnival Choreographer's Ball in Hollywood with master teacher/choreographer Leslie Scott, Club Jeté with choreographer Lindsey McLevis, and Art4Life produced by Gina Starbuck. She has also brought her teaching expertise to competitive studios in Orange County, and continues to set choreography now on both coasts. Dayna is currently the Administrator, DanceBlast Editor, and Social Media Manager for, ranked as the "#1 website for educating dancers about "the biz" by She is also the Social Media Manager for Career Transition For Dancers' Los Angeles office. She feels extremely blessed for her success and looks forward to where the future takes her!




Adam Shankman is a multi-faceted filmmaker who has enjoyed success as a director, producer and choreographer.

Last June, Shankman released his adaptation of the groundbreaking hit Broadway rock musical Rock of Ages, which he directed and produced through Offspring Entertainment for New Line Cinema. The all-star cast includes Julianne Hough, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mary J. Blige, Russell Brand, Alec Baldwin and Tom Cruise. Shankman also recently released Step Up Revolution, the fourth installment of the hugely popular franchise, on which he serves as a producer.

Shankman and his sister, Jennifer Gibgot, are partnered as producers in Offspring Entertainment, who currently have an overall deal with New Line Cinema. Under the Offspring banner, they previously produced the original Step Up directed by Anne Fletcher, as well as its successful sequels, Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up 3D, both helmed by Jon M. Chu, 17 Again starring Zac Efron and the Drew Barrymore starrer Going the Distance. Upcoming, they are set to produce the romantic comedy Kicked, Bitten and Scratched for Summit Entertainment and Tink for Walt Disney Studios, which will star Elizabeth Banks. Shankman is also attached to direct the family dramedy This Is Where I Leave You for Warner Bros., as well as The Nutcracker, an action adventure version of the classic fairytale “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” both under the Offspring banner.

In 2009, he served as co-producer and lead choreographer of the 2010 Academy Awards.  The telecast earned a record 12 Emmy nominations, including two for Shankman for producing and choreographing.

In July 2007, Shankman directed and executive produced Hairspray, the feature film adaptation of the Tony® Award–winning Broadway musical. It received three Golden Globe® nominations including Best Picture—Musical or Comedy. In addition, the film’s remarkable cast won a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Acting Ensemble.

Shankman began his directing career in 2001 with his debut feature, The Wedding Planner. The next year, he directed the romantic drama A Walk to Remember. Shankman followed with Bringing Down the House, The Pacifier, Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and Bedtime Stories.  

Prior to launching his directing and producing career, Shankman was one of the entertainment industry’s premier dance and physical comedy choreographers, putting his creative stamp on many well-known comedies, dramas, thrillers and animated films. His projects range from The Addams Family to Boogie Nights, Miami Rhapsody and The Flintstones, for which he was nominated for a Bob Fosse Award. In addition, he has choreographed music videos for Whitney Houston, the B-52s, Barry White, Aaron Neville, Chic and Stevie Wonder.  He also serves as a judge on the hit Fox reality show So You Think You Can Dance.

A native of Los Angeles, Shankman developed a love for the theater at an early age. Following high school, he moved to New York and attended Juilliard. After five years as an actor and dancer on the stages of New York and regional theater, he moved back to Los Angeles and began dancing in music videos for such artists as Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson. He also performed at the 1989 Academy Awards®.





Reining from Birmingham, England, Cat Deeley is one of the foremost television presenters both in the United States and the UK.  In 2005, Cat broke into the world of male-dominated television hosts when she began hosting SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, one of America’s most popular dance reality shows, which is currently airing its 10th season.  Cat has received three Emmy Nominations for Outstanding Reality Host in 2011 and 2012 as well as winning a 2012 Critics’ Choice Award for Best Reality Host for her work on the show.  Cat was nominated again this year for a 2013 Critics’ Choice Award as well as a Teen Choice Award for her role as host on the show.  SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE has received over 15 Emmy nominations; including two Emmy nominations in the Best Reality Competition category.


Deeley was the first ever Brit to host on REGIS & KELLY, was Jay Leno's first regular entertainment correspondent on "The Tonight Show", and performed the same duty for "Good Morning America." Deeley is a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Award winner and has won many other awards for her work on some of the UK's hottest primetime shows, including "Stars in Their Eyes," "CD:UK Live" (on which she appeared weekly for six years), "SMTV: Live" (which she hosted for three years), "Comic Relief Does Fame Academy," the "V Festival" (2004, 2005), "The Brits," "Record of the Year," "Elton John Live from New York," "The Latin Grammy Awards" and a one-hour special with U2, "When Cat Met U2," for ITV.


In addition to her television hosting endeavors Cat is the face of PANTENE in the UK and produced (in addition to hosting) a two part special for BBC America titled ‘Royally Mad’ as well as a web series called ‘In The Dressing Room’ which lives on Yahoo’s OMG site.  Cat also joined Anderson Cooper and Piers Morgan as a special correspondent to cover the Royal Wedding for CNN Worldwide which was watched by two thirds of the world’s population.  Cat recently hosted the 2011 BAFTA’s Brits To Watch event in Los Angeles which was attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.


Deeley also lends her time to the Great Ormond Street Hospital, a children's hospital in London as well as the UNICEF organization which she was named High Profile Ambassador in 2008.  Cat divides her time between her homes in London and Beverly Hills.