Shanda Sawyer’s work as a director, choreographer, and producer has garnered numerous awards including two Emmys, a Gracie, a Peabody, and six American Choreography and World Choreography Award nominations.
Known for her love of collaboration and the creative process, her ability to truly understand and serve the needs of clients and audiences alike, and her expertise across many mediums, Sawyer’s skills encompass cutting-edge live shows and events, television, concerts, music videos, and commercials.
Sawyer launched the groundbreaking Marvel Universe Live! arena show franchise – writing the original concept that brought together Marvel, Disney Theatricals, and Feld Entertainment and collaborating closely with Marvel CCO Joe Quesada. Sawyer served as show creator, director, and co-writer for the first U.S. and international tours of this uber-successful franchise.
In the realm of music, Sawyer’s credits include serving as a creative producer and choreographer on a series of six music videos for Blake Shelton’s Texoma Shore album, and a creative consultant for performances by Beyonce, Michael Bolton & Andrea Bocelli. Sawyer also works extensively in the Asian pop music world as creative producer/director and choreographer for Thuy Nga/Paris by Night’s spectacular international productions for over a decade – creating over 100 concert shows and music videos for top Asian music stars.
Sawyer’s work as a television director has fueled the success of TV comedies such as Queer Eye, The Man Show, The Keenan Ivory Wayans Show, and reality shows like Extreme Makeove, and The World’s Greatest Stunts. Sawyer executive produced and directed Oxygen’s critically acclaimed reality/comedy series Who Needs Hollywood? and was honored to design and direct the Michael Kidd Tribute for the Academy Awards. Her choreography is featured in numerous TV shows.
Sawyer was also honored to be chosen to re-imagine the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus. With her team of Oscar, Tony, and Emmy Award winners, Sawyer completely re-designed this American entertainment icon – transforming the performance space, incorporating video, narrative storyline, and a fresh musical score. During her tenure, ticket sales and profits were revitalized. Sawyer’s first Ringling show Circus of Dreams was lauded as the biggest change in 50 years. The NY Times praised her next show Zing Zang Zoom as “an artful eyeful, liberally spiced with mystifying magic.” Sawyer’s revolutionary DRAGONS! circus also toured to sold-out crowds and rave reviews.
Sawyer directed China Goes Pop – a joint production from Broadway Asia and China’s CPAA – which sold out at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and toured globally. The show combines traditional Chinese culture and acrobatics with western pop music and projected Pop Art environments.
Sawyer has created innovative live shows, commercials, and media for corporate clients like Levi’s, L’Oreal, Carnival, Pepsi, Nestle, Nintendo, Subaru, and Absolut.
Sawyer is a proud member of the DGA, ATAS, and SDC.
WHAT THE CLIENTS SAY…
“Shanda is a true creative visionary and rare talent who can not only imagine what is possible but also has the skills as a writer and director to truly execute that vision.”
~ Nicole Feld, EVP & Producer – Feld Entertainment
“Shanda is a terrific director, choreographer, and conceptualist, and an even better collaborator. We look forward to continuing our association in the future and creating new and exciting work together.”
~ Marc Routh, President – Broadway Asia and Broadway Producer
“She is in my opinion a creative genius. Shanda is the most talented person I have ever worked with for show conception, directing & choreography – she always brings the best out of everyone including talent and production team.”
~ Trevor Sorbie MBE, CEO – Trevor Sorbie London
“Shanda is magic. She came in with limited time, a positive attitude, and a strong head and put together the most epic of dance routines for not 1 but 6 videos. She was easy to work with, super gracious, and professional the whole time. Hardworking, around the clock.”
~ Adam Rothlein, Director – Blake Shelton Texoma Shore videos
“Shanda is that rare choreographer who truly understands story, camera, and editing. She worked beautifully with the actors; completely transforming them into believable dancers in a few short rehearsals and was able to help our crew organize the shoot to get the best possible coverage quickly and efficiently. She’s also a big asset in the edit room; with a few quick suggestions she helped our editor really kick things up a notch.”
~ Kim Moses, Exec. Producer – Sander/Moses: Ghost Whisperer, Reckless
“From my first meeting with Shanda, I was amazed at her grace, her creativity, and her keen attention to detail. Without her talent and dedication, Paris by Night would not be where it is today. Having worked closely with Shanda for over 10 years and nearly 1000 production numbers in 100 Projects, I am still amazed at how she can continuously come up with new ideas. Shanda has truly helped to elevate Paris by Night into a whole new spectrum.”
~ Marie To – Executive Producer Thuy Nga Productions – Paris by Night
“Shanda goes beyond in pushing the boundaries of performance, emotional impact, and visuals. She is the most creative, inspiring, and visionary director & choreographer I have ever worked with and is respected by all who work with her.”
~ Kris Sorbie, Artistic Director – Redken