Biography - Shanda Sawyer

Emmy-award winning director, Shanda Sawyer draws on her extensive career as a director, choreographer and executive producer, to create fresh provocative entertainment. From the Michael Kidd tribute, for the 69th Academy Awards® telecast, to sketch comedy for Comedy Central's The Man Show and Keenan Ivory Wayans, Sawyer's work reflects her appreciation for the craft of performance. Sometimes scripted, sometimes improvised, and always irreverent, Sawyer's style pushes performers to reach new heights.

Sawyer is the director and writer for the 136th Edition of theRingling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, where she was charged with re-imagining The Greatest Show On Earth and presenting the Circus in an entirely new format.

Sawyer also directed and executived produced for Oxygen Media's Who Needs Hollywood? a quirky comedy/reality show that celebrates the human spirit and the power of creativity to bring a community together. The Los Angeles Times calls the show, "a homage to the creative talents of ordinary people who couldn't give a hoot if they ever get their big break."

Sawyer's other television directing credits include sketch comedy segments for The Man Show, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Motown Live, and Sunday Comics and emotional documentary packages for shows such as Crosby Stills and Nash, Millennium Live, and The Miss America Pageant. Sawyer has also directed stunt documentary segments for The World's Greatest Stunts and Stuntmasters.

As an executive producer and two-time director of The American Choreography Awards, which the Hollywood Reporter has called, "the greatest gala you've never heard of," Sawyer has been responsible for designing the overall show, creating numerous clip packages honoring choreographers such as Bob Fosse, Herbert Ross, Jack Cole, and Lester Wilson and choreographing the elaborate opening numbers.

In addition, Sawyer designs and choreographs live shows in Europe for clients such as Levi's, The Government of Italy, Paris by Night, L'Oreal, and Sorbie. Her stage work is characterized by an innovative use of film clips combined with live action, and specially designed lighting and stage effects.

Sawyer's media choreography credits include music videos for Chris Rock, Hammer, and Chorus Line the Movie, and commercials for Carnival Cruise Lines, Levi's, Nestle, Nintendo, Pepsi, and Yoplait among many others.

In 1979 Sawyer formed the San Francisco-based comedy/theater group, The Rhythm Methods, which built a cult following for its unique blend of comedy, dance, lavish costumes, lighting effects and innovative staging satirizing American pop culture.

A San Francisco native, Sawyer earned a Theater Arts degree from Lone Mountain College in San Francisco, CA. She began directing her own dance company at the age of 14.

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