Netflix holiday movie Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey is filled with music, magic, and gorgeous visuals. One of the best aspects of the film — aside from its stacked cast — is the dazzling choreography. Between the heartwarming sequence of “This Day” and the high-energy rollicking throughout “Magic Man G,” it’s almost impossible to sit still while watching each symphonic scene.
So who’s behind the dance spectacles? That would be choreographer Ashley Wallen. The Australian dance instructor, known for his work on 2017’s The Greatest Showman, joined forces with Jingle Jangle director David E. Talbert to bring the routines to life. In a video shared by Netflix on Nov. 14, Wallen spoke about choreographing Jingle Jangle, an experience he described as “a dream come true.” He detailed the process of shooting “Make It Work,” which is one of the film’s biggest dance scenes. “We had 60 dancers,” he said. “There was a lot going on. The director, David Talbert, wanted a really modern, contemporary, stepping style of dance. We started off doing workshops, and then we kind of built it from there. It was a lot of hard work, but it looked beautiful.”
In an interview with The New York Times, Talbert spoke about collaborating with Wallen on the playful number “Miles and Miles,” which features Forest Whitaker as Jeronicus Jangle and Lisa Davina Phillip as Ms. Johnston. “Well, I hired Ashley Wallen, who did the choreography for The Greatest Showman,” Talbert said. “And then when it was time for this scene, we went on YouTube, and we pulled up Temptations, and he just incorporated that with this cat-and-mouse thing.”
Wallen, who won a World Choreography Award for The Greatest Showman in 2018, also has an extensive background in choreographing music videos. He’s offered his expertise in the visuals for Pink’s “Walk Me Home,” Charlotte Church’s “Call My Name,” and Kylie Minogue’s “Dancing,” among others. Additionally, he’s worked on stage plays, recently charting the dance numbers for Ghost: The Musical in Australia. And if that’s not impressive enough (not sure why it wouldn’t be), Wallen appeared in the musicals Fame, Sisterella, and Footloose, as well as in the movies Moulin Rouge! (2001) and The Phantom of the Opera (2004). According to his talent-agency bio, Wallen is currently working on the upcoming Cinderella movie starring Camila Cabello. Look ahead to see some of Wallen’s dance creations in Jingle Jangle!