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So You Think You Can Dance


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#1 Rich Clark

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Posted 10 July 2008 - 09:28 AM

I know nothing of dance but I'm just so curious... My wife and I have been watching this show the past few seasons and it's helped me somewhat to see dance as a legitimate form of art. My question is, how to the best of the best view this show? Do real dancers see this as basically American Idol or as something better and perhaps more pure?

I've seen some really astounding things on this show and I was just wondering how valid it was as an example of good performance art.

#2 Darrel Manson

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 03:08 PM

Any reactions to the finals? I'd watch on and off. All 4 finalists seem to be able to do amazing things. Loved Joshua and Twitch's Russian dancing. My wife voted for Joshua, so she was happy.

#3 Holy Moly!

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 03:15 PM

I just can't get over that they used a MIRAH song!

#4 Cunningham

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 07:11 AM

QUOTE (Rich Clark @ Jul 10 2008, 08:28 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I know nothing of dance but I'm just so curious... My wife and I have been watching this show the past few seasons and it's helped me somewhat to see dance as a legitimate form of art. My question is, how to the best of the best view this show? Do real dancers see this as basically American Idol or as something better and perhaps more pure?

I've seen some really astounding things on this show and I was just wondering how valid it was as an example of good performance art.
I have a good friend who is very into dance (she's danced competitively since she was about three and continued through college) and she really loves the show. The dancers are often not really "professional grade" but they are very good.

#5 Cunningham

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 11:40 PM

A few years ago, when my brother said he had been watching SYTYCD, I have to admit that I scoffed at him. I have a long-standing hatred for Survivor and American Idol, and pretty much every other reality-TV, slash, competition show. But last year I actually sat down and watched the last half of the season and really enjoyed it. I'm back on for this season and I thought the first episode got off to a good start. Here are some things that I really appreciate about the show that I think sets it apart from others of its ilk:

1. the contestant's dignity is preserved. This is probably the main reason that I HATE reality TV is the way that the shows sacrifice the contestants' dignity. Whether it's Simon's insults or the way Survivor encourages scheming and backstabbing, the contestants are put in situations where they are dehumanized and humiliated. Even the poor dancers who show up to the audition are treated with respect. In the first episode there was a girl who did an absolutely ridiculous dance dressed as a "lion" with lightsabers. One of the guest judges, Sonja, couldn't handle it and collapsed into a giggle fit. Nigel admonished her to "get ahold of herself" and give the contestant the critique she was entitled to. I admire that.

2. desire to educate the audience and broaden their horizons. I know next to nothing about dance, but the judges explain what makes a good dance and show replays to demonstrate what they are saying, even more so this season than in the past if the first episode is any indication. They also feature dances that are quite a ways outside of the mainstream commercial dance that is featured on advertisements and MTV.

Mary does certainly irritate me on a regular basis though. Ugh, I just want to mute her sometimes. Especially when she yells.

Edited by Cunningham, 23 May 2009 - 11:41 PM.


#6 Sara Zarr

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 05:06 PM

I unashamedly love this show, even sometimes Mary's screaming. In moderation.

One thing I love about it is that dance isn't generally in the forefront of popular culture, other than in the context of pop singers breaking it down while performing, or Britney re-enacting scenes from a strip club. It's a beautiful, joyous, expressive art form that Americans...okay, I won't make a big blanket statement about Americans and dance. I guess when I say Americans I really mean WASPs. I just remember a woman I knew from a former church who moved here from Colombia and was totally depressed because back in her hometown, every single weekend was a big community party and there was always, always dancing. She had not expected that nobody here in her new community would be doing that.

Last weekend I was at a family wedding, and hardly anyone would get out onto the floor. We're so afraid of looking dumb---or, maybe it's that we're afraid of looking too into it, too sincere, uncool and just enjoying moving. You know when you go to rock concerts or arts festivals and there's always that one person who gets up and dances like he just don't care, and looks a fool, but part of you wishes it were you? (Or maybe that's just me?) I think we all naturally want to move our bodies that way, but for various reasons, we don't.

Before she moved away, a woman at my church led a dance troupe and they did a couple of dance-worship things during special services, and for me those were always more moving than all the songs in the world put together. There's a lot of dancing that goes on in the bible. A lot of us WASPy types have been divorced from bodily expression due to Puritan roots, or other pronouncements of dancing being slightly more dangerous than sex.

I like the earthiness of dance on the show, and the peek into the rehearsal process, and how you can see them sweat and work hard risk injury to produce something beautiful (or weird, depending who choreographs). During the run of the show, whoever watches is, for a time, loving dance and probably longing to dance, and maybe even acting on it, which I think is cool. (Yes, I know about Dancing with the Stars, but don't really count it because that's more a "how fast can the person you'd least expect learn how to fake it" thing.)

#7 techne

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 06:32 PM

also, unlike many of the other reality/"i want to be a star without having to actually work for it" shows, the top dancers are actually deserving to be there. once they get to the top 20 dancers, you are actually looking at 20 very talented dancers (even if not in every style). i find this very different from shows like american idol, where most of the top 10 don't sing as well as 10 people i know. yes, there are usually 3 or 4 that are very good, but the [overall] talent level isn't the same (though, presumably, the talent pool is, as there must be more singers out there than dancers - if for no other reason than it's easier to get by on 'natural ability').

oh, and the dancers are hot.

#8 Cunningham

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 06:35 PM

QUOTE
oh, and the dancers are hot.
Yes, that too smile.gif

#9 Sara Zarr

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 07:03 PM

QUOTE (Cunningham @ May 24 2009, 05:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE
oh, and the dancers are hot.
Yes, that too smile.gif


In all seriousness, that is another thing I like about the show. The dancers' strong, non-skinny bodies that are good and powerful and beautiful and useful for things other than showing off designer clothes are really different than the tanorexics so many magazines and TV shows are putting out there.

#10 techne

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 08:28 PM

QUOTE (Sara Zarr @ May 24 2009, 08:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Cunningham @ May 24 2009, 05:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE
oh, and the dancers are hot.
Yes, that too smile.gif

In all seriousness, that is another thing I like about the show. The dancers' strong, non-skinny bodies that are good and powerful and beautiful and useful for things other than showing off designer clothes are really different than the tanorexics so many magazines and TV shows are putting out there.

agreed. for example, the young black man who danced at the end of the last episode was amazing. strong, powerful, graceful...and his friend was amazing as well.

i look forward to the choreography becaus ethe choreographers really don't make it easy for the dancers - they challenge them (even - especially? - with the weird stuff).

there are so many talented dancers who audition, and their passion for and love of dance is so evident...it's inspiring, really

#11 Cunningham

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 09:20 PM

I had a few thoughts after last weeks episodes:

What was the deal with Lil C and Mia Michaels going off on the black classical dancer? I could not gather what they were so upset about. Mia was talking about his attitude and Lil C just saying that he wasn't impressed, even though he danced better than a lot of other dancers that went through. I'm glad that Mary and Nigel stood up for him but I'm baffled by the hatred (not too strong a word perhaps?) that Mia and Lil C showed towards him. Also, was that particular judges' spat scripted?

From a production point of view it was really interesting to me how so many of the "story" dancers got cut before the top 20. Most of the ones who made are are dancers who got very little attention early on. Philip, Evan, the black classical guy, the older sister, and Oska were the only ones that made it to the top 20 that I remember from the auditions. It's interesting to me that they invested the time to invest the audience in dancers that were going to get cut. I guess it increases the drama.

#12 SarahMason

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 11:23 PM

This one is right up my alley.

I am a professional dancer and have taught for 20+ years. I watch SYTYCD religiously, because it predicts what is going to happen with contemporary youth culture in the dance industry. For example, this evening, they debuted the first classical ballet pas de deux on the show, and I predict that I will see a boom in support for the beautiful ballerina (Melissa) that played Juliet. In turn, she will gain a cult following of young dancers who are "en pointe" and who can finally identify with a dancer on the show.

The choreographers are the best in the industry, many of whom I correspond with regularly and respect a great deal. They have all signed on with the understanding that this avenue is the fastest way to TEACH young people today what real art looks like. Some of the hip-hop and ballroom numbers have been junk, but there are many choreographers on the show who really put dancers through their paces.

I'll agree that only a handful are really cut out for the professional world - most are too "cookie cutter competition kids" that lack individual passion and self-expression. But the great part is all of my adolescent students can now look at me and explain quite clearly that "that guy will never make it if he doesn't step up his artistry"...

All in all, a good thing for the dance world. Also, check out what dizzyfeet.org is doing for young dancers who are unable to afford classes. The producer really is becoming a terrific role model for other philanthropic organizations that are worried about the arts hanging on by a thread during this economic downturn.

I swear I'm done now.

Sarah smile.gif

#13 Cunningham

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 12:09 AM

I wonder if we can get these two threads merged?

http://ArtsAndFaith....showtopic=22996 is another SYTYCD thread that I made not knowing about this one here.

#14 Christian

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 11:55 AM

QUOTE (Cunningham @ Jul 2 2009, 01:09 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I wonder if we can get these two threads merged?


Done.


#15 Cunningham

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 01:02 PM

I thought that last night's episode was by a long way the best of this season. It's the first night that I thought that all the dancers were really firing on all cylinders. I think my favorite one was Kupono and Kaylee, even though they aren't my favorite dancers. The dance from Philip and Jeanine was also the first time for me to really be impressed with their dancing, and it was a great piece of choreography.

But man, I love Mia Michael's choreography, but I can't stand her as a judge. She's really negative, and always criticizing elements of the dance that the dancers have no control over (costumes, props, etc.)

#16 M. Leary

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 01:24 PM

I was baffled by their response to the Broadway number last night. We really enjoyed it, but apparently are out to lunch.

#17 SarahMason

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 02:01 PM

QUOTE (Cunningham @ Jul 2 2009, 02:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I thought that last night's episode was by a long way the best of this season. It's the first night that I thought that all the dancers were really firing on all cylinders. I think my favorite one was Kupono and Kaylee, even though they aren't my favorite dancers. The dance from Philip and Jeanine was also the first time for me to really be impressed with their dancing, and it was a great piece of choreography.

But man, I love Mia Michael's choreography, but I can't stand her as a judge. She's really negative, and always criticizing elements of the dance that the dancers have no control over (costumes, props, etc.)



Scott, Mia is well-respected by dancers, as well as teachers and choreographers, for her professional experience, and I agreed with most of what she said. She's been criticized for being too harsh the last month, and last night I could tell she was even trying to be "nice". There were a lot of things that should have been corrected that weren't, and I was surprised she didn't bring them up! Philip and Jeanine won't impress me until they do something really outside their comfort zone, which they have yet to pull out of the hat. ...

More later, have to go teach class! smile.gif

#18 Cunningham

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 04:45 PM

QUOTE (SarahMason @ Jul 2 2009, 02:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Cunningham @ Jul 2 2009, 02:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I thought that last night's episode was by a long way the best of this season. It's the first night that I thought that all the dancers were really firing on all cylinders. I think my favorite one was Kupono and Kaylee, even though they aren't my favorite dancers. The dance from Philip and Jeanine was also the first time for me to really be impressed with their dancing, and it was a great piece of choreography.

But man, I love Mia Michael's choreography, but I can't stand her as a judge. She's really negative, and always criticizing elements of the dance that the dancers have no control over (costumes, props, etc.)



Scott, Mia is well-respected by dancers, as well as teachers and choreographers, for her professional experience, and I agreed with most of what she said. She's been criticized for being too harsh the last month, and last night I could tell she was even trying to be "nice". There were a lot of things that should have been corrected that weren't, and I was surprised she didn't bring them up! Philip and Jeanine won't impress me until they do something really outside their comfort zone, which they have yet to pull out of the hat. ...

More later, have to go teach class! smile.gif
As I said I love her work on the show, and I can tell that she's a great teacher from how good her choreography always turns out. But last night she was telling Jason and Caitlin that she didn't like the tin foil on their costume.... That may be; I wasn't a big fan either, but isn't her job as a judge to help people to know what the *dancers* did well and did poorly?

Also, thanks for pitching in on the thread. It's great to hear some thoughts from someone who knows what they're talking about, because I sure know nothing about dance. smile.gif

Edited by Cunningham, 02 July 2009 - 04:48 PM.


#19 SarahMason

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 10:55 PM

QUOTE (e2c @ Jul 2 2009, 07:12 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Dance bloggers are addicted to this show - at least, that's been true when I've checked out dance blogs in the past. smile.gif All of the bloggers are dancers... smile.gif


Yep, all of us tweet about it real time, too. We're complete nerds. It's just refreshing when there is quality work being done by quality choreographers. I loved last week when the ballroom choreographer Louis Van Amstel pulled such art out of his dancers.

That is the sign of an inspirational and gifted choreographer - to be able to draw the beauty and passion of their dancers right out of their soul and onto the stage!

Tonight's opening number was another terrific example of Tyce Diorio's ability to choreograph large ensemble numbers. What a visionary!

#20 Cunningham

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 11:02 PM

Even though I loved his dance on Wednesday, I would have preferred seeing Kupono go to Vittolio. I was a bit surprised that the judges didn't get rid of Philip, but then I realized that they probably want to keep him for the top ten so he'll draw his fans to the tour. I haven't felt one way or another about Karla, so I was ok with the judges losing her.

I was shocked that Jason and Caitlin weren't in the bottom three after that bizarre alien dance.