Not the 90s classic film Reality Bites…that will never suck. I am talking about the way that anything marred with the nomer “Reality TV” is instantly written off as trash. Specifically, I am talking about So You Think You Can Dance. And that, my friends, truly sucks.
From the producers of American Idol and hosted by the adorable, British amazon, Cat Deeley, this unique dance competition features really awesome dancers with styles ranging from hip-hop to classical ballet. I give the show credit for being savvy enough to package a performance art showcase for mass appeal, but it is also sad that this is the only way some people will ever experience real dancing.
The contestants perform professionally choreographed pieces by really accomplished choreographers–my faves being Wade Robson, Sonya Tayeh, and Mia Michaels (click the links for some of their best work on the show!) And this ain’t no fun and games show. Unlike Idol, only the best get anywhere near the top twenty–it’s skill first, personality second. The judges are far superior on SYTYCD, too. None of that Paula ‘Well…you look beautiful’ crap on this panel. The softy & hard-nosed dancer/producer, Nigel Lythgoe; zany ballroom expert, Mary Murphy; and guest professional judges give the dancers get brutal honesty each week, for better or worse.
Sure you have your youngster-approved, mind-boggling hip-hop routines and your booty shakin’, saucy latin numbers; but they also include boisterous broadway, longing lyrical, complex contemporary, and a whole truck load of what the fuck fusion pieces. This season is exploring traditional world dance, too (like Bollywood and Russian folk dance). And it is all high-concept stories intertwined with hardcore dance moves. Like rock and roll hip hop, a quick change quick step, and insane dizzying disco darlings. The show is as much about the choreographers proving themselves as it is the dancers.
So You Think You Can Dance makes Dancing with the Stars look like child’s play. If you think you might be interested in seeing some beautiful, intricate art in motion, than tune in Wednesdays and Thursday nights on Fox. I have been a super fan since day one 4.5 seasons ago, and I hate that this show gets sectioned off as just another reality competition show. To a lesser degree I feel the same about America’s Next Top Model, but only in the sense that the photographers, make-up artist, and art directors dream up the most beautiful concepts. In that way, my interest in both shows is very similar.
It’s art, people! Appreciate it! (Plus, it has wicked fun reality bits mixed in, too!)
Here are some shots of my fave moments from this season, so far:
Melissa and Ade take on the roles of Romeo and Juliet for the show’s first classic pas de deux (ballet). Melissa is one of my faves. She is the oldest contestant the show has had (at 29–sad, right?) and she is a classical ballerina (flight of fancy moment for Junkie1). Two strikes as far as this show is concerned (age, and ballerinas never make it that far)–but she rocks every style. Watch the ballet! See also the brilliant jazz number they did by Sonya Tayeh!
Gene Kelly-esque, underdog Evan and his sweet partner, Randi do a saucy little Mia Michaels routine. It was all about the booty! Watch the video!
Kupono and judge-favorite, she-rocks-everything Kayla do a Sonya Tayeh vampire routine. Set to music from Twilight, but with the maturity of Interview with a Vampire! Watch the video!
So you think you can write off this show?! You don’t know what you’re missing, babies.