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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Television: Thoughts on dance reality shows

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Hollywood Ballet

I know several dancers who have competed or auditioned for SYTYCD. The reason is simple- money. Though the show itself doesn't pay, to my knowledge, winning or placing highly can bring a great deal of exposure and hence, work. So many talented dancers in this country are starving, literally. I don't blame them at all for trying out for this show. I was never under the impression that it was for amateurs, anyway, though there are certainly many amateurish contestants. I think the show directors include some of those for comic relief- who can forget the so called "male belly dancer" of last season, though I would like to!

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There is a previous thread about last year's show where there was discussion about professional dancers in the show. It's maybe 2nd or 3rd page I think. But there have been some professional dancers in each season including the first one:




There is also a 2006 thread you can search for.

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It’s important to remember that first and foremost, these shows are presented for entertainment and are not necessarily intended to identify and showcase the highest level of dancing. There’s rarely anything “fair” about the “competition.” At least they clearly say that SYTYCD chooses America’s “favorite” dancer, not America’s “best” dancer. Having said that, I think these shows are great for dance.


Regardless of any of their flaws, they do achieve their goal of generating interest (and commercial revenue!). When DWTS is on, dance actually becomes a big water cooler topic in our office. I love it! I almost have to watch the shows (sometimes I miss because I’m dancing!) because the following day, knowing that I dance, I’m going to be asked if I saw so-and-so and what I thought about it. It’s just a great opportunity to encourage more interest and participation in dance and to share some little technical insights with the uninitiated. For a few weeks, dance talk can actually rival sports!

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I'm waiting for a dance show "Company USA" where ballet dancers compete for a spot in a company designed for this competition with a year's contract of national/international performances to give them a "leg up" in experience and exposure. No contracted dancers allowed. Limit the ages...18 to 22 or 23...etc.


It could be a "floating" ballet company underwritten by TV advertisers. It would be a great way to be scouted.

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We love watching the dance reality shows as well. My question is how you account for previous dance training in DWTS contestants. Don't know Kristi Yamaguchi's previous training- but know that when my sisters were figure skating competitively they took dance lessons as well as figure skating daily.

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At least for Dancing With the Stars, why bother to account for previous training? The 'contestants' are all public figures in various entertainment disciplines. They are all learning ballroom dancing. Last season, Jane Seymour had trained in ballet as a young girl. She didn't make it to finals; her personality was abit grating and she couldn't get the hang of the Latin dances. The winner, Helio was a race car driver with mega-personality. Sure, his Brazilian propensity to move with the music was an advantage, but he didn't talk about having had previous dance experience. Last year's Apollo Ono was a speed-skater, not a figure skater like Kristi Yamaguchi. His natural grace and competitive spirit stood him in good stead. Emmit Smith was a football player. Incredibly charming and could move. Some of the music industry contestants had advantages of musicality and comfortableness moving, but not all can transfer that experience into mastering the whole spectrum of the ballroom dances.


In the end, these stars go back to their normal pursuits. They aren't looking to break into the dance world. I'm not sure any of them have ever talked of having had ballroom dancing experiences prior to coming to the show.


In So You Think You Can Dance, the stakes are different for the contestants. They ARE looking to break into (or expand their scope, think Danny Tidwell) the dance world. It just really wouldn't be realistic to take someone off the street and make them a professional level dancer via that show. So, the dancers do need to have had training. Dancers like Cedric can go only so far on sheer heart and street-talent alone. Then training must come into it to really make a professional-level dancer.

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There is a new show on Bravo that starts April 3rd at 11:00pm. I'll be taping that one. Anyway it looks interesting with the contestants having to go on different auditions in different styles.

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I like very much Dancing with the Stars, largely, I think, because for most contestants are not dancers, and they work hard to learn and experience this thing which is so foreign to them and so difficult. Almost without exception, they are so grateful to have had this opportunity (and who of us wouldn't love to suddenly have the opportunity to be trained by professionals for hours each day!) It's the vicarious enjoyment of that opportunity which makes me so interested, I think.


I watched So You Think You Can Dance for the first time this last season, and it didn't interest me as much, because these kids already know how to dance. I did eventually get involved emotionally in their journeys, because they, too, were working hard, and their dancing was quite beautiful and, most of all, the show has some great choreographers (the artistic component of SYTYCD is obviously MUCH higher than DWTS), but ultimately, I didn't live vicariously through them as I do with DWTS, so it remains my favourite.


I tried to watch Dance Wars, but even after 4 or 5 weeks, I had no idea what the objective was, so I didn't ultimately find myself invested in it at all and didn't bother to watch the final couple of weeks.


On a vaguely related note, a windfall came to me last week when I went on a job at Disney and was given Dancing With the Stars tickets by a grateful boss! I'm going along with another ballet friend from my studio on April 8th! Woo hoo!

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In my house we are big fans of SYTYCD and we attended the tour when it came to town. The tour was a let down. They did all the basic choreography from the show, and they really didn't do anything to show off the talent of the dancers. I actually prefer our dance recital to the tour!

The Bravo show is called "Step it Up and Dance" and I swear I saw some pointe shoes in the promo!

This is the first year I am watching Dancing with the Stars. All my money is on Kristi Yamaguchi. As a figure skater she has worked with a partner (she was US National Pairs Champion with Rudy Galindo before she became Ladies Champion) so she knows about holds and working closely together and trust. I would say more than likely she has studied a little bit of ice dancing, though it was probably a long time ago. I ended up working at the Dancing with the Stars tour event when it came through, and unlike the SYTYCD tour it was great! The best part was when all the pros came together and did demonstrations of all the different dance types, quickstep, foxtrot, rhumba....they were fantastic!

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Just to confirm - the version I am talking about of SYTYCD is the home grown version here in Israel. The first season the contestants were either teenage students or older amateurs. The second season, the standard was higher as more pros and semi-pros took part and this season they were pretty much all professionals, especially those who reached the finals. The judges do put emphasis on correct training and on how important a basis in ballet is, so I think it's been a good thing for dance, but I think it was more interesting when it was strictly amateur.


The stupid thing was that the prize last year was for a year in New York taking dance classes. The male dancer who won joined another good modern company (he'd left the one he was in to be on the show) immediately after the programme and the female winner (whose selection as winner I totally disagreed with) was a gymnast who decided to try her hand at dancing and I don't think she even wanted to carry on with dancing, so I don't know who took up the prize. I believe this year they gave prize money. What is the prize in the States?


Another problem is that they put a former student of mine under contract for two years as she reached the final group and she has had to do all sorts of promo things and stuff for the TV station, which I don't imagine she was too happy about. She did get to do some dance projects through it, but I don't think that career wise it's been so great a push as she hoped.

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I love watching So You Think You Can Dance. I was very excited to hear that there will be a

So You Think you Can Dance Canada coming soon. :sweating:

Perhaps its just me, but I would love to see more classical ballet on the show.

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I saw the best BALLET reality show ever yesterday. It was a British one hour show about 8 guys (ship builders or something like that) learning ballet and performing in the end. They were coached by a dancer of the English National Ballet. It was really great, all of the guys enjoyed the dancing and they really achieved something.


Did anybody else see this show?

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Forgive me if I mis-heard this, but I believe there will be a radio segment aired on exactly this topic today. The CBC One show "Q" will be interviewing two people in the Canadian dance world (unnamed in the ad I heard), one ballet- and one contemporary-based on whether the public can really learn to appreciate dance through reality TV.


CBC One streams its broadcasts online to the various Canadian time zones, so there will be several opportunities to listen -- for example, from the Eastern Daylight time zone, I can listen to the Newfoundland broadcast at 12.30, the Halifax broadcast at 1, the Toronto broadcast at 2, and so on moving westward.


Q Schedule

Streamed CBC Radio


They also seem to post all of the Q programs as podcasts a day or two after they air.


Q Podcasts

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I enjoy both So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With The Stars. I like Kristi Yamaguchi this season on DWTS, as well as Marlee Matlin. They are both amazing, but in different ways. As for the men, I'm impressed by the football player, Jason Taylor. He has a natural elegance, beautiful lines, and pretty fast feet. Truthfully, I hate to see anyone leave right now, as they all add something. (For some, it's mostly humor they add. :innocent: )


Unfortunately I don't get Bravo on my stripped down version of satellite, but I found this link on the Bravo site:


Bravo: Step It Up And Dance


Sounds like it's more theatrical dance. Those of you who get to watch it will have to give an update!


The attention dance is getting right now by the general public is surprising. When I did a search for the Bravo show, one of the most popular searches they listed was for Dancing With The Stars.


Also, it may have been mentioned elsewhere, and it's definitely not part of the same genre of "dance reality shows", but PBS is showing a documentary about Jock Soto that sounds fascinating. I had not realized that he was part Navajo, and speaking as someone with a touch of Native American blood, that aspect should be fascinating.

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I was not interested by SYTYCD.


However I am intrigued by something on YOUTUBE: ANBETA TOROMANI danza per Carla Fracci is the name of the video. It appears to be some sort of competition or exhibition with Fracci as judge. The dancer then receives verbal advice or comments after dancing. Does anyone understand Italian well enough to understand what is being said?

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