Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What we're watching...

So You Think You Can Dance
(New season continues tonight at 7 PM on Fox)

This show auditions dancers from all styles (contemporary, hip hop, ballroom, jazz, etc.). They are supposed to master any style that is thrown at them: paso doble, cha cha, rumba, samba, hip hop, broadway, contemporary, Bollywood, jazz. Once the audition rounds are over the judges pick the top 20 dancers, who are then paired to make up the top 10 couples.

But the dancers aren't the only good thing about So You Think You Can Dance; host Cat Deeley is one of a kind. She cares about the contestants (she refers to the contestants as her "babies"), looks like she's having a blast, and is very genuine in her interactions with both the contestants and judges. The judging panel is comprised of head judges Nigel Lythgoe (the show's executive producer) and Mary Murphy (a ballroom choreographer). The third spot of the panel is rotated; much of the time this spot is filled by choreographers of the show, like Mia Michaels, Lil C, Tyce Diorio, or Tabitha and Napolean; filmmaker Adam Shankman and dance legend Debbie Allen are also frequent judges. While the judging panel can get crazy sometimes (Mary Murphy screams when she loves a routine), the judges are very specific in referring to steps and movements of the dancers.

I love watching the different styles of dance, especially when a dancer goes out of his or her comfort zone. The best examples of contestants who grew as dancers include hip hop dancer Ivan in season 2 (most notably in the Tyce Diorio choreographed contemporary piece with Allison set to "Why"), hip hop dancer and season 4 winner Joshua (he brought the house down performing the samba, contemporary, and Argentine tango, just to name a few styles), and salsa dancer Janette in season 5 (she made every dance look easy).

I especially love seeing a choreographer's ideas come to life. Husband and wife hip hop choreographing team Tabitha and Napolean always tell stories in their pieces, such as the "Bleeding Love" routine danced by Mark and Chelsea from season 4. Wade Robson is an absolute genius with his choreography. When street dancer Hok and contemporary dancer Jamie drew the style of pop jazz in season 3, Robson gave them what he called "a modern ballet" that is now known as the Hummingbird and the Flower routine. Contemporary choreographer Mia Michaels also has produced memorable routines, such as season 2's Bench Routine danced by Travis and Heidi and season 5's routine about addiction danced by Kayla and Kupono.

You can probably tell I could go on and on about this show. Season 6 just started its audition rounds, if you want to tune in and see some amazing dancing!