CriticalDance Forum

Dance on television
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Author:  ncgnet [ Sun Sep 23, 2007 8:45 am ]
Post subject:  Dance on television

An article by Sarah Kaufman of The Washington Post, published in the Boston Globe:
While celebrities whirl, true stars lose out
Broadcasts of the art form’s greats are getting more sparse on television

The sharp rise in reality-show dance is matched by a dizzying drop in public television broadcasts of the pros. In other words, the washed-up celebrities and adventurous athletes of “Dancing With the Stars” are all that the viewing public knows of dance these days, since ballet and modern dance companies have been virtually voted off the air.

Complete article

Author:  LMCtech [ Mon Sep 24, 2007 12:26 pm ]
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This is a great article. Ms. Kaufman is writing about something I have noticed myself. I actually think that this is primarily the fault of PBS and their DISMAL programming choices over the last 5-10 years. I am
SOOOOO sick of mediocre music programming and antiques shows that I don't even watch PBS anymore (with the exception of the occaisional cooking or crafting show). I wish there was a way to let them know how fed up we are with them.

Author:  LMCtech [ Fri Mar 07, 2008 1:17 pm ]
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I just saw a new dance competition program on MTV last night. Truly amazing dancing and choreography. You all MUST check it out.

America's Best Dance Crew

Last night they danced to songs from Michael Jackson's Thriller. It was like reliving my childhoood. So fun and the dancing is really amazing. I'm not a big hip-hop fan, but this show is changing my mind.

I'm not sure how hubby found this gem on TV, but I'm glad he did. The baby was fascinated too.

Author:  LMCtech [ Wed Oct 01, 2008 11:26 am ]
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I had some rather heated discussions with friends on Facebook about the outcome of "SYTYCD" this year. But we all agreed that the top 10 were all really good. so, here's a review of the live tour from the SF Chronicle.

Dance review: 'Dance' fever in San Jose

Rachel Howard, Chronicle Dance Correspondent

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Katee Shean got her due Thursday night at HP Pavilion. The San Jose native should have won Season 4 of the wildly popular "American Idol" spin-off "So You Think You Can Dance," but by call-in vote that crown went to hip-hop dancer Joshua Allen, with Katee receiving third place and $50,000. You would never have guessed Katee was anything but a champion, as friends and family in the packed stadium waved "Team Katee" flags during this fourth stop (Oakland is up next) on a 42-city live tour.


Author:  ksneds [ Wed Oct 01, 2008 8:19 pm ]
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So You Think You Can Dance Canada has just started and it's looking very interesting. Tonight the top 20 were named....

* Emmanuel Sandhu, who trained for many years with NBoC before going on to be Canada's top ranked male figure skater, did not make the top twenty. A bit of a surprise, and I suspect that it was less the stated excuse of poor transitions and more a problem with his attitude. He has oodles of talent, but was known for his lack of consistency in competition and it seems to be a known thing in the skating world that is not the most dedicated in practices and is not short of ego.

* But, we have at least one ballet dancer - a young lady who actually auditioned and did her solos en pointe, but was able to pick up the other styles very well. She came from one of the do it all ballet/tap/lyrical/modern schools, so I don't think she was specialised early enough to have had a real chance for a professional career. Yet, it's great to see ballet represented. (Apparently one of the producers or directors is heavily involved with NBoC, and Rex Harrington (former NBoC principal) was a guest judge in the early rounds. I wonder if we might get a guest performance from NBoC during the competition...)

As a whole, the top 20 seem to be VERY talented and much more diverse than in the US. The majority seem to be from ballet/ballroom/contemporary/hazz backgrounds rather than hip-hop or crumping/popping - a nice change from previous US version. And, frankly, even though Canada has a much smaller population than the US, the level of the dancing seems of a much higher quality here.

The bios for the top 20 haven't been posted yet, but I'll fill in more details when they are available. Non-Canadians should be able to access the website at, but probably won't be able to watch the videos.

Author:  LMCtech [ Fri Oct 03, 2008 1:32 pm ]
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Keep us updated. I am a huge fan of this show and would love to hear about other countries' versions.

Author:  ksneds [ Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:00 pm ]
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As promised...

I was theorizing today that perhaps the Canadian contestants are a lot stronger because there are many fewer opportunities for professional dancers here. But, at the risk of being age-ist, I do have to question the inclusion of several dancers who are 27-28-29. Whilst there are certainly late bloomers, the kind of contracts the contestants are aiming for here are high intensity and honestly, if you haven't made it in dance by the time you are 28....

To give you an idea of the talent, the 18 year old "ballerina" spent the summer in Boston Ballet's program, another of the women trained at the National Ballet School in Toronto, another is Cuban immigrant who danced with the Contemporary Dance Company of Cuba. Another performed with Cirque de Soleil and toured with Nelli Furtado and one of the guys was in the Lizzie McGuire movie. One guy even lists his favorite styles as hip hop and ballet.

Anyway, I have made a list of what the contestants list as their favorite styles - it gives a good idea of the mix of style. And it's a mix that really is much more diverse and much less hip hop than the US version. I think there are only really 2 dancers who are very heavily hip hop/popping:

Ballet - 1
Contemporary and Latin - 1
Contemporary - 7
Latin and ballroom - 1
Ballroom - 1
Hip hop and ballet -1
hip hop and contemporary - 3
Acro -1
Popping and boogaloo - 1
Salsa - 1
Hip hop - 1
B-boy and contemporary - 1

I'm cheering for Allie, Izaak and Kevin.

Author:  ksneds [ Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:37 pm ]
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Week 1 - 20 dancers (10 couples)

Thus far, I am most impressed by both the dancers and the choreography. It's a combination of contemporary stuff and contemporary social/jazz dance (jive, 70s, disco). The only downer so far has been judge Luther Brown. To begin with, since he's a hip hop dancer, his presence in a week with very little hip hop -he's not one of the permanent judges - seems a bit odd. He also can't put a comprehensible sentence together which makes his commentary totally unhelpful.

Some of the performances that have caught my mind:

Kaitlyn and Izaak (Fosse-esque routine) - the judges weren't wild about their performance, but for a couple with a combined age of 37, I thought they were excellent in a style that is quite mature. Not something I would have chosen for 18/19 year olds. He has wondeful facial expressions, and a beautiful way of moving - you can definitely see his ballet training. She was the one who trained at the National Ballet School, and that showed as well. I LIKE this partnership - these are dancers at an age where they can really take advantage of this experience to forge a successful professional career.

Allie and ? (jive) - the judges loved it and so did I. What do you, the ballerina looks like she has a real chance. Though she still has that slightly sweet feel about here, she wasn't afraid to let go in the jive. I think the real challenge will the hip hop.

Lisa and Vincent (contemporary) - the judges called them them the most technically proficient and the really moved like pros. Probably the most partnering other than Allie and her partnering. But Lisa is 27, so she should be proficient because she'd got a lot less time left for a professional career.

Author:  LMCtech [ Tue Oct 14, 2008 11:32 am ]
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Review of the America's Best Dance Crew live show. Another TV dance show I was obsessively watching this summer. AMAZING dancing, people. You are missing some really good stuff.

'America's Best Dance Crew Live' in Oakland

Chad Jones, Chronicle Dance Correspondent

Monday, October 13, 2008

The next evolution of dance may very well involve white masks and gloves.

Saturday night at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, a sold-out crowd made it clear that the six-man crew known as JabbaWockeeZ was the reason many of them had bought tickets to Randy Jackson's "America's Best Dance Crew Live."

From behind the judges' table on "American Idol," Jackson learned that if you've performed on a reality show, people will come see you live. So when Jackson created "America's Best Dance Crew," an MTV dance contest in which a winner is selected from a dozen dance crews from around the country, he also launched a touring show featuring five of the best dance teams - or crews, if you will - performing highlights from the show, paying tribute to modern dance pioneers (hello, Michael and Janet Jackson) and making the fans scream with delight.


Author:  ksneds [ Wed Oct 15, 2008 7:49 pm ]
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Week 2 - 18 dancers

I'm a little less thrilled with the judges this week. The comments seem to be a bit bland - mostly overwhelming positivity which doesn't always jibe with what happened onstage. I DO think these dancers are much more talented than previous US groups, but hardly perfect.

I do hope that they shuffle the order - it doesn't seem fair to have the same dancers going first and last - that can influence what audiences remember and who they see. The earlier and later couples are more likely to be missed if people tune in late or turn it off early.


Allie and Danny (samba)- the judges really liked them again. I wasn't sure she could pull off the samba, but WOW. Lots of sexiness, and I think there is a real connection between this couple

Vincent and Lisa () - not quite as striking as last week, but the have such good technique. Judges like them as well.

Kaitlin and Izaak - I can't quite figure out the judges' reactions to this couple. The couple, the youngest in the competition, keep getting saddled with very adult dance styles (this was a Jamaican/Caribbean type of, well, dirty dancing - think Grease gone street style) and they're not going to look as mature as some of the other dancers. Izaak especially looks young. As the judges acknowledged last week, Izaak really has a huge amount of potential, if not all the goods quite yet. I think the best thing would be for this opportunity to lead into a chance to further his dance education - he'd be a great Broadway dancer with some more polishing. He's really made for the stage, not for being a backing dancer or hip hopper.

Natalli and Francis (flamenco) - Ended up together after their respective partners were eliminated. I didn't see Natalli and Kevin last week, but I like this partnership more than Francis and his old partner.

Lara and Miles (waltz) - I didn't like the choreography, but this might the first off stage couple to emerge out of SYTYCD. Last week's dance ended with a kiss that surprised the host, judges and audience alike, and it was repeated this week. Judging from the reactions to last week's kiss, it wasn't planned and wasn't expected. Neither dancer would reveal whether it was spontaneous or planned, their coyness didn't seem to be attention grabbing.

Author:  LMCtech [ Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:47 am ]
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Thanks, Kate. Loving the weekly updates!!!

Author:  ksneds [ Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:49 pm ]
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Week 3 - 16 dancers

Once again the judges' comments are tending to be of the overly gushy, not very informative type. It would be nice to hear feedback that would help point out the faults and strengths of the various dancers. Needless to say, it's not easy to compare between styles, but a bit more real information from the judges wouldn't hurt. One of the guest judges this week is Kenny!!

So far, once again, the ballerina rocks. Allie and Danny did a Quick Step which I didn't buy right away, but loved by then end. There's no shortage of great choreography, but this pair really brings everything to life - she has a 1000W smile and he's just the right partner. Of all the pairs, they are the best matched by far. Allie also continues to get raves from the judges about her ability to pick up styles - the key to winning this competition.

Francis and Natalli (rhumba) - this really is a better pairing that the two original pairings. LONG lines, and a nice mature sensuality. The judges only constructive comment was that they overdanced a bit - which I think was a fair comment. He is a ballroom dancer, and probably was trying to really impress.

Kaitlin and Izaak (cha cha) - this was a really modern cha cha, and though the judges were much more positive this time, I'm less and less enchanted with Izaak. He certainly has talent, but his lack of maturity and gangliness is showing. He needs more time in the classroom to make it professionally.

Vincent and Lisa (African jazz) - I can't quite figure out how one defines African jazz, since jazz is an American artform, albeit drawing from many cultures. Anyway, the costumes and choreography seemed to be a 'Revelations' rip-off - it was hard not to think Alvin Ailey the whole way through. And these dancers don't have the Ailey magic, but they have the most mature look of the 8 pairs. This pair are professional, and possibly my second favorites after Allie and Danny.

Arrisay and Nico (contemporary) - I missed part of this whilst typing, but they are also very strong.

Tamina and Joey (hip hop) - This is probably the first hip hop number I've actually found to be really interesting. This is her 'native' style, but definitely not his. But it worked. Nor the edgiest, but entirely believable.

I think it helps very much that we aren't being overwhelmed by hip hop/crump/street dancing and hip hop dancers, as we were with the US program. So you can appreciate it when it comes around, but not have to suffer through endless awful attempts by hip hop-only dancers at other dance styles. My impression is that the Canadian judges really looked for multi-talented dancers for the finals, while in the US, finalist were chosen for personality as much as or more than diverse talent. Twitch wouldn't have made it far in Canada.

Caroline and Jesse (sexy something) - I agree with Kenny Ortega that she overwhelms him a bit. Jesse was my least favorite initially as I thought he was a one sided dancer, but he's impressed more each week. Didn't go for this week's piece, as I thought he didn't do much dancing. I still think they may suffer in something more traditional, which will eventually come their way. Not one of the judges' favorites.

Miles and Lara (krumping)- didn't make much of an impression.

They did shuffle the order this week, which was a welcome change.

My guesses for bottom three would be out of this four:

Caroline and Jesse
Miles and Lara
Kaitlin and Izaak
Tamina and Joey

Author:  LMCtech [ Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:23 am ]
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Awww, I liked Twitch!

Anyway, thanks for the updates, Kate. You rock.

Author:  ksneds [ Thu Oct 23, 2008 6:24 pm ]
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Twitch was entertaining, and put a smile on my face. But the glasses schtick wore off quickly and he wasn't truly very versatile. I think he'll find his niche, but don't think he would be a good fit for most industry jobs.

Joey and Tamina were the unlucky pair this week.


Author:  ksneds [ Wed Oct 29, 2008 6:57 pm ]
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WEEK 4 - 14 dancers

The bad news - Mary is in Canada, scream and all

The good news - Rex Harrington is guest judging this week and it's a nice change because his comments are actually constructive!

Allie & Danny (Contemporary) - very nice for both of them. I didn't think her costume was very flattering, but they continue to have a fabulous partnership

Lisa & Vincent (Samba) - Wow. This was intricate, quick and sexy. A very strong pair

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