One of my favorite things about the summer time is the return of So You Think You Can Dance. So You Think You Can Dance is a reality competition show that takes dancers from across the country and from every style and pairs them with top choreographers to see who can elevate themselves and win enough audience votes to be named America’s Favorite Dancer.
The show has a similar format to American Idol since it was created by the same producers. They have open auditions in multiple cities around the country and if you can impress the judging panel you are advanced to the Vegas round. In Las Vegas, the dancers are put through an incredibly difficult week of rehearsals and performances. Vegas week starts with a solo performance in each dancer’s signature style and if you fail to impress you will be sent home before you even get the chance to unpack your bags. Each subsequent day the dancers will be given a new routine in a new style, starting with Hip Hop and continuing to Ballroom, Contemporary and Jazz with some dancers getting eliminated at the end of each round. It is an incredibly grueling week with dancers dropping from exhaustion, injury and emotional stress. At the end of the week the judges will select twenty finalists (10 male and 10 female) who will continue on to the live performance episodes.
The top twenty dancers will be put into random pairs and each week they will work with a brilliant choreographer and perform for America’s votes. There will be times when a Hip Hop dancer will be paired with a Jazz dancer and they will have to do a very difficult Ballroom routine. Or a Contemporary and Tap dancer will have to do a Bollywood routine. Each week the dancers will be pushed and stretched outside of their own styles and those who adapt will thrive. The three couples with the least votes will then be up for elimination and the show’s judges determine who will be eliminated. It continues on until there is ultimately one male and one female winner.
I can unequivocally say that I love this show. I look forward to it all year long and I am thrilled that it is back. SoYou Think You Can Dance has all of the things I want in a reality show without any of the things I don’t. The skill level of the contestants is incredibly high, the judges are entertaining and (more importantly) credible, host Cat Deeley is charming and the performances are inspiring.
The show has gotten better over the years, making the conscious decision to cut the audition round freak shows out almost completely and spending more time on the contestants who deserve it. The overall tone of the show is supremely positive and uplifting and it allows you to relish the successes of the dancers and share in their triumphs. So You Think You Can Dance is also blissfully free of the mean spirited snark and condescension that poisons so many other reality competition shows. Head judges Nigel Lythgoe and Mary Murphy and the rotating panel of guest judges aren’t out to make a name for themselves by brutalizing the hopes and dreams of aspirational young dancers. They offer constructive and technical criticism and only too happy to revel in the success of the performers.
Now that the show has revealed its top twenty, my dancers to watch are: Amy Yakima (Contemporary), Makenzie Dustman (Contemporary) and Mariah Spears (Hip Hop) for the girls and Aaron Turner (Tap), Tucker Knox(Contemporary) and Fik-Shun (Hip Hop) for the guys.
Having been a viewer for almost nine years has exposed me to such a broad range of dance styles that it has made me appreciate the amazing variety that this art form has to offer. It has also elevated my level of understanding of each style which only improves my viewing experience, since now I feel like I can distinguish the good from the truly great. I can’t imagine that anyone with even the mildest interest in dance wouldn’t enjoy this show. I will be a loyal viewer as long as the show remains on the air. A+
I have loved SYTYCD since the first episode, 10 seasons ago. There is something astonishingly beautiful about watching someone use their body to express the whole array of human emotions. Without fail, nearly every episode brings me to tears, and moves me in a way no other television show, especially reality show, has been able to do.
One of the things I love best about the show is that it pushes its contestants to reach further into themselves than they ever have before. We get to see their transformation as dancers and artists and it is a thrilling journey. My dancers to watch this season are: Jenna Johnson (Ballroom), Jasmine Mason (Jazz), and Amy Yakima(Contemporary) and for the guys; Carlos Garland and Tucker Knox (Contemporary) and Alan Bersten (Ballroom).
The past few seasons the show has had consistently strong female dances and I can see that this is the case this year. Although, I am really excited about the guys--especially in contemporary and ballroom. If you even remotely like dance give this show a try. Watching the show has taught me so much and improved my eye for good dance. I may not always fully understand the nuances of the choreographers vision, but I can always see their passion. A+