So You Think You Can Dance
I'm really surprised that none of the American Idol fanatics on this blog have posted on this (admittedly stupidly titled) show. It seems right up their alley, and I think it's a bit strange that the only Junkette who doesn't watch Idol is the first to post about it. I'd watched part of the first season, and really enjoyed it, but somehow forgot that I'd liked it until I tuned in last night. People, it's soooo entertaining. The contestants are serious, devoted dancers who come from all sorts of styles, who are then partnered up with people who may come from an entirely different dance background, and are assigned different dance styles to compete in each week. Last night a pop-locker had to dance the jive, a hip-hop dancer had to do modern dance, and a jazz dancer had to do old-school hip-hop. And, despite some weaknesses, they were ALL good. They rose to the challenge, pulled themselves out of their comfort zones, and worked really hard with their partners to perform mesmerizing routines.
Some of the partnerships are obviously more successful than others, and it's really interesting to watch. One of the pairings, Dmitry (a latin specialist) and Joy (a jazz/lyrical specialist) had to perform a latin dance. Now you'd think that Dmitry's experience in this area would help Joy, but it didn't. At all. Because Dmitry wasn't able to tone down his own perfection to make Joy look less hopelessly outmatched. He was too into his own world to recognize that his over-the-top latin-ness just made Joy seem lost. In comparison, Jason (a hip-hop specialist) was really unselfish in the old-school hip-hop routine he performed with Aleksandra (a contemporary/lyrical specialist). During rehearsal it became clear that Aleksandra just would not be able to completely overcome her training to make movements smooth and really get the flavor of the old-school, bopping, sharp movements of the hip-hop routine the choreographers had given them. And Jason, who could have KILLED that routine with his sharpness, softened his movements just enough to make it look like he and Aleksandra weren't performing entirely different routines.
And the judges are great. They say more than "pitchy" and "DAWG!". At one point one of the judges, Mia, told Heidi, a latin/swing dance specialist who'd performed a "pop" routine, that her movements weren't substantial enough, that she was too light and needed to be more grounded and the audience, of course, booed. But when Heidi had a chance to respond she really sincerely thanked Mia for the criticism, because she came on this show to become a better dancer! And I believed her. It was AWESOME!