Some So You Think You Can Dance diehard fans are sharing they are not connecting with the dancers in Season 8 this year. This season has varied and gifted dancers and choreographers, but ratings have dropped since the all-time high of 10 million viewers in 2006. So why are some fans complaining and perhaps changing the channel? Are the fans expecting the Alex Wong phenomenon? The magic of Hok and Jaime’s “Hummingbird and Flower?” The hotness and fun of Mia Michael’s “Door” routine? Do they want Kayla and Kupono dramatic “Addiction” piece that brought tough memories back for Kupono of a friend’s drug addiction?
Quickly looking back on the seasons of SYTYCD, it is easy to see the popularity of dancers, styles and emergence of choreographers. It is also obvious that Nigel Lythgoe, a very astute businessman, is equally passionate about dance. This show influenced the resurgence of dance in the U.S. and abroad. It continues to further the arts by pushing for new works and styles. Lythgoe, Adam Shankman and Carrie Ann Inaba created the Dizzy Feet Foundation to increase and support dance education in the United States. Lythgoe also helped create a National Dance Day on July 30, 2011. SYTYCD has three routines so all levels can join in. Cities across the nation including Dallas (Folklorico Leadership Institute at Mountain View College will host) are gearing up. No one questions what Lythgoe brings to dance, but questions about fans reaction to the latest show are increasing.
SYTYCD Seasons 1 and 2 were big hits and started the SYTYCD rage. Choreographer Mia Michaels became extremely popular. Her Emmy winning “Bench” routine starring Travis Wall and Heidi Groskreutz is still viewed and appreciated today. The backstory for the “Bench” routine is the struggle ballroom dancer Heidi Groskreutz felt when Michaels wanted her to be more organic and emotional. Michaels requested that the dance come from within. Heidi needed to remove the glitzy showmanship that her ballroom background demanded.
“I need for the dancers to be very open and explore with me because I’m going to create as we go…. Think circular and less romantic.” Michaels directed in a strong confident voice.
“Be more natural.”
“Don’t get melodramatic.” Michaels firmly directed Heidi again.
“You’re not allowing yourself to really just experience this.”
By this time in the rehearsal Heidi was frustrated and in tears, hoping for a breakthrough before the show aired.
When the audience saw the piece they understood what Michaels meant. Heidi’s broken down walls allowed the audience to connect with her. The piece was beautiful and real. The best dancers in the world not only have fantastic technique, but they also allow the audience to travel the emotional bridge to their souls. Is this what is mising? It is certainly apparent that Sasha Mallory, Jess LaPratto, Melanie Moore, Tadd Gaddung and others have what it takes to move viewers.
Dance is an intimate form of communication and there are some dancers and choreography that resonate more with the fans. Are the fans missing that connection the “Bench” routine that Heidi and Travis gave them? The routine must be believable. The dancers need the technical abilities to handle the genre. The choreographer should be original and create something that sparks the dancers’ chemistry and creativity. A lot needs to come together to make it work or the routine looks like work. SYTYCD 8 is just at the middle point of its season and there may be more magic up their sleeves. Stay tuned especially next week when the American Ballet Theatre soloists Yuiko Kajiya and Jared Matthews perform their grand pas de duex. When the All-Stars partner with the Top 10 the show will get more exciting kicking in those endorphines.
How do you feel about the show this season? Leave your comments below.
Part 3 of this series explores SYTYCD’s award winning routines and their impact on the arts and fans
Part 1 SYTYCD 8 Despite growing pains dancers still shine
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