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Archive for the ‘So You Think You Can Dance?’ Category

OK, so the really important summer television is over. The finale of So You Think You Can Dance? is finished and I’ll admit to being a little surprised at the results. I had assumed the winner would be Lacey or Neil, so imagine my surprise. A damn happy surprise, seeing Danny and Sabra as the final two finalists. The finale competitive show (not the final final show) also brought out a whole lot of stuff I’ve been writing about for the past two months. Namely, anxiety about masculinity and the strange place of dance in mass cultural consumption.

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I’m a little disoriented by the change in schedule this week. The rhythm of vote-send off is kind of part of the show, especially writing about it week-to-week. I guess there’s a rationale; I’ve been too busy to figure it out. This week’s performances were really first-rate and, with that first-rateness, the difference between “best” and “favorite” really comes out into the open. We also saw how the judges have conceived this whole season as an arc of sorts, wrapping up all the “dramas” and “stories” in the last normal episode. Even though those dramas and stories have long been brought to a close for regular viewers. In that, we see how even reality television hasn’t shaken so old-fashioned ideas about how we entertain and tell stories.

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First of all, I worship Alex da Silva. How can you wear sunglasses inside without looking like a complete fake? How can you sit with sunglasses on, in a dance studio, fanned by two women, and look like you don’t care and you do this sort of thing regularly? Be Alex Freakin’ da Silva. Yeah, I worship Alex da Silva. Mostly, though, I worship him because he designs consistently vibrant and sensual pieces for his dancers, which allow them to flourish as expressive bodies. And I thought that would be more than enough to save both of his dancers this week. Alas.

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Last week, I wrote up the week’s So You Think You Can Dance? with a focus on the role of choreography, namely, how bad or indecisive choreography was hurting certain dancers. That made this week’s episode so interesting – everyone dances the same routine? Hmmm. Still, that didn’t keep choreography from sinking Jaime. Sadly. And this week’s episode also revisited an old motif: anxiety about masculinity and sexuality.

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It is a really interesting question: what would happen if the dancers on So You Think You Can Dance? were better than the choreography? That is, what if the choreographers, who appear to regularly bring their B- game to So You Think…?, failed to give the dancers what they deserve? Well, I think that’s the question we meet with on this particular week. And it says a lot about the relationship between dancing and choreography, something kept well-hidden in the previous two seasons.

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First, as a fan of the show, I’m totally shocked – and even a bit scandalized – at the booting of Shauna from the competition. I think it is clear that the judges are committed, for whatever reason, to keeping a good number of ballroom dancers on the show. Not my judgment, but, hey, that’s how it goes.

Now, on to more interesting things…not unrelated. (more…)

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Tonight’s results show begins with a little taste of the Other, as the show often does. One of the things that makes the show so good is the way that we as the audience are exposed to all forms of dance. At the same time, this demanded accessibility changes the dance form itself. (more…)

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