The difference in the ways the media covers American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance are numerous -- the former is obviously a cultural phenomenon, while the latter (although one of summer's most watched shows) still seems to appeal to a mainly niche audience. Which makes it all the more surprising that the New York Times featured an essay in yesterday's edition (featured in the "Dance Column") on the show's Danny Tidwell.
The article is a very interesting read, if for no other reason than to get a better sense of the guy who can often appear cold on the show. Apparently Danny really is one of the country's young, premiere dancers, and he danced the lead in several of the American Ballet Theater's shows. The article examines the kind of dancer the show is looking for, and how Danny's perceived arrogance impacts this quest.
The article says, "Even more disturbing is the idea that So You Think You Can Dance has emerged as a viable option for real dancers, including Mr. Tidwell, who don’t have to look far to see that career options have been greatly depleted. At its best, the show provides a kind of kicky fun, the good side of cheesy. But it’s also outdated and perpetuates many stereotypes about what constitutes good dance (speed is in, subtlety is out), what language is used to describe it and how training makes boring dancers."
Do y'all think this is true? To my mind, the show has actually brought dance to a much larger audience than it might otherwise have reached, and while speed is rewarded, so is subtlety (think Mia Michaels and Wade Robson's acclaimed pieces).
The article does make at least one good point -- that Nigel is not helping the cause much with his narrow views of what works and what doesn't. The article reads, "The biggest culprit is the show’s executive producer and judge, Nigel Lythgoe, from his implied homophobic comments (he approves of the way the show’s male performers dance like “dudes”) to his misguided criticism and declarations about what a dancer should be." On these points I definitely agree.
Read the article here, and let me know what you think.
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