06 January 2009

TV Tuesday: Superstars of Dance

ABM surprised me on Sunday by recording the first episode of Superstars of Dance. This is a new dance show on NBC that was produced by Nigel Lythgoe, who has already give us American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance. It is hosted by Michael Flatley.

There are eight countries competing, and each country has two soloists, a duo, and a group representing them. My first impression was that they are trying to make this the dance equivalent of the Eurovision Song contest. Somehow I doubt that it will last for 50 years like Eurovision, though.

This show is presented as more of a serious competition than a reality show. The judges were rather staid, giving their scores without commentary. However, by the second night (Monday) the reality show elements started creeping in. The judges became more vocal in their criticism, especially the South African judge. The dancers started making smart-aleck comments and even arguing with the judges. This is the kind of behavior that turns me away from modern competition shows.

The other negative mark that I would give this show is that they have stretched the definition of dance almost beyond the limit. Some of the routines are closer to martial arts than dance. If you could have been a fly on my wall, you would have laughed at how ABM and I (two non-dancers) bickered about what constituted dance and what was just gyration or exercise. In case you are wondering, I prefer a stricter definition of dance and more traditional forms like tap or ballroom.

I would say that if you need a dance infusion while you are waiting for So You Think You Can Dance to come back, check this show out on Monday nights at 8p. For maximum enjoyment, however, you may want to fast-forward past the commentary.
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