Dance on TV This Week

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June 5, 2014 by Nicole

The So You Think You Can Dance auditions are heating up! We saw a lot of amazing talent on display from all walks of dance life. My favorite auditions? High on the list were Deise Mendonca and Mauricio Vera (a couple of beautiful and passionate ballet dancers), Justine Lutz (who danced a completely captivating contemporary routine) and local talent Sebastian Serra (who was apparently cut last year just before the Green Mile episode but came back in even better form).

One of the interesting things about the auditions, from a dancer perspective, is that you see what the judges are responding to. Since this is a TV show, they’re going to talk to the contestants & tell them what they liked & maybe even where they fell short. That kind of feedback is much more rare in a real-world audition scenario. You’re more likely to either get a yes or no, with no further explanation. So, when you’re watching, take mental notes about what the judges noticed and what was important enough to comment on….and what wasn’t. Mindfully watching the process can help you become a better auditioner.

As for Big Ballet, I have to say the one thing that really sticks out to me is that they’ve selected what amounts to a group of beginners (and dancers with quite lengthy gaps in training)….rather than finding a group of currently-training dancers that meet their criteria. So not only are these individuals trying to break stereotypes about larger sizes in ballet, they’re doing it with a cast who is new or returning to ballet, which is notorious for being a time-consuming art to master.

Maybe I’m being a bit over-critical and/or suspicious of the intent here, but it seems a serious attempt at this kind of production would have done everything possible to stack the deck in their favor and instead searched for actively training dancers that fit their casting ideas.

On a positive note, it is wonderful seeing people open up to ballet, especially after a long hiatus and with body insecurities. It’s equally wonderful hearing dance professionals be encouraging and supportive of those endeavors. It was heart-warming to hear dancers react to their parts – being chosen for special parts, sometimes for the first time in their lives.That is such a special feeling and really emotional to watch.

Even with my reservations, I’m still tuning in next week to see where we go from here, now that casting for their Swan Lake performance is complete.

What did you think of this week’s episodes? Are there dance shows I’m missing? Let me know!

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