Wednesday, October 3, 2007

THE VIEW FROM MY SEAT: So You Think You Can Dance Live Tour at Continental Airlines Arena 9/29

Know this: I'm a sucker for So You Think You Can Dance. I'm hooked. 100%
completely and totally. I'm a believer, and I'm not the only one.

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Though American Idol is famed for locating undiscovered talent, I'm put off by the
machine it has become. I firmly believe almost any schmuck can sing karaoke to other
people's music and look relatively good doing it, thanks to the ministering of legions of
professional stylists and voice trainers. The folks on American Idol are out there
specifically to play the fame game. They're there to get famous.

Not so with So You Think You Can Dance. The kids who line up to audition for
SYTYCD are fully aware that they won't become superstars. Though they may become
household names to those who watch the show, the rest of the universe will slide blithely
by without taking any notice whatsoever when someone mentions "Benji" or "Sabra" in
passing. The winner of SYTYCD is not going to become the next Kelly Clarkson, and
everyone trying out on audition day knows it.

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As a result, there's a concentrated focus on true ability. The notoriety-seekers are
weeded out immediately, and you're left with the cream of the crop -- all of whom are
there because they have a dream: They want to be dancers. Working, employed dancers.
Dancers with a career. And this show actually provides real opportunity for outrageously
talented dancers who might never have thought they could make it farther than teaching a
hip-hop class at their local dance studio.

Much has been made of the fact that SYTYCD and Dancing with the Stars have brought
dance back into the mainstream. More power to them for bringing dance into the living
rooms of those who might never have thought it was "manly enough" to enjoy watching a
flawless waltz, rhumba or disco routine. But speaking for those of us [congratulating
ourselves for] already loving dance as an art form, I'll admit I thought a reality show
dance contest couldn't possibly be anything more highbrow than a trumped-up talent
show. Man, was I wrong.

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Not only is the quality of the dancers shockingly high, as Nigel himself frequently pointed
out in Season 3, but it's also wonderfully egalitarian. Because they put an emphasis on
turning out well-rounded dancers versed in every genre, there's room for everyone from
classically trained ballet dancers (Danny) and ballroom champions (Lacey & Pasha) to
B-Boys and B-Girls (Dominic & Sara). Therefore, not only will you find every kind of
dancer, but you'll be entertained by every kind of dance.

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Being a die-hard fan, I made the long trek to Continental Airlines Arena in E. Rutherford,
NJ already convinced it would be a fantastic show. Between the immense talent of the
finalists and choreographers, and the promise from the show's judges that the most
beloved numbers from the season would make it onto the program, how could they
possibly go wrong? I was not disappointed.

On the other hand, I found some of the montages on the jumbotrons tiresome. We'd
already watched the full season, including the finale. How many more times do I need to
see Nigel ask Sex not to come back next year? That was a little much. But when all was
said and done, the emphasis was on the dancers and the choreography. We got to see
the Flower and the Hummingbird routine firsthand. We got to witness Danny and Lacey
burn down the house with one of the sexiest sambas you'll ever see in your life. We gasped
at the acrobatics as two princes vied for the throne. Mia's ode to her father was even
more beautiful and touching in person. Latin ballroom stars Pasha and Anya devoured
their salsa dish
. And the Devil chased the Angel, just for us.

Having trouble with the player?
--Watch all the solos from the playlist on YouTube.
--Watch the couples dancing together on UnCut.

Even if you don't give a damn about Sabra, Danny or the lot of them... Even if you've
never seen the show once... Even if you despise reality TV and all it stands for... The
SYTYCD Tour is still a worthwhile evening out. You'll come away from it having been
exposed to more forms of dance than you'll ever find assembled under one roof again.
You'll enjoy watching them performed by talented, humble artists who refuse to
disappoint, because they know exactly how lucky they are to be dancing for you. And lest
I forget, they also want to thank you for voting them onto the stage in the first place.

Catch the So You Think You Can Dance Live Tour nationwide thru November:

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More So You Think You Can Dance Live Tour:
--Watch more videos from the SYTYCD Live Tour
--See more photos from the SYTYCD Live Tour
--Read Loralyn's Show Report @ Blogging SYTYCD

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