Thursday, January 1, 2009

World Dance makes Prime Time

On Sunday, Jan. 4, NBC will debut its latest art competition reality program. SuperStars of Dance is produced by Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Fuller who produced the enormously popular American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD, to its fans). The program will be hosted by the self-proclaimed Lord of the Dance, Michael Flatley of RiverDance fame.

SuperStars puts into competition dancers from 8 countries: Argentina, India, Ireland, China, Russia, South Africa, Australia, and the US. Each “master” group will compete as soloists, partners, and group and are free to present a range of dance forms from within and without their national heritage. For example, the group from India will perform bharata natyam, Kathak, bhangra, and Bollywood—all traditional dances originating in India. But the South African team will compete with hip-hop and a jive-inspired duet (both American born), and Afrofusion, as well as Gumboot, a street style born in South Africa. Each group has a coach and a judge who are demonstrated masters of dance. For instance, the Australian judge, Kelley Abbey, choreographed the penguins in the animated film Happy Feet and the coach for China is an actual Shaolin Monk.

Unlike SYTYCD where the viewers are the judges, SuperStars will have a panel of judges with expertise in the represented genres. This way, they hope to avoid the problem of the home-stage advantage of the US team. In order to establish the viewer-performer connection that voting afforded, there will be lots of backstage and rehearsal footage. I wonder if the judges will vote on how well the teams function as groups?

How will the judges compare such diverse dance forms and performers? What constellation of characteristics describe the best dancers in the world? It will be interesting to see how the producers and judges negotiate these issues.

So tune-in on Sunday night for what is sure to be an exciting evening of dance. And feel free to comment here on what you think of it all.

Check out for details.

1 comment:

  1. figured it out. Hope you will have your own voting and maybe it could be in several made me scream or sooooo beautiful or made me want to visit that country. gave me new respect for the land down under, for instance. Kind of wonder already what the judges are thinking but I am glad there is more dance and less talk.