Inspired by the success of American Idol’s charitable efforts--Idol Gives Back--SYTYCD producer Nigel Lythgoe has established Dizzy Feet Foundation with the help of choreographers Adam Shankman and Carrie Ann Inaba, and actress Katie Holmes. The Foundation’s goal is to “support, improve, and increase access to dance education.” It will provide scholarships for disadvantaged students and create a national standard for teaching.
This is the first time a national effort has been instituted at such a public level. Many urban dance schools offer scholarships but their resources are limited and their scope necessarily narrow. I know that there are national arts education standards developed for K-12 but I don’t know if they apply to independent studios. It will be interesting to see how these standards compare with DFF’s. I am certain their stamp of approval will help parents make better selections for their kids. Right now, anyone…and I mean anyone…can open a studio and claim to have sufficient knowledge. If you’ve watched the early auditions on SYTYCD, you may have heard Lythgoe take some of these morons to task for claiming to be teachers. Its one of the reasons I respect him so much.
Watch SYTYCD’s 100th episode on July 23 for their introductory performance (a tribute to Judy Garland’s “Get Happy” from Summer Stock, my favorite of her films). For more details check out the official press release on their website dizzyfeetfoundation.org.
Also in the news, in addition to the passing of Michael Jackson (see my tribute blog on dancedocsthinktank.blogspot.org), the dance world also lost German avant-garde choreographer Pina Bausch. She was most popularly known for her 1982 piece in which the stage was covered in pink carnations. She died of cancer at the age of 68.