13 August 2009

So You Think You Can Dance

I love So You Think You Can Dance. I love it best when I've taped it, so I can fast forward through the commercials, the extraneous acts they put on while the judges deliberate, and everything Mary Murphy has to scream. I used to do ballet, tap, and jazz, and I spent years prancing around my parents' living room in silly costumes, which is what dancing is mostly about when you're 8 years old. If this show had been around when I was a kid, I'm sure I would have been all over it, even more obsessed than I am now in my older, wiser years.

I appreciate the storytelling that goes on during the dances; I feel like that is a really basic element of it. Dance has always been a way that people communicated stories. Music and movement; that is how we kept our beliefs, our spirituality alive. To be honest, I'm also interested in the storied choreography because I spent most of my childhood as a Bollywood bootyshaker. That's right, my most impressionable years were spent telling such very important stories (that needed to be kept alive) like "I was only eighteen, and I was caught by a handsome farmer in his farm--he was fresh, etc." Or like, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13!" Or my favourite, "The enemy of heart is coming today, today he will not be safe; he who erased my happiness, today I will erase him!" I'm not joking, my very first public Bollywood dance was Dushman Dil Ka from Roop Ki Rani, Choron Ka Raja.

So last year, when SYTYCD introduced Bollywood dancing as one of their styles, I was super excited. I thought Katie and Joshua were beautiful. Their dance didn't tell much of a story, but I was willing to forgive it in all the excitement. This year, they had a professional classical Indian dancer come do a special performance; Jason and Caitlin gave the choreography a good try.

But it's starting to bug me. Because this show isn't showcasing Bollywood dancing; it's showcasing fast, catchy Punjabi dancing mixed with Indian classical moves. Bollywood dancing needs to be done to a Bollywood song. It needs to have a story, lyrics. They didn't even discuss the meaning behind the professional dancer's moves. Bollywood dancing needs to be overwrought, with silly facial expressions, plenty of hip-thrusting and chest-shaking; it needs to be slightly slutty.

This show is not getting Bollywood right.

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