Robin Hawke

Las Vegas Week—So You Think You Can Dance
June 10, 2011, 3:36 PM
Filed under: Emotions, Life and Stuff | Tags: , , ,

This week must be more grueling for the participants than I can even imagine. Each day there are cut-throat auditions and new material. And each dancer must notice the other 150+ contestants to see a huge quantity of quality. The stress is extraordinary. How do you measure your worth against so many excellent others?

As the versatility of the dancers is measured by the judges, the numbers of contestants dwindle. Dancers who thrill me are let go in favor of other dancers. I understand the reasoning. As soon as I see a bent arm by a ballroom dancer in contemporary, or a beat missed by a jazzer in hip-hop, I know their chances slim to nothing. My heart aches for all of those hours they have perfected their craft, the devotion that brought them to Las Vegas.

Value is placed on those most adaptable. This creates a difficulty for some truly great dancers. As artistry matures it often becomes less supple. These dancers should not question their musicality, their coordination or their ability. To cloak themselves in an entirely new style in the time it takes to learn choreography–that’s the skill of chameleons, no less wonderful, but perhaps more promiscuous with their time.

Auditions—So You Think You Can Dance
June 2, 2011, 6:58 PM
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These early auditions—the judges are judging more than technique. The stage interview probably determines whether a contestant has an interesting-for-television personality; performance determines entertainment value; personal history dictates whether the viewers get a taste or a dollop of the audition; the judges guess who will create buzz and provoke votes.

The personal stories are fascinating. So many dancers have overcome hardships, are affected by the deaths of supportive family and friends, have sordid or wacky tales to tell. Even Ringo Starr’s alleged daughter dances with heart, if not technique. I wish that every fifteen minutes I would be allowed to see one amazing person, notable for nothing but dancing. I’d be delighted to support a dancer who will not find fame through biography or personality but through movement and expression. A few of these dancers will rise through the ranks–I will get to meet them in later shows. Until then, the producers and editors determine who guests my living room.