FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance began its fifth season last week, leading the total viewer count for its time slot on Thursday at 8 pm by over a million people. This popular reality show/dance competition that challenges dancers to step up to choreography in varying styles began with auditions in New York and Denver. It had its usual assortment of classically trained, ballroom, and street dancers, as well as a few surprises that had the judges alternately laughing, cringing, crying, inspired, and even awkwardly sidestepping what appeared to be a bad case of foot-in-mouth regarding one of the hot political issues of our time. Who could ask for anything more?
In a recent interview, host Cat Deeley elaborated on the upcoming season and some of the reasons why So You Think You Can Dance is such a popular show. She began the interview commenting on how the show helps to erase some of the stereotypes about dancers, and stating that diversity is the nature of the show. “We like to celebrate people from all different races, religions, backgrounds, colors, creeds. You know, that’s the whole idea of the show, is that anybody from any background at all with any training can come on the show, and as long as they’ve got the talent and passion and they’re prepared to work hard, and also show their personality, of course, they are more than welcome to be on the show.”
She added, "We’re not necessarily looking for a certain body type or a certain style or anything like that. We’re looking for America’s favorite dancer, which doesn’t necessarily mean the best. I’m certainly not asking people to fit in certain boxes. We’re not asking people to fit in certain molds. We’re kind of all-encompassing. We want people who the American public are going to identify with and are going to pick up the phone and vote for, and that’s what’s so special about our show."
One of last season’s highlights for me was seeing a Bollywood routine performed for the first time. I asked Cat if there were plans to bring more of an international flavor to the show and she replied, "Actually, we’d like to embrace all different types of choreography and styles and nationalities." Since the Bollywood choreography was such a success, and since we live in a more global environment "… we do have all these different cultures available to us and all these different art forms and we absolutely should embrace it. I know that Nigel [Lythgoe] is very adamant that we should bring these new styles to the show and put them in people’s homes where they wouldn’t normally have their eyes opened up to it. So, to give them something new, whether they’d like it or whether they’d hate it is great, just to have people slightly educated and to have an opinion about it is brilliant."