Thursday, July 23, 2009

On Last Night's Episode of SYTYCD

For those who don't watch SYTYCD, or didn't watch last night, I encourage you to take a look at the video of the second dance performed by Ade and Melissa. The piece was choreographed by Tyce Diorio, and was inspired by the impact that breast cancer has had on his life.

I've been surprised today by some of the negative feedback that has appeared on the interwebs, detailing reviewers' criticism that the dance was manipulative, that articulating the tie to cancer forced an emotional reaction from the audience and from the judges, that the piece pandered to viewers.

Here are my thoughts.

One, I thought that the piece was absolutely beautifully danced, both artistically and technically. Were this a dance about milk cartons, you couldn't find fault with their technique.

Additionally, I don't believe that the work could have been danced by any other two dancers in the show; it required Melissa's maturity and Ade's strength to really come together.

I'm struggling with those critics that stated that putting something so emotional on the stage was manipulative. My opinion is that the fact that we were moved by the dance proves its success. The dancers on SYTYCD are asked all the time to convey stories or themes or emotions to viewers; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. It's not fair to state that just because the emotion of this particular dance worked, it was manipulative. One reviewer opined that as soon as the word "cancer" was introduced, everyone started crying, which was clearly not the case. The tears flowed when the dance was over, when judges tried to express how they had been affected by the dancing. That means the dance did what it was supposed to do. It moved them.

Others have whined that to give two dancers such a powerful piece all but guaranteed them a pass to next week, despite having both been in the bottom two last week. I'm not sure how this feedback can translate into something constructive... "We would have prefered if you'd danced something more boring? Funnier? Less technically difficult? Shame on you for taking an admittedly emotional theme and translating it successfully onto the stage through movement?" if by doing what they did last night they moved enough people to pick up the phone and vote for them to remain on the show, then how is that their fault? That's how the show works.

And to those people who have asserted that Melissa and Ade couldn't fail with this number, you're wrong. As successful as it was, it could have been that much of a disaster too. The dancers could have failed to connect, or danced it sloppily, and I can assure that if they had, the emotional impact would have been lost and it would have been an awkward mess.

Where I will agree with critics is in their statement that Nigel's reference to a future Emmy nomination was misplaced. It was a silly comment, but really, the guy's an executive producer. It's his job to be silly.

You can read a response to the performance here, and see the video as well.

1 comment:

Maureen said...

I heartily could have been a colossal flop; they still had to dance well, and they certainly did.

ps. and isn't the goal of any performance to provoke a response? (aka manipulative)