Looking Forward to the Return of SYTYCD

In her 1963 The Book of the Dance, Agnes de Mille writes, “Art is communication on the deepest and most lasting level.” She continues, “Before man can do anything, he must draw breath, he must move. Movement is the source and condition of life.” In essence, true dance is serious; it means something. It doesn’t have to be emotional or upsetting, but it has to have a point. Even if the point is not to have a point, dance has to evoke some kind of reaction from an audience. Because who wants to just watch people flail about—regardless of perfect shapes or techniques—meaninglessly? Certainly not Ms. de Mille.
    So as we eagerly anticipate the return of Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance (which begins again tonight, September 9, at 8p.m), let’s hope that this time around (after the countless audition shows) we’ll not only see great technicians, but great dance. And I’m not talking about emotionally charged pieces with over-the-top, fake, distressed facial expressions. Viewers deserve to see the quality of dance where the meaning comes from the movement itself; dance on a level at which audience members feel the movement within their own cores because of a dancer’s artistry—not only because of his/her virtuosity or representational skills. And this show has all the right ingredients to make it happen. The dancers are amazing, no doubt about that one, and the choreographers are more than capable. However, if art is an expression on the deepest, most lasting level, and if movement is the source of life, I hope this season we will experience pieces that communicate something more than “hot.”

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