So You Think You Can Dance Boys? Watch Baryshnikov And Get Back To Me!
Another season of So You Think You Can Dance has begun. While I’ve watched almost every season, this one promises to be that turning point where the phrase, “the show has jumped the shark” came from in the television industry. This phrase originated when the show Happy Days had reached a point where the show had lost its audience and original appeal and so they had Fonzie jump a shark, that’s how desperate the show was to get ratings. Well my dears, I fear that So You Think You Can Dance has possibly jumped that shark this year. With the change in judges (relying only on judges who care more about the sound of their own voices than the kids out there killing themselves), bringing back “all stars” from seasons past so that you don’t know who you’re supposed to be looking at and finally because everything has a sunrise and a sunset, I think this may be that sunset year for this show. And while the kids who make up the show are more than talented, a recent watching of the classic dance movie, The Turning Point started me thinking. So you think you can dance boys? Watch Baryshnikov and get back to me! – Don’t Get Me Started!
I wonder how many people stop to think about how all of our worlds change as time moves on. Sure as the sports heroes get bigger and stronger (whether it’s due to steroid injection or not) we hunger to see them do more, be bigger and better. The same is true of the dance world. If you watch these kids defying gravity at every turn and turning six hundred times to then stop and throw their leg up in the air as if someone has rendered time still you see that getting bigger and better is not just reserved for baseball players arms (and foreheads). No, the dance world has changed too.
During the recent winter Olympics the cameras caught Peggy Fleming in the audience next to Dorothy Hamill watching the skaters as they broke new ground (or ice in this case) and records creating the history and records that may be broken tomorrow by the next group of skaters. And yet I couldn’t help but think what I would give to see the artistry of Peggy Fleming as opposed to a triple lutz. Yes, the sport has progressed but some of its artistry has been lost. I wonder if football, baseball and basketball enthusiasts feel the same way about their sports. I’ll bet some do.
I got to watch Baryshnikov dance live twice during his career. I remember that when he walked on the stage you just knew. You knew he was a dancer from the way he carried himself but there was something more there, so much more. It didn’t matter that I was so far away in the hall watching him, the way he would just do the slightest move of his shoulder evoked emotion in everyone in the room. Everyone sat a little closer to the front of their seats as he danced. He was dancing for a room of thousands and yet he seemed to be dancing for us individually as well. Sure, he was leaping higher and turning more times than his predecessors but there was something more, some sort of star quality that can’t be manufactured by camera angles or even close ups, his charm left the stage like some sort of magic dust that got into the soul of everyone watching. That’s what happens with live theatre at its best and he was always theatre. Whether he was dancing the classics or a modern piece, he was theatre at its best. I remember in one of the shows they lifted the curtain and just let you watch the dancers warm up before the show. The stage littered with ballet barres and dancers all just stretching yet you could see dance coming out of every pore along with the sweat. It was almost as electrifying as the performance to see these dancers preparing for the night ahead. Amazing.
Do I think these kids who are on So You Think You Can Dance are amazing? You bet. Am I jealous? A little. But some things don’t necessarily get better with the next generation, they just get different. If you asked me right now who I’d rather see, one of the kids on So You Think You Can Dance or Baryshnikov, Baryshnikov would win hands down. Sure, all art is subjective and a lot of it has to do with where I was emotionally at the time I saw Baryshnikov dance but some of it is that he was one of the most amazing dancers this world has ever seen and always will be. I hope the dancers today know who Baryshnikov is and I also hope that some of them are learning about the history of dance as much as they’re learning to do the seemingly impossible feats that they do. Because like everything in life, if you don’t know where you come from, you don’t know how to appreciate what you’ve achieved. So you think you can dance boys? Watch Baryshnikov and get back to me! – Don’t Get Me Started!
Read More Scott @ www.somelikeitscott.com