Friday, May 29, 2009

Eeeeeee! Yay dancing!

I started writing this last night at the end of my work day being all, "You guys, I know you want So You Think You Can Dance blogs but I'm SO BUSY and these first audition shows are SO LONG and I just don’t know if I’m going to be able to do consistent blogs this year, okay?”

And then I fired up the TiVO and the opening shots of dancers came on and I was all, “Eeeeeee! Yay dancing! I LOVE THIS SHOW!” all over again. At which point I proceeded to watch six damn hours of So You Think You Can Dance. I was up until 1 a.m. Yes, I am tired this morning.

As for recapping, I thought about taking notes but decided I’d rather just watch & enjoy, so that’s what I did. I don't typically recap the audition shows anyway, if you recall. I mean, why a person would spend even a second of their "15 Minutes" dancing like an elephant just to get chewed out by Nigel Lythgoe is BEYOND me, but whatever. I don’t care for the manipulative biography packages terribly much, nor do I enjoy watching some jackass get all pissy when they’re cut or critiqued. People, for God’s sake, you watch the show, right? You’ve seen the caliber of dancer on here, and yet you think you’re good enough to go through? To the point that you’re going to get all tantrumy about it? No. I don't need to see your meltdown, honey. Dance well, or get the hell off my TV.

So yeah, no, those jerks don't get covered in my blog. Here’s what I will say about the first six hours:

I love seeing good dancers come back, especially some of those who made it to the final rounds in Vegas before being cut from the Top 20. I’ve seen recaps where people have referred to them as “Season 4 Rejects,” but with at least four of them, I’ve seen serious improvement, and the fact that these dancers can take a rejection and turn it into something fabulous on stage is inspiring. That guy Brandon, who moved Mary to tears, was dazzling. Quiet or not, I want to see more of him on the show. Natalie was also sensational, and all those goofy adjectives that Sonia & Mary were using—organic, sincere—were spot-on. I also loved Evan, the Gene Kelly guy, as well as that tapper Bianca. Season 4 rejects or not, I’d love to see them on the show.

There were some new dancers that I’m very excited about as well. Not as excited as Nigel was, I’m sure, to see so many tiny blond 18-year-old contemporary dancers flit across the stage in front of him. At a certain point Mac was like, “How many is that, now?” And I was like, “Not enough for Nigel.”

Speaking of the judges I would like to invite them to get over themselves before the season goes much further. Maybe they should take a note or two.
Nigel: Anyone who watches the show knows that you’re shockingly homophobic for a man who works in the dance industry, but you can’t keep trying to pass it off as legitimate critique. If you’re struggling to find a way of saying a dancer isn’t “masculine” enough without being a dick, maybe that’s a hint that what you’re really trying to say is, “I don’t like how gay you look,” and is therefore a comment you should keep to yourself.
Mary: I’d love to hear a little more originality in your critiques rather than the same words over and over again. Also, backhanded compliments are actually insults. They’re fairly easy to spot and it doesn’t make you seem nicer just because you tried to veil them with insincerity. I respect you more when you just speak honestly.
Tasty Oreo: OH MY GOD honey put a sock in it!! I like a bitchy queen as much as the next person, but enough already! Yes, there are some delusional jackasses on that stage wasting your time, but calling them out so extensively doesn’t teach them anything and only makes YOU look like an asshole.
Sonya: An orgasm every time a good dancer takes the stage? Actually, it bugs Nigel so much that it kind of tickles me, so knock yourself out. But maybe a few less drugs before judging next time, okay?
Lil C: I love you. Sometimes I wonder if you’re reading critiques that someone fed you? Like, it doesn’t seem totally real, but maybe that’s the whole “unreality of reality TV” messing with my head. Even so, I love you.
Adam: Even though the whole bit went on for too long, I really appreciate that you got up and danced for us. You showed us what the natural, instinctive carriage of a dancer looks like, even when he’s goofing around, and it helped convince me that you know your stuff. And your critiques are generally spot-on for me, I just feel like they would carry more weight if you were a little less full of yourself. You’re a famous director with some hit movies; you didn’t solve world hunger or anything.
Mia: If you stopped taking this all way too seriously you wouldn’t be you, and that would be tragic. Don’t change a thing, you fabulous, intensely scary diva, you. MWAH.

Finally, a note to our favorite host Cat Deeley: Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, please stop drinking the blood of kittens in order to stay so freaking beautiful, darling, and sweet. Surely no human can maintain that consistent level of sincerity and kindness, nor that perfect hair, without some kind of sinister ritual to make it work. Right? I am consistently delighted by you without fault, and it’s starting to make me worry. So maybe a little less kitten and your hair can go in a ponytail and you can be a little crabby for a couple seconds? I won’t hold it against you.

Next week: Vegas. I’m rather excited to see what happens, aren’t you?


Ryan A. said...

It's SYTYCD season and Dinah is blogging on it... all is right in the world!

Christopher said...

All right, sugar. Here's the deal: you keep blogging every week, and I'll keep remembering to come here and comment on your blog and then totally take the stuff you're saying on your blog to say my own stuff on my blog.

Because I have four million ideas and am utterly shameless about the fact that I haven't the slightest idea how to organize them. :D

Anyway, I will let you know this, from my day of Nigel chatting and audition-watching:

1) It's a good thing they hid Cat Deely from me, because she is so totally fucking makey-outey that it makes me want to cry.

2) Nigel's homophobia is interesting in that it's a homophobia that isn't. He was pretty open in my interview about the fact that he understands a lot of dancers are gay. What he means when he talks about masculinity is dancing like a man, which I can see. For example, he really, really liked Joshua, and really, really hated that guy who basically did rhythmic gymnastics in his audition two years ago (you know who I'm talking about). His masculinity comments aren't tied directly to sexuality - they're tied to movement styles, which, frankly, I pretty much agree with nearly 100% of the time.

3) The best dancer in Denver that you never got to see was the red-haired girl who told a joke (if you could call it that) in the Denver episode. She was wearing green shorts and a flowery green shirt. She is IN-FUCKING-CREDIBLE. Seriously. I had to join the standing ovation she received, and I was supposedly being an objective observer at the time. She was that good.

Anyway, it's gonna be fun doing this season with you. :) Glad you're doing it again.

Dinah said...

SYTYCD repartee between Deedge & Chippy-bean! I'm so glad we could meet in college so that we could put our educations towards this.

First of all, organizing ideas is hard.

Second, dude, who wouldn't make out with Cat Deeley? When the sweaty dancer was all, "I don't want to sweat on your Gucci & Prada!" and she was all "Dry cleaning! Dry cleaning!" and hugged him anyway, it killed me a little that I wasn't standing right there to join in with the love. She's a gazillion different kinds of fabulous.

As for Nigel and his homophobia/comments (and this is where organizing my ideas is hard): Okay, so, traditional parameters for what makes a dancer "good" include men that are powerful and masculine, and women that are itty bitty and feminine. But when Nigel says, "dancing like a man" he really means "dancing like a straight man" and I'm not sure how that's fair or right to a gay dancer who's trying to express himself fully, especially in a solo of his own creation.

Of course I don't really buy into ideas of gender essentialism anyway, the idea that boys are blue and like sports and meat, and girls are pink and like dresses and cupcakes. In those terms, the ideas for what constitutes a "good" dancer seem horribly outdated.

Especially in light of some of the excellent dancers that have been on the show and challenged this notion simply by being awesome. Travis has a slightly feminine energy to his contemporary style that I think makes him a better dancer. Donyelle was proof positive that girls over 90 lbs can, too, bust some quality moves. So there's that whole debate of "what are the parameters of a good dancer, and is it time for them to evolve already?" Maybe something to explore further later.

As for Nigel specifically and his comments, I find them homophobic not because he believes so strongly in this traditional view of male dancers, but because of how he chooses to express that view. To the two male ballroom partners, there was too much said about how he wasn't okay with two dudes dancing, and not enough said about the fact that, like, their lifts were sloppy. The guy with the football coach dad, Nigel made all this noise about how awesome his dad was for accepting him (he deserves a medal for not disowning his gay dancer son?), and didn't spend nearly enough time on the fact that the guy wasn't very grounded and also needed to finish his lines. The rhythmic gymnastics guy was a disaster not because the dude's dancing was feminine but because it was just bad. Nigel, however, chooses to critique these dancers not only on their dancing but on their sexuality as well. He may think that his opinions are rooted in traditional views of what constitutes good dancing, but mostly when he opens his mouth on this topic he just sounds like an unenlightened dick.

In conclusion, I can't wait to see the Denver red-head. Hopefully she gets more air time in Vegas. :)

Christopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher said...

Hey! Some of our educations were actually -designed- to do this. :D

Anyway, to your points:

1) My love for Cat Deely knows no bounds.

2)"Traditional parameters for what makes a dancer "good" include men that are powerful and masculine, and women that are itty bitty and feminine."

Fair enough, although for my tastes, you forgot soft, smooth, and should smell like flowers and/or fruit. :) Of course, those are my parameters for women in general, so no need to put too fine a point on it.

To be fair, by the way, boys also
like cupcakes. :)

You raise a good point about the parameters of what makes a "good" dancer in contemporary society. However, if I'm being 100% honest, I was never the biggest fan of Travis. Then again, I'm almost never a fan of contemp dancers. There's probably more than a little ethnic socialization at work there - I think, by and large, contemp dancing is stupid and consists mostly of flailing your limbs around and flopping on the floor in an attempt to convey "emotion." I'd much rather watch Twitch than Travis, or Hok than Danny. You have to be someone of not only superior dance caliber but someone who has a little something extra - Katee, for example - to catch my attention as a contemp dancer. Maybe that's another something for a further discussion later on down the road of what makes a "good" dancer.

Bottom line: Nigel probably -is- totally homophobic, but much more along the lines of his commentary about the gay dude's football dad (Seriously, am I the only one who, during that part, was thinking, "I love my dead gay son!"?) than along the lines of his commentary about masculinity of movement.

(Reposted for stupid spelling errors.)

Anonymous said...

Hey Dinah! Love the blog! Thanks for ignoring the stupid nonsense and talking about the jidges! Tasty Oreo was pretty bitchy but I too get really impatient with the non-dancer tryouts so I was kind of glad he wasn't spending alot of time saying "good for you to enjoy dancing Socially!"
I loved the too young dancer! He was so good and so cute - I was actually thinking things like, "he uses the floor so well" and stuff.
About this 'masculine' dancing thing, check out a highlight reel Joel posted on his facebook page. With Ballet of the Dolls, he's done some fantastic pieces that are strong, physical and masculine while simultaneously feminine or gender challenging and sinewy, almost convincing you he's a 90 pound girl flinging herself around the stage to celine dione. Only so much better. That's some real dancing.
Shoo be doo be doo be dance!