Saturday, January 3, 2009
Superstars of Dance co-host, Michael Flatley, says that this new dance competition show is a celebration of dance and he doesn’t think there’s a style or a country out there that couldn’t participate in it. Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, who also produces Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance, agrees and he told reporters this week, “There has never been a show like this anytime, anywhere in the world, ever.”
Superstars of Dance , premieres on NBC January 4 at 9 PM ET, and is built on professional dancers from eight nations competing in front of a panel of world-class judges. Grouped together as teams, duets and soloists, the dancers will perform the styles of their country, including ballet, hip-hop, ballroom and much more.
Some of the performances audiences can expect are the Shaolin Monks from China working with real swords, a South African troupe that wears gum boots and performs a slapping/bashing routine, a tap dancer from America, and a ballerina who actually spins while on top of her partner’s head.
The show is not like, So You Think You Can Dance, as it is not a live performance and doesn’t rely on viewers votes.
Michael Flatley explained the reasoning behind the lack of viewer participation, “These are professional dancers; it would be very difficult for someone at home in their living room to pass judgment on the prima ballerina from Russia,” he said. “It’s very difficult to see how she might have done her pirouette or how she may have stood en pointe properly. It takes a specialist.”
Even with professional judges critiquing the performances, the particpants had difficulty listening to harsh comments.
“They’ve come here to show how brilliant they are and represent their country,” Nigel Lythgoe said. “They do not want to be told that they didn’t do it well!”
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Starting Sunday, January 4, at 9 pm/ET, NBC's Superstars of Dance — exec-produced by So You Think You Can Dance boss Nigel Lythgoe and hosted by Michael "Lord of the Dance" Flatley and Susie Castillo — will pit stellar shufflers from eight countries against each other in a competition described as "equal parts sporting event, rock concert and artistic exhibition."
In addition to fielding two soloists, a duo and one group, each country will furnish a coach and a judge to serve on a multinational panel. Here's a first look at who's representing for each team.
Coach: Sandar, a Tony-nominated choreographer and principal dancer in the original cast of Forever Tango.
Judge: Maria Pogee, from the world-famous school of the Theater Colon.
Performing for Argentina: A sensual cabaret artiste soloist, a contemporary Tango soloist, an Argentinian Tango duo and a group performing Gaucho style dance.
Coach: Jason Gilkison, an international ballroom champion.
Judge: Kelley Abbey, who has choreographed for Savion Glover and 1,000 animated penguins in the movie Happy Feet.
Performing for Australia: A tap dance soloist, a contemporary dancer soloist, a Latin ballroom duo and a contemporary dance group.
Coach: Matthew Ahmet of Britain, a Shaolin Monk.
Judge: Master Haiyang Wang, the natural to become the next Abbott of the Shaolin Temple.
Performing for China: A Chinese ribbon dancer soloist, a double whip soloist, an acrobatic ballet duo and the Shaolin Monks Kung Fu group.
Coach: Marie Duffy Pask, who currently serves as dance director and associate choreographer for Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames.
Judge: Daire Nolan, aka "Dark Lord" in Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance.
Performing for Ireland: Irish Step Dancers assembled from different groups currently performing all over the globe.
Coach: Nakul Dev Mahajan, the founder of the premiere Bollywood dance company in the United States.
Judge: Shirish Dayal, a producer, director and choreographer of stage shows for 15 years.
Performing for India: A Bharantanyam dancer soloist, a Kathak soloist, a Bollywood duo and a group performing the Bhangra style of dance.
Coach: Stanislav Issaev, a principle dancer for many years with the Moscow Ballet Theater.
Judge: Mikhail Smirnov, the director and founder of Barynya, a successful Russian folk dancing company.
Performing for Russia: A soloist from the world famous Bolshoi Ballet, a contemporary dancer soloist from the Bolshoi Ballet, a ballroom duo and a group performing Cossak.
Coach: Tandi Bhengu, the founder of a program and dance troupe called SAGA (South African Girls Abroad).
Judge: Harold Van Buuren, a winner of numerous titles as a ballroom and Latin American championship dancer.
Performing for South Africa: A hip-hop soloist, an Afrofusion soloist, a world champion jive-inspired dance duo and a group performing Gumboot, a style born in the gold mines of South Africa.
Coach: Marguerite Derricks, an Emmy-winning choreographer who has choreographed all of the Austin Powers movies and is currently working on the remake of Fame.
Judge: Tony Selznick, a founder of McDonald Selznick & Associates, where he represents the biggest names in American dance.
Performing for the USA: A popping soloist, a tap dancer, a cabaret-style ballroom duo and a hip-hop group.
What's your take? It's yet another dance show, sure, but is it different enough to strike your fancy? Do you like the idea of sampling a variety of dance styles?