Subject Material

Dance Craze

Published: 02.02.2011, Updated: 03.03.2017
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Pre-reading:

  1. Why have dance series become such a media hit? Do you like to watch them yourself?
  2. What are you favorite programs, and how many of them are in English?
  3. Why do you think English dominates the entertainment world?

The New Craze

Dance CrazeDance Craze
Fotograf: Maja Suslin
 

Dance Craze 

Strictly Come Dancing which originated in the United Kingdom in 2004 is into its 7th series on BBC HD (High Definition Channel). It has become a commercial franchise owned by the BBC and has been viewed worldwide. The reality series called Dancing with the Stars now in its 10th season in the USA is based on the original format of Strictly Come Dancing and has been licensed to 30 countries worldwide ranging anywhere from  Australia, the USA, Albania to the Ukraine.  This is a program where international celebrities from TV, films, sports etc. are paired with professional dancers and challenged to compete against each other in front of a panel. These are unlike the World Champions – Professional Ballroom or dance-sport competitions where young adults practice almost daily to achieve perfection for months or years. The so called “stars” are given only a few weeks to practice routines together with their professional dance partners. TV viewers are also asked to cast their votes either by calling in or through the Internet. The couple who score the lowest are eliminated each week until eventually the competition is between two couples who vie for the championship.

One of the biggest national dance competitions to be broadcasted on UK TV channel’s Sky 1 HD this January 2010 is the reality series Got to Dance. It is said to be the first dance series which has no age or genre restrictions. Here dance troupes and solo dancers of all ages and dance styles vie for the £100, 000 cash prize. Viewers vote only in the semi-finals and finals. 
Street dancerStreet dancer

The TV dance program called So You Think You Can Dance broadcasted on FOX TV in the  US allows unknown street dancers to semi-professionals to compete in different categories: Street Dancing, Modern Contemporary, Ballroom, Latino and Ballet. What is interesting in this category is that Hip Hoppers and Break Dancers who have only dedicated themselves to street dancing are also asked to compete in other categories as well. Through rigorous auditions held in all the major cities of the USA, thousands of dancers first compete before judges until there are only 20 couples left. During the course of the season, dancers are judged in pairs, but with different partners than those they started out with. They also dance solo. By the end of the season there are 10 couples left where everyone dances with everybody for the $100,000 prize. The popularity of the show has not yet dwindled even in its 7th season.

A further development within dance that features street dance is the American competitive dance reality series on TV called America’s Best Dance Crew, also known as ABCD. It is produced by American Idol judge, Randy Jackson. The show is hosted by actor and celebrity Mario Lopez and is in its 6th season airing on MTV. The network sets up grueling auditions all over the USA for the best dance crews. Those crews who make it are given a special challenge or theme each week that may include different beats, costumes and stage props. The challenge concept enables the crews to show off not only their astonishing choreography but their creativity, team spirit and emotions. The cash prize is set to $100,000. Eliminations are carried out by viewers who vote on their favorite crews via texts messaging, phoning and online. DanceCrew.MTV is an entire website devoted to this series where fans can watch full length episodes or write blogs.

Further reading: Keep Dancing - Stay Fit  

Comprehension

  1. What dance crazes were popular in the 70’s and 90’s?
  2. From what countries did these dance crazes first originate?
  3. Describe the modern dance programs mentioned in the text. What makes each one unique?
  4. How do these dance programs differ from World and European Championships?

 

Discussion

  • Dance is the new global language. How?
  • Do dance competitons make more people dance?
  • Reality series brings out the worst in people.
  • Dance and sports are equally challenging.
  • There is too much viewing time given to sports on TV.
  • Why do you think there is so much media focus on celebrities? .

 

Creative Writing

Choose ONE of the following:

  1. You are a dancer/group of dancers who has/ have decided to audition for So You Think You Can Dance. Write a diary entry describing your feelings the night before the audition.
  2. You are a dancer/group of dancers who has/have failed the audition for So You Think You Can Dance. Write a diary entry describing your feelings.
  3. Go online to to DanceCrew.MTV. Watch the dancers from one of the given episodes and write a blog entry.
  4. You are a judge in one of the dance programs, write a list of adjectives describing the best dancers or the worst dancers.
  5. Write a critique of one of your favorite TV programs. Start by giving a short scenario of the program or series. What type of characters are involved? Point out the positive and negatives sides of the program/series. Explain why you would recommend the program/series to others.
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