Sunday, September 13, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance - 6x01 "LA Auditions"

Welcome to So You Think You Cantemporary Dance, And A Little Bit of Tap, Too!


(Apologies to Phillip Atmore.)

More, after the jump!

I think we saw a little bit of theory being applied with this first audition episode. (Not Theory, just theory on a tactical level, let's call it.) (Unless cognitive science has some voodoo theory about this.) The episode exaggerated the amount of contemporary dancers -- only one ballroom auditioner (one too many, if you ask me, ahahaha), zero hip hop (and given that so many of ABDC's crews hail from LA, the dearth of hip-hop auditions was an editorial decision, not a lack of hip-hop talent), and one... uh...


Anyway, the episode seemed to show how immersion can make otherwise unreceptive viewers evaluate something on its own terms; if the only style we're presented with is contemporary, then we're more likely to rank them all and come away with one that we believe we liked, even if we've become rather cool to the genre. (Are we being inoculated for another contemporary-fest this season? Hard to tell since SYTYCD has always been dominated by contemporary dancers.)


So while we wait for the next auditions, I might as well play along: Paula van Oppen, an auditioner shown in the season 5 Vegas callbacks choking down tears for choosing sleep over group choreography (which I'm still raw about: sleep makes you do everything better), was easily my favorite audition this episode mostly because of this immersion strategy, but also because of that nifty toe rise. Too bad we got treated to only half of her audition. Just one thing: hopefully, if she reaches the top 20, she'll get restyled. Her hair needs to trimmed down on the sides.

As the premiere opened, among the qualities needed to reach the top 20 which Cat listed was personality. Cut to this guy:


I really hope that his personality runs deeper than a pair of rainbow-colored Kanye glasses.

Cole Clemens' audition is easy to dismiss as vapid pretension, just like a lot of cultural exports from Japan like kabuki and butoh. Actually, the first thing that Cole's um "piece" reminded me of was butoh, although on further research, he didn't have the same broken-down animality. Nonetheless, his controlled micro-movements give me pause: I've gotten to the point where I can't tell affectation from substantive high art anymore.

He's from Placentia; maybe he could teach Kherington how not to be so commercial.

Two years ago, Anya's mom auditioned, and now Anya's little sister.


For season 7, I expect Anya's puppy to give SYTYCD a whirl.

New audition strategy!


Reproduce a well-received, tamale-inducing routine from the show, all the way down to the dress Kayla was wearing.


Auditioner 15022, you are beautiful.

The latest issue of EW (2009-9-18) says that season 6 will have an episode to showcase the top 20 in their own styles before the actual voting begins. It's been a long time coming, and honestly, should be a no-brainer. As I've said before, if you don't show concrete footage of the dancers auditioning, the top 20 becomes more and more nebulous and this nebulousness devalues the series' brand name.

Just five more weeks of auditions, which at first sounds like audition bloat but when you recall that SYTYCD used to show three two-hour episodes, it's actually the same amount, but just stretched out over two months. Next week is Arizona, which looks hot (GEDDIT?).

Indie rating: The Postal Service – "Such Great Heights"

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