Dancers are spinning around the TV dial
You can hardly change the channels these days without coming across a pasa doble, a pirouette or a pop, and this summer, the prime-time dance floor is getting even more crowded.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Dance on TV'Dance Moms': 9 p.m. Tuesdays on Lifetime
'Breaking Pointe': 8 p.m. Thursdays on the CW
'So You Think You Can Dance': 8 p.m. Wednesdays on Fox
'Randy Jackson Presents: America's Best Dance Crew': 10 p.m. Wednesdays on MTV
'Bunheads': 9 p.m. Mondays on ABC Family
'All the Right Moves': beginning July 31 on Oxygen
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Tonight in Prime Time
You can hardly change the channels these days without coming across a pasa doble, a pirouette or a pop.
All styles of dance are celebrated in Fox's summer sensation "So You Think You Can Dance," which earlier this month averaged 7 million viewers and beat every other show of the night. A month earlier, more than 16 million people tuned in for the finale of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," in which celebrities learned ballroom dance (and suggested we could, too).
Little girls leap and spin (while their mothers squabble and their teacher shouts) in Lifetime's reality hit "Dance Moms," which just began its third season. (A spinoff, "Dance Moms: Miami," completed its initial run earlier this month.) On MTV, "American Idol" judge Randy Jackson is in his seventh season of searching for "America's Best Dance Crew."
The audience for these shows includes millions of armchair dancers, but also interested professionals. For instance, Jonathan Porretta, a principal dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet, watches some of the reality-dance shows.
"I find the children and young dancers on the shows to be truly inspiring!" he wrote in a recent email interview. "Hearing how hard some of their lives have been and finding freedom and finding themselves in their love of dance is heartening."
Meanwhile, the prime-time dance floor is getting even more crowded.
New this summer is the CW network's "Breaking Pointe," an unscripted series that goes behind the scenes of Ballet West, a ballet company in Salt Lake City. In July, Oxygen will launch "All the Right Moves," which follows choreographer Travis Wall and three of his friends as they attempt to start a contemporary-dance company in Los Angeles.
And on ABC Family, "Gilmore Girls" creator Amy Sherman-Palladino returned to television with "Bunheads," which follows a former ballerina turned Vegas showgirl (played by Broadway star Sutton Foster) as she moves to a small town and joins her new mother-in-law in running a dance studio.
PNB's Porretta especially loves "So You Think You Can Dance," but warns that viewers should take the reality shows with a grain of salt. Sometimes they amp up the Hollywood drama for "added pizazz," he notes.
"We never had a dancer 'pyramid' or 'list' in my dance school when I was growing up, but it makes for some good TV," he says.
Overall, he thinks the tube's current obsession with dance is a good thing.
"To bring dance into so many people's homes whom maybe would never make it to the ballet or theater is absolutely wonderful.
"I would have loved to have had 'So You Think You Can Dance' around when I was growing up."
Seattle Times staff contributed to this report.