Think of Dance School….As a School

Dancemother

I’ve spent alot of time in the dance school office these past two months.  September was back to class month and the questions were mostly about dress code, and class schedules…the easy stuff.   As October hit, so did all the complaints “we missed a class, do we get credit for it?”; “why didn’t anyone tell us that there would be a substitute teacher today, we wouldn’t have come?” I can’say it was a majority of parents, it was a very small minority to be honest.  I admired the calm way the Director and teachers responded and marveled at the type of questions that were coming in.  I wondered if other schools tempered the same queries. According to this well written article, it seems they do.  Read this article on Why all those rules.

Bringing Dance to the Mainstream

In the past few years, mainstream television seems to have made a concerted effort to bring all genres of dance to television. Both So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) and Dancing with the Stars premiered to US audiences in 2005.  While both shows present in the same format (dancers performing before judges, and relying on the votes of the television audience), their mainstream audience tends to be different.  Dancing with the Stars relies on the draw of the celebrities featured and started out with choreography that was mostly ballroom; while SYTYCD has always featured everything from Modern to Broadway jazz to hip hop to Crunk to Bollywood.  In this season of SYTYCD there are 2 ballerinas and a couple of tap dancers competing for the top spot.  No matter what your genre of dance, SYTYCD dancers are challenged with choreography outside of their comfort zone.  In 2008, America’s Best Dance Crew came on the scene featuring mostly Hip Hop dance crews competing for a title.

Along came Dance Moms in 2011.  With the popularity of these competition type shows, it’s no wonder that other derivatives such as Abby Ultimate Dance Competition  has gained such popularity, dancers are eager to see themselves in media, and Dance Moms claims to show another side of the dance world, the younger dancer and their stage moms.  I personally stopped watching Dance Moms after the first season, while I certainly felt the girls had talent, all the “reality” that went on with that show was enough to make me never want to be referred to as a Dance Mom again.

Most recently, the trend has been to see dancers in other roles on TV. The short lived TV shows Breaking Pointe which went behind the scenes of Ballet West and Bunheads about a Vegas Show Girl turned ballet teacher, shows that Hollywood has recognized that there is definitely an audience for dance outside of the theaters and dance schools.  Major brands have also recognized the power of the dance community and as such have chosen Misty Copeland’s to be one of the faces for Under Armor, a brand that is most closely associated with the Sports world, and Jasmine Harper from Season 10 of SYTYCD is one of the faces for Degree deodorant.  Dance has surely arrived.

And not to be left out of the trend, performers are embracing dance genres into their videos. Take a look that this very fun video for Taylor Swift’s newest song “Shake It Off”.  There is all kinds of dancing  going on here, and oh Taylor might just need a few more a ballet lessons….I’m just sayin… Shake It Off Video