Dallas — At the end of this week, I opened my email to find a casting call for a new show looking for female dancers. Well, needlessly to say, the subject line caught my attention. I thought “it doesn’t hurt to look into this; I’m a dancer, and last time I checked, I’m a female, so maybe, just maybe, I might qualify for this.” And since it’s summer, I’m always looking for things to fill my time. I mean, okay, I have lots that I should be doing, and naming them would be boring for you, but being 30 and knowing that the “end is near” for my “dancing career,” any little thing is worth learning more about.
This was the call. All wording is from the casting notice itself:
Casting Single Females (21+) with dance experience (professional or amateur) for a Prime Time Dance Competition Show on a Major Television Network.
Do you have something to prove to yourself? To the world? Are you ready to show off your dance skills? Or maybe, you just wanna find a fantastic dance partner (wink wink :)
Hold on. “Or maybe, you just wanna find a fantastic dance partner (wink wink :)”
First of all, I’ll forget the numerous grammatical faux pas and focus instead on the fact that this “casting notice” is not for a dancer, but for someone looking to get lucky. When did dance become The Bachelorette? I know that show isn’t doing very well right now, but creating a new version that makes speed dating so much more fun because now you get to dance with your date, isn’t going to help the cause. Reading the notice, I realized that we could be ushering in the newest chapter in dance entertainment: Dance Dating!
Whatever happened to the good old-fashioned dance competition shows that illustrated the determination, technique, tenacity, and motivation of America’s most talented dancers? Oh right, they became commercialized commodities of themselves. Dance on television has been used in all manner of ways throughout the decades, and it seems to be growing a little desperate in 2015.
Even the long-standing favorite So You Think You Can Dance? is struggling for viewership and implementing a new model this season—the finalists will be separated into teams: stage dancers versus street dancers! On Team Stage will be the top 10 dancers in ballet, ballroom, contemporary, and tap; on Team Street will be the top 10 dancers in salsa, street, tango, and all kinds of hip-hop. I’m not sure how they came up with these categories, as salsa and tango would technically fall under the category of Latin Dance, which is actually a form of ballroom, and would, therefore, theoretically be on “Team Stage”; but perhaps they are trying to attract a new viewer who salsa dances at the club? Hip-hop could also be considered a “stage dance” with more and more contemporary and modern dance companies implementing hip-hop choreography into their productions, and the success of the Broadway musical In the Heights—which also includes Latin dance—and most recently here in Dallas, the inclusion of Lil’ Buck and jookin’ at TITAS’ Command Performance. How can you determine what is “stage dance” and what is “street dance” anymore? The categories are too ambiguous to be used to segregate dancers in this manner.
That’s the bottom line: this reality show that has been so beloved is creating a division in the genre it’s been trying to promote. Why pit these two so-called opposing styles of dance against each other? Why not keep integrating them and exposing dancers to a variety of styles? Do ratings speak that highly? Is this where televised dance is heading?
The question is rhetorical, because we all know that they do. So that’s why when I got this casting call for this new dance/dating show, I wasn’t really that surprised. It actually makes a lot of sense.
“A brand new competition show that is promised to be the hottest thing of the season! At the end of every week, our cast of singles will perform in front of our experts, following which, one couple will be eliminated.”
They are on to something here, combining the three things America loves to watch: dating shows, dance shows, and a competition. It’s bound to be somewhat of hit—though probably won’t get picked for a second season because unless you can find the sweet secret of connecting to an audience à la The Hills, forget it.
However, in case you are interested, you better contact them fast because “casting will stop as soon as we find our cast, so time is definitely of the essence. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Email us ASAP!!!” You know they are serious because they used all caps and three exclamation points. For “priority consideration,” email them at firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
- Phone number and email
- Recent picture
- Have you ever done reality or game shows? Which? When?
- Dance background
- What sets you apart from the rest?
See how easy that is?
» Danielle Georgiou is a dance educator, critic and writer. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of DGDG (Danielle Georgiou Dance Group) and is a working dancer and performance artist. Her column Sixth Position appears the last Sunday of the month on TheaterJones.com.
Previous columns are:
- February 2014: Cash Choreography
- March 2014: Make the Fringe Your Future
- April 2014: Don't Freak Out, It's Just an Audition
- May 2014: You Love Dance. You're Not Alone
- June 2014: Persevering Through Movement
- July 2014: Sharing in Success
- August 2014: To the Barre
- September 2014: Method Act
- October 2014: Fear of Flying
- December 2014: The Editor Dance
- January 2015: Community Relations
- February 2015: The Fabric of Movement
- March 2015: State of the Dance
- April 2015: The Dance Mom Complex