Worth it for the possibility of dancing on TV, working with great choreographers, and maybe a place on the "hot-tamale train" to stardom.
That is judge
By lunchtime the second day, the train had not left the station, but the judges had seen some impressive dancers, including a
First in line that morning was 8-year-old
A self-trained hip-hop dancer, Ronald is far younger than the show's 18-30 age requirement, but he begged and mom caved. After urging her to take him home, producers relented and said he could perform for the judges.
"We were all aware he wouldn't make it past the first round," McCluskey said. (Identities of those who did progress are hush-hush.)
A number of
"We are quickly learning the name of the school," Lythgoe said of UArts. "They're doing a very big job for us," providing a steady stream of polished dancers. Executive producer
In the last decade, dance on TV has become popular, sometimes wildly so. Dancing With the Stars launched in 2004 and is one of
Other shows have come and gone. Bunheads, a dramedy starring
Lythgoe, a former tap dancer, was working on American Idol, when he was picked to create a dance version of that show. "I thought it would never work," he said. Still, he spent months forming a plan and is now an executive producer for both Idol and SYTYCD.
"We based this show around the premise of A Chorus Line," fellow executive producer Thacker said. "And I think we've stayed true to that initial concept." Indeed, just like the long-running musical, over the course of SYTYCD audiences get to know each dancer as a person as well as a performer, and fall in love.
"We're looking for stars, people that sparkle, make an instant impression every week, not divas," Thacker said. That's why a good dancer might not make it, while a quiet one can still shine through.
"I fought for
Lythgoe stressed that je ne sais quoi over and over in the auditions. "I wish there was a drink called Charisma that you could just take and come alive on stage," he told a proficient but less-than-magnetic dancer. "All you need to do is add that extra layer of performance."
As popular as dance is on TV, professional dance companies are not always feeling the same love.
"I think it probably does create more chatter, more buzz, more interest in the general public," said
Dance schools may be reaping more benefits than companies, Welk speculated: "Certainly the young dancers who are competing are getting a boost in their careers." Past SYTYCD winners have been awarded as much as
SYTYCD's 11th season does not yet have an airdate, but the dancers at the Merriam were excited.
"I am 100 percent confident that I will make it," says Carlos "CJ" Fuentes Jr., 22, who teaches dance in
"This is the biggest audition I've ever done," Reed said, noting that she wanted to work with the show's choreographers and "boost my dance career."
She felt confident. Before UArts, she studied at Cavanaugh's tiny dance school in
Just like Dance Moms?
"It's actually very much like Dance Moms," Cavanaugh said.
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