Why singers should watch, “So You Think You Can Dance?”

so you think you can danceI’ve been watching “So you think you can dance?” this season.  In case you’ve never heard of it, this reality t.v. show celebrates trained dancers who have some professional experience, but seem to be mostly coming out of dance studios in their late teens.

This show is unique in the genre of reality shows because the finalists require quite a bit of training before they are qualified to make it onto the show.  Unlike the talent and singing shows, where contestants seem to be willing to try their luck regardless of training – “So you think you can dance” is designed especially for the trained dancer.

One of the aspects of the show I really like is the judges.  They openly state that they intend to be supportive and offer encouragement – no Simon Cowell-types here. The mission of the competition is to highlight dancing and motivate the public to experience and try this art form. Another aspect I enjoy is getting to see innovative choreography and how well the dancers handle dancing outside their usual style.

But my favorite reason for watching the show is seeing the evolution of some of the dancers from being perhaps a little less skilled, to really stretching their wings and literally flying across the stage.  In the most recent season, Amy Yakima (the overall winner of the contest) had a moment where she was pulled up from the floor by her partner and flung through the air – into his arms.  Her movement showed total abandon.  Watching her do this was inspiring to me as a performer because the goal of performing is to turn yourself completely inside out – so that what shows on the outside is a total expression of the emotion you feel on the inside – and she did this fearlessly!

Watch her move in the video:




It doesn’t really matter if you are a singer, actor, dancer, skater or gymnast – if you aspire to be a performer, watching other great artists can help you grow in your art.  Dancers who make every move count, every gesture drip with feeling and intention can help singers learn how to express their words, the very tone of their voice, to reflect the meaning or emotion of the song they are singing.

Learn from others – go see live performance, watch great art on stage, and most importantly keep your eyes and hearts open when you do.  There is magic being created out there – let’s bring it home, then turn around and give it away.