It’s that time of year again. For dancers and dance enthusiasts everywhere, the end of May marks the beginning of another season of the cultural phenomenon that is So You Think You Can Dance. Cat Deeley is back with her awkward British accent and even more awkward fashion choices. Nigel Lythgoe comments on how the talent just keeps getting better and better, over and over again. Mary Murphy screams and adds more passengers to her hot tamale train. Adam Shankman is amusingly peppy and Mia Michaels, bless her soul, is spouting wordy and elegant nothings. But most importantly, America’s best dancers are given the chance to dance for an audience of millions and those of us at home get to gawk at their surreal switch leaps and endless pirouettes.
This season premiere has already stared off by clutching at my heart strings, and holding on so tight that I remember exactly why I can’t live without dance. There is something so particular about the creation of dance because, unlike most other arts, nothing exists but the artist in their own realm. Writers have their characters and their plot lines, musicians their instruments, painters their canvas, photographers their subject, sculptors their molding medium, even actors have their scripts and props. But dancers have themselves and their body; that is their one sole instrument. For this reason, the act of creation through dance is something entirely different than creation by any other means. There is an absolute and unbreakable attachment between artist and the art work. Twyla Tharp once said that art is the only way to run away without leaving home. Dance is the only way to run away without even leaving one’s own body. And for me, watching dance, is yet another kind of escape. It’s like this communal escape and having SYTYCD is a sort of validation for how incredible and powerful dance is.
Here’s a clip of one of my favorite dances, choreographed by the genius Travis Wall. I’m so excited to see what becomes of this season!