One of my favorite parts of the summer is watching So You Think You Can Dance. Unlike other reality TV contests, the contestants are genuinely talented and have put in tons of hard work to get there. Just one episode is entertaining, powerful, and sexy. How could TV get any better?
For the last few seasons, we Irish dancers have heard of people within our style who have auditioned for the show (like Ashley Smith, who made it to Vegas). They were not shown on TV, probably because Irish dance is not one of the mainstream styles that is generally showcased. This is the first time an Irish dancer was showcased since...ever I think.
I think what helped Mary Kate here is:
- Her technique. Beautiful turn out and cross.
- Her use of other styles. Yeah, it was just a switch leap thrown in, but it deceptively made it look as if she has been trained at least a bit in other styles.
I understand where the producers are coming from, that Irish dance is a folk dance, not something that is generally mainstream. I will argue that point here. People don't necessarily know what 'Irish dancing' is...until you mention Riverdance. Call it Riverdancing and the general populace automatically recognizes the type of dancing, despite how much it makes us dancers cringe. They know it's that style where you hold your top half rigid and make your legs go crazy. Some ask if it's clogging (what is that?), and some people still are lost.
The show has branched out from its ballroom/contemporary/hip hop box, doing Bollywood numbers to great effect. They have also done traditional Russian dances, and even a classical pas de deux when there was a classically trained ballerina on the show in season 5. This season, someone mentioned that there are four (ish?) tap dancers on the show, so there may be tap numbers. So why not a two hand reel or a Riverdance-esque duet? Maybe teach the top 8 Three Tunes, or even a figure choreography?
After I finally got to watch the show, my family was of two minds. One of my sisters thinks I should just go for it and audition for the show, throw some leaps and aerials into my routine, and we're good. She seems to think that my gymnastics training has to count for something in the "other styles of dance" department, although, she also thinks that like Mary Kate, I will be cut in the hip hop round once I make it to Vegas. There's a reason why I Irish dance: I am the whitest white girl around... My other sister thinks that I won't even make it out of the general auditions. Auditioning for the show has been in this little spot on my mind ever since I started Irish dancing, so we will see what happens.
Goals: Practice everyday for the feis Sunday