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You can tell Nigel Lythgoe loves dance. As the producer and director of shows like So You Think You Can Dance, Superstars of Dance and Pop Idol, you know the man loves everything about stage performances. What most of you probably don’t know is that Lythgoe used to dance back in the Eighties.
It then comes as no surprise that he is bringing us another dance show, A Chance to Dance. Unlike the other shows, this one comes with a twist. It starts with Lythgoe giving dancers Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, who are from BalletBoyz (a film and video production, dance choreography and theatre production company), the task of searching the US for talented dancers to employ in a dance company.
Dance companies are big in the performing arts and forming one from scratch takes a lot of talent and effort. This is what Lythgoe has learnt over the years and where the idea for the TV show comes from.
So as we do with his other shows, we’ll travel the US to see all the hopefuls shake their tail feathers in the hopes of impressing Nunn and Trevitt. As usual many hearts will be broken as only a few will make it through. In the end we will be left with a tight group of happy feet specialists who will, hopefully, be involved in great stage productions and hot music videos.
Okay, that’s all good and well, but haven’t we had enough dance shows from Lythgoe? Granted, he’s a genius, but like fellow content creator, Mark Burnett, Lythgoe is really stretching this one. His most successful show is undoubtedly So You Think You Can Dance which is still running. Possibly as a means to stay afloat he needs to find other off-shoots and milk the industry while he’s still on top. There is nothing wrong with that as long the show is innovative.
A Chance To Dance, from the title alone, does not scream “watch me!”. It almost feels like a test show for the dancers who did not make the cut for other dance show auditions. It can be argued that it provides employment for many, from the crew to the dancers, but it is still just another dance show.
I wouldn’t be surprised if, like Idols, the winners become nobodies after the show. It is this fact that makes so-called talent shows less and less popular because viewers are not as timid as the TV gurus would like to think. There has to be a way to spice up new TV ideas, then audiences will tune in.
That’s the creative director’s job, but as it looks like A Chance To Dance could be just another cash-cow that milks the struggling and spits them out once the cameras stop rolling.
• A Chance to Dance, Wednesday, 9.30pm, Vuzu (DStv channel 116).