At first, the idea of Canadian versions of popular reality shows sounded pretty terrible, but Canuck versions of Project Runway and Top Model have been more entertaining than they had any right to be. Next up is So You Think You Can Dance Canada, premiering September 11 on CTV. Granted, we were initially anxious over Leah Miller as host and the new ads look pretty cheesy, but with Tré Armstrong of How She Move and dance legend Rex Harrington onboard as judges, it’ll be hard not to tune in—especially on the recommendation of Televisualist!
Hopefully, Dance won’t be a carbon copy of the original, which, while entertaining, hasn’t evolved much since its first season. Here are some changes that would make the Canadian version distinct (and better).
Switch Up The Partnering
The original has increased the styles of dancing over the years, but the partnering has remained the same: boy meets girl. Male-female pairs are common in Latin dances, but styles like hip-hop, Bollywood, and contemporary become richer when the pairings aren’t restricted to mixed pairings. Having two males or two females dancing together would allow for new moves and the visual diversity would make the Canadian Dance more interesting than the original.
Mix Up The Numbers
A highlight of the Dance seasons is the group routine, in part because it breaks the monotony of watching just male-female duos. Why not bring more of a group element to the show? Dancers could compete in small groups of three, four, or five for some of the weeks to bring some variety. Imagine watching more contemporary routines with three male dancers like the one performed by members of the Alvin Ailey troupe or a cheeky Bollywood routine with two couples. With instant replay and sharp critique by the judges, the viewer would still be involved, able to see and understand the performance by each dancer, and vote accordingly.
Kill the Anti-Gay Vibe
On the American Dance, judge and exec producer Nigel Lythgoe has made increasingly queasy jabs at male dancers (he says there’s no room for effeminate male dancers) and spewed crap, like saying a dancer looked as if “someone’s taken a broomstick and shoved it up where the sun don’t shine.” Not surprisingly, Lythgoe was also a former producer of American Idol where host Ryan Seacrest and judge Simon Cowell use schoolyard-level insults of you’re gayer. (On either show, you’ll rarely hear a peep or whisper about any contestant being out.) Hopefully, if we can infer from how inclusive Canadian Idol is and the presence at Pride, there shouldn’t be any doubt that, on this point, the Canadian Dance will make us proud.