You take every salsa class you can, go dancing as often as possible, have replaced your top 40 tunes with a collection of Latin rhythms that would make Eddie Torres proud and you still haven’t had your fill of dancing? Sounds like you are ready to move into the television dance show stage of your salsa dancing addiction!
Two of the hottest shows on television right now are reality-based dance shows. The first is the FOX series “So You Think You Can Dance”, a 12 week competition to find the best dancer in the United States. This series is similar in format to the sister FOX series “America Idol”, except it replaces singing with the most amazing, jaw dropping dancing on television.
So You Think You Can Dance holds several auditions across the major cities of the US, looking for the top dancers in each city. All types of dance backgrounds are encouraged to audition. Salsa, ballroom, hip hop, street dancing, contemporary, jazz, ballet and many other types of dancers can be seen auditioning for a chance to win a new Hybrid SUV, $100,000 in cash and a dancing role in Celine Dion’s Las Vegas show.
Top dancers are then put through grueling rehearsals and auditions and slowly narrowed down to a top 20 list of 10 men and 10 women. These contestants are then paired up and must randomly pick a partnered dance. Oftentimes this is not a style that they are familiar with and the dancers must learn the style from scratch. Couples will them perform the routine(s) and America votes for their favourite couple. The bottom couples must then do a solo performance of their choice to win over the judges’ votes so that they do not get eliminated. This continues weekly with one male and one female eliminated weekly.
The summer season’s contestants were more talented then ever. The top 4 finalists included Benji Schwimmer, Heidi Groskreutz, Donyelle Jones and Travis Wall. Each dancer has a different dance background but by the end of the season it is difficult to remember what their original specialty dance was as they have come such a long way and can pull off every type and style of dance.
Benji Schwimmer was announced as the winner of the summer season’s competition. He is the son of the “King of Swing” dancing Buddy Schwimmer and, like his father, has won three US Open Swing Dancing Competitions. You can watch his mega-fast high energy salsa performance with his cousin Heidi who was also made it into the top 4 on YouTube.
Even though the show is not solely based on Salsa or Mambo, there is enough partner work and solo work to keep any salsa enthusiast satisfied!
For the ballroom and Latin dancing enthusiasts, ABC’s hit reality show “Dancing with the Stars” is a great option. Professional ballroom/Latin dancers are coupled with stars of all types from television hosts to country singers to football players for a chance to win the title. Each week the professional dancer and his/her celebrity partner will perform a live choreographed routine in any of the following categories: Cha Cha, Foxtrot, Jive, Paso Doble, Quickstep, Rumba, Samba, Tango, Viennese Waltz, and the Waltz. The three chosen judges will give them a rating of 1 to 10. The viewing public will also have a chance to vote for their favourite couple. The final scores are then recorded and the lowest rated couple will be eliminated. This will continue weekly until the final couple remain.
This season the dancing celebrities include:
- Emmitt Smith – Running back
- Harry Hamlin – Actor
- Jerry Springer- Talk Show Host
- Joey Lawrence – Actor
- Mario Lopez – Actor/Talk Show Host
- Monique Coleman – Actress
- Sara Evans – Singer
- Shanna Moakler – Model/Former Miss USA
- Tucker Carlson – Political analyst
- Vivica A. Fox – Actress
- Willa Ford – Singer
While there is no salsa or mambo in this show, there are so many elements of each type of dance used that is significant and useful to a salsa dancer. For example, check out this YouTube video of Mario Lopez dancing the Samba with his partner Karina. There are many body movements and styling points that salsa dancers can utilize in their own dancing.
For the complete Average Joe and Jane dance makeovers, TLC’s Ballroom Bootcamp is the solution. Participants with no prior dance experience are transformed into ballroom dancers in 5 short but intensive weeks.
The rigorous 5 week training program and competition will encompass five different dance styles including the Cha Cha, Jive, Tango, Waltz and Rhumba. Participants will be paired off with one of three professional dancers to learn and perform these dances and the judges will make a final decision on who is the grand winner. The style of this series is less showy and looks at the reality of taking on dancing as a top priority and how this can wreak havoc on the other areas of the participants’ lives.
Whatever your dance-addicted self desires, these shows are aimed to please. For more information, check out the official websites below: