It’s been some years since dance shows came to India. What was just a hobby earlier has now become a career choice for many. Institutes have mushroomed across the country, there are online tutorials and parents encourage kids to go to dance class. Choreographer Terence Lewis said at the press conference that this was the right time for So You Think You Can Dance to come to India. Anyone who has seen any of the international versions of the show will vouch for its high standards.
So, does the Indian version live up to the expectations? The format is similar to what we have seen across the globe, the street Vs stage concept. The street version includes hip-hop, b-boying, freestyle, house, krumping, etc whereas the stage form includes all the western ballroom and classical forms. Traditional folk dances form a small genre on the show. What we liked about the show is that choreographers Terence Lewis and Bosco Martis seem sure that they want a certain amount of technical proficiency in the contestants. The former is going to be the tough task-master on the show, which is expected given his expertise. They are also clear about the fact that they want versatile performers i.e. ones who can adapt to varied forms.
Thankfully, there were no Bollywood-style dances in the first episode. And much to our relief, there was no excessive melodrama. The contestants did not weep on stage talking about the odds he or she had battled and blah blah. Yes, there were a couple of emotional moments but it was nice to see confident youngsters on the show. Talking about dance, we saw a lot of hip-hop and it’s evident that youngsters have taken to the form across the country. What was sorely lacking was variety. For a dance show of this level, we would have loved to see a bit of contemporary, jazz, Latin American dance forms, waltz and so on. Most of the contestants were solo performers. We wished there were some couple or group acts as well in the first episode, which would make it more diverse.
However, it was only hip-hop and Kathak that ruled the screen. For a show as big as So You Think You Can Dance this was a really huge let-down. Rithvik Dhanjani, regarded as one of TV’s best hosts was his usual energetic self. Making her anchoring debut, Mouni Roy looked divine in a white gown. There was a bit of banter between the two, but they had very little screen time per se. One of the USPs of the show is the presence of Madhuri Dixit Nene. Bollywood’s dancing diva who was a regular on another dance show for years is a highlight here. The lady gave a small Kathak performance on stage, which proved that when it comes to grace and expressions very few can still match her. Prakash Behera’s B-boying and Kalpita Kachroo’s Kathak were two performances that totally left us awestruck.