In the last 2 months or so, we’ve had quite a bit of coverage on belly dancers in the media, and not just articles in newspapers, but in big TV shows like America’s Got Talent and So You Think You Can Dance? – and it’s not bad dancing!
I am always apprehensive to watch belly dancers on big TV shows like AGT and SYTYCD because I’ve seen some pretty dismal dancing and other “talents” on these shows before, and somebody that goes on the show can make or break an art form depending on their performances! For those of you not familiar with the shows, you can guess what they are about from their titles. America’s Got Talent invites anybody to showcase their talent to a panel of judges who then decide if they should go onto the next round. The final prize is a cash prize as well as a permanent Vegas show (lasting how long, I’m not sure). For So You Think You Can Dance? they do exactly the same thing – present their ‘talent’ [in this case only dancing] to a panel of judges who then decide who goes to the final rounds. I’m actually not sure what the prizes for this show are, but I know it gets a lot of publicity and whats great about this show is that the dancers say what their “specialty” is [ie. hip hop, contempory] and then that will be what they show the judges for their audition. If they get into the show, and to the top 40 for example, then the judges will choose a style and a group of dancers will be paired up randomly and taught a dance in the style chosen for them. The same happens much later, except the pairs will be taught different dances. It’s incredibly fun to watch and of course, choose favourites!
Here are two performances by belly dancers on both those shows!
So You Think You Can Dance – Amelia Levesque Demers
America’s Got Talent – Sadie and Kaya audition 1
America’s Got Talent – Sadie and Kaya Performance 2
You know that I am not Sadie and Kaya’s biggest fan… in any way. But after this performance I cut them a little slack. To the general audience, it wasn’t as misleading as some of the stuff we’ve seen from them, they were on top of their technique and it looked good. Personally, I would’ve used darker costumes because the costumes that they chose aren’t very glitzy. [to me] I have ALWAYS wondered how far belly dance superstars (and lets face it, although Kaya and Sadie aren’t part of the Superstars, you have to consider them up there) would go in a competition that is so mainstream. I was disappointed to hear that they didn’t go through to the next round – worse acts have gotten through! But it shows how much work there is to do, to bring awareness that belly dancing is a dance form and legitimate art form.
One thing I am absolutely sick to death of is the judges comments. Would the men PLEASE grow up? Read Dilara’s Diary here for her take on the topic! At least in So You Think You Can Dance, they were looking almost entirely at the dance technique because they are just doing dancing, so they have to be selective. But Howie and Piers from America’s Got Talent should grow up and just comment on the talent, and not the fact that the girls are wearing bedlahs!!
What are your thoughts on this topic?