July 27, 2007

So You Think You Can Dance Backstage Report

Folks, I love the show So You Think You Can Dance. However I was offended by the anti-war message that was shoved down my throat by choreographer Wade Robson on Wednesday night. Excerpted from Tv Guide:

Emmy-nominated choreographer Mia Michaels thought she was going to have a wonderful day. She woke up this morning to find hundreds of messages posted on her website. "And I thought, wow, I must've been a really good judge last night," says Michaels.

But then she opened the messages and was shocked by their tone and content. "It was hate mail," she says simply. "Saying things like, 'You should be ashamed of yourself.' It was really intense. It was awful."

The writers were responding to a jacket worn by Michaels on Wednesday's show. She had no idea that anyone would be offended by it, she says. She simply thought she was being fashionable by wearing a navy blue military jacket that happened to have a Marine emblem, upside down, on the sleeves. After hearing the feedback, Michaels tried to make amends on the air. "I understand why people were upset and I respect that," she says. "That symbol is sacred to the Marines, it's what they earned. The problem needed to be addressed and I'm glad we addressed it. That's why I made a public apology."

But the problem didn't stop with her. Adding to the perfect storm of controversy on Wednesday night's show was Dance's other Emmy-nominated choreographer, Wade Robson. He had fashioned the 10 identical solo dances around an antiwar theme. Set to the music of John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change," the dancers wore peace symbols and printed slogans. That put executive producer Nigel Lythgoe in the crosshairs of more angry feedback from those who believe that an antiwar dance means the show and its dancers are unpatriotic and do not support the troops. "Who would've dreamt — with the dancers using words like 'humility,' 'love' and 'passion' — that I would be defending a television show that uses words like that?" asks Lythgoe, who also apologized on air.

But at the same time, Lythgoe stood his ground. "Art should be allowed to make statements," he said. "I'm so proud to be part of a show that allows freedom of expression," says Michaels. "Nigel has allowed us to be who we are. He never edits us and he lets us express ourselves as artists. I think that is rare and extraordinary."
Read the complete article here.

However, Dan Karaty, the hot, sexy judge and choreographer for So You Think You Can Dance, in an exclusive conversation with Usmagazine.com, said:

“I was upset [about the Wednesday show]. My brother Thomas is a Marine. [The message] was an interesting choice,” Karaty says, adding that his feelings are echoed by his parents, who are former dancers themselves.

Karaty, who counts Robson as a close friend, believes that the primetime program was the wrong place for the choreographer to make his feelings known.

“Everybody has the right to have an opinion,” he says. “Part of the reason our troops are [fighting] is that so we can all have our own opinion. We are given the freedom to do whatever we want conceptually and choreographically, which is a great thing. The producers of the show trust us,” he says, adding that he is unaware of a production policy of clearing routines and themes prior to air.

But,” he insists, “I don’t think So You Think You Can Dance is the right form to express political opinions.”

"My family was upset over the jacket that Mia had on just because its a question of who should be wearing that kind of jacket and why....only certain people should be wearing those jackets," Karaty says.

Good for you, Dan Karaty.