Feminism on So You Think You Can Dance?

by Web Intern

Let me start out by saying that I love dance, and I love So You Think You Can Dance, but there is one problem that develops with a show that’s mostly limited to male/female duets. The choreographers tend to stick to traditional male/female roles. Their dances are usually a variation on a theme of a love story, with the woman falling into the role of being in love, hurt by love or a sex kitten. Wade Robson was the exception with his more character-driven routines, but even still his dances often emphasized a love story, albeit a twisted one.

When the show reaches the point where the top girls and top guys perform group routines separated by sex, the divide is widened even more. The choreographer for the guys always talk about celebrating their masculinity, while the girls either get a contemporary routine where they’re especially delicate and angelic, or a Broadway routine where they’re perky and cute. When the genders works together it is a perfect balance of the two aspects of dance, athleticism and art. But when they’re separated the men get the athleticism and the women get the art. Why can’t the girls show off their strength and attitude for once? Have you seen their muscles? They could kick your ass, Nigel! We’ve been seeing their amazing skills and bodies all season, yet when they get their chance to shine they’re reduced again to being sweet and simple. Look at them twirl! Look at them leap!

Enter: Sonya. Hands down her routines were among the best this season. I was so excited to have her join the team. Finally something edgy and different. And while her concepts were sometimes rooted in the usual themes, the end result never emphasized the roles. Her girls were never weak and matched the man step by step in difficulty, strength and attitude. Sometimes their movements and shapes were, gasp, even a little ugly. So last night, when it was announced she was the choreographer for the top three girls’ routine I couldn’t wait to see what she came up with. She didn’t disappoint.

The theme of the dance was the girls were superheroes and was inspired by their strength and power. While the costume department didn’t hesitate to stick them in pleather leotards, the dance hits hard. The girls kick ass and finally get to show off their athleticism like the boys. But you can see that for yourself in the video after the jump. (Or, if you’re having trouble viewing it, on this site )Thank you, Sonya, for bringing a bit of equality to the world of dance. -Celeste

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