So, while I do have a fascination with dance shows, I can’t help but notice that a lot of them are being launched now. Usually, I’m the first one complain about another television fad that is completely out of control (i.e. reality TV in general), but in the words of one of my colleagues, “I’ve drank the Kool-Aid and it is go-ood!”
Dance on Sunset. What a marvelous and not-completely-orginal idea for a kids’ show! And, it’s sponsored by the best kids’ network on TV, Nickelodeon. From what I gathered from the press release, Dance on Sunset is a “lifestyle show” that features both competition and freestyle dance. According to Marjorie Cohn, Nickelodeon’s executive producer, “Music and dance are very important to kids right now, and we want to be everyplace they are, and we want to do it the Nickelodeon way.”
So, what exactly is the Nickelodeon way? Well, you start out with a host, Quddus Phillipe, whose rise to stardom includes a stint as a MTV Veejay. Then, you tap a young choreographer, Tony Testa, who has toured with Aaron Carter and recently choreographed for the legendary Janet Jackson, to teach the moves. Finally, grab yourself an arbitrary number of dancers (let’s say six). Put it all together, place it on a cool light-up stage with a hundred of so kids serving as an audience, and there you go.
Unfortunately, the Nickelodeon way doesn’t sound all that different from what’s been done before. You could argue that it’s the combination of trusted formulas like Kids Incorporated, The Mickey Mouse Club, American Bandstand, and Soul Train that makes it unique. But, the components are still borrowed interest, most notably from another overly commercialized, family network and franchise. Even some of the dancers of the “Nick 6” got there start with High Musical 2. Where is the authentic Nickelodeoness people have come to know and love?
I’ll tell you where. It’s the one thing that saves this show from being a total rip-off of things that have come before and saves Nick from donning mouse ears. Unlike it’s predecessors, this show actively engages its audience. Not only is it an entertainment show you can watch, it’s also a mini-workout. There’s a segment where Tony teaches a combination to the viewers at home and the audience on the show, breaking it down step by step, using simple language, so even a young child can pick it up. Viewers who are a little more advanced can go online and learn a version with more bells and whistles.
In my opinion, this is right in line with Nickelodeon’s initiative to influence kids to get healthy and active, and they are doing it superbly by tapping into a lingo kids understand and borrowing from already established pop bases. As this show progresses, I not only see children pushing the coffee table aside and getting “jiggy” with it, but entire families as well.
So, yeah it’s cheesy and a little immature for a man of my age, but I like it anyway. Rating: