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Dance, Dance and More Dance

Some people look forward to summer because the sun stays up longer and the days are warmer. I look forward to summer because that’s when all of the DANCE starts! Here’s a quick rundown of the three big dance shows coming this summer (with premiere dates) and a quick little intro, just in case you weren’t already clued in.

Dancing with the Stars returns tonight at 8:00 p.m. on ABC with a 4-week limited run and an all-new, All-Athlete cast. I’m going to be honest, I never thought a show about ballroom dancing celebrities would make it, but here we are thousands of seasons later. And I might be more excited about this season than any so far. Anyone who has watched a season or two knows the athletes always seem to have an advantage. From football players to Olympians, athletes have taken home nearly half of all the mirrorball trophies. Now we have four full weeks of all athletes, especially Adam Rippon. Enough said!

I’m slightly disappointed that this run has been condensed to four weeks, but if four weeks is all we get I’m here for it. These are a few of the couples I’m looking forward to watching:

Adam Rippon and Jenna Johnson: We all know Adam from his headline-grabbing trip to the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang earlier this year. Paired with SYTYCD alum and current DWTS professional Jenna Johnson, my prediction is that this is the couple to beat. Adam is an ice skater so we know he has musicality and grace mixed in with all that sass. Sure there are other ice skaters competing (Tonya Harding and Adam’s BFF Mirai Nagasu) but Adam has the fire and he has Jenna!

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Lindsay Arnold: Ok, I’m mostly just curious how this is going to work. Kareem is really tall and Lindsay isn’t. This should be an entertaining experiment.

Tonya Harding and Sasha Farber: I suppose we could call this Tonya’s comeback year after the success of I, Tonya and her award show tour last winter. It will be interesting to see how she handles the spotlight again.

Len, Carrie Ann and Bruno are back to judge and apparently there will be live voting, which always makes things unpredictable.

NBC is bringing back World of Dance on Tuesday, May 29th with Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough and Ne-Yo as judges and Jenna Dewan as host. I’ll just be honest here, I did not understand this format at all last season but have since learned that it’s actually a worldwide competition. This thing is huge and spans continents. To quote the NBC promo, “What began in 2008 as a single event is now a continent-spanning, tour de force of human spirit and sick dance moves.” WOD to me is like if SYTYCD and America’s Best Dance Crew had a baby. The format made no sense and things went really fast, but at the end of the day who cares the dancing was amazing.

The show debuted on NBC last year and was apparently the number one summer show. The format is changing slightly this year to include just four categories; Junior (17 years old and under, one to four dancers), Junior Team (17 years old and under, five to 15 dancers), Upper (18 years old and older, one to four dancers), Upper Team (18 years old and older, five to 15 dancers). I find it hard to judge a solo dancer against a team of dancers but luckily I’m not judging this one. There is no audience participation, as all the judging and voting is done by the expert panel. Each group competes in their own category until the finals where the winners from each category compete against each other for a $1,000,000 prize.

WOD runs for 16 episodes so this gives us two nights of dance every week, all summer, because… my favorite show is back!

On Monday, June 4th, So You Think You Can Dance returns for season 15 and, for me, this is when summer officially starts. Honestly, when they renew SYTYCD every year I just put away my list for Santa because I’m done. I don’t need anything else from anyone. Sure, there have been some snags here and there (team competition season and the kids, don’t get me started) and we don’t always love the judging panel (Do we love Mary? Do we not love Vanessa?) but I think we can all agree that the dancing is phenomenal.

If you haven’t seen the show, here is what you’ve been missing. Over 14 seasons, So You Think You Can Dance has been nominated for 59 Emmys, winning 15, for everything from lighting and costume design to choreography. Host Cat Deeley has been nominated a time or two for Best Reality Show Host (#robbed) and the show itself was nominated five times for Outstanding Reality Competition Program. Notable SYTYCD alum have appeared on DWTS (Lindsay Arnold, Jenna Johnson, Dmitry Chaplin, Chelsie Hightower and Allison Holker to name a few) and I’m pretty sure everyone knows Twitch. Yes, SYTYCD gave us Twitch (the guy on Ellen with all the moves). Recently season 5 winner Jeanine Mason even checked into Grey’s Anatomy with the new class of interns. Some pretty great choreographers (and choreography) have come out of this show too – namely, Travis Wall who not only competed on the show but is now one of it’s best known and most decorated choreographers.

I guess what I’m saying is, this is a great show! I’m a little biased, but if you watch it, and it gets renewed again, it would make a lot of people really happy.

I didn’t include America’s Got Talent because that’s really more of a talent show than a dance show, but I fully support any programming that supports the arts. Any time you give recognition to entertainers who are most often only named in the credits, you make art more visible and inspire more artists. Bring it on Summer!

And please, if I missed any, hit the comments. These are my favorites but I’d love to hear about more!

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