Are dance-athletes ruining the art form of dance?

Or… Is the new breed of dance professionals on a relentless path to show how far they can push their bodies and the boundaries of the dance art and industry?
Recently I found out that I would be producing a multi-media story about the finale of Fox‘s hit TV show, “So You Think You Can Dance.” I’ll have access to these world-class dancers and choreographers and a coveted back-stage pass in order to produce this story.  I’m learning how important this art form is and how popular the show and the dancers are. I’m particularly interested in how Gatorade is in hot pursuit of the dancers and beginning to capitalize on this market for the first time in history.
After my preliminary research on the show, my interest was peaked by the recent advertising deal the show creators signed with Gatorade. Gatorade clearly wants to launch dance into the realm of professional sports and capitalize on this new market of dancer-athletes.  But what do the dancers and choreographer’s think about this and how will they be affected? What do the show creators and producers truly want to gain from this?
Another interesting twist to this is that I’ll be working alongside two extremely talented Journalist, Robyn Price and Thembi Ford.  They will be covering the event and producing a story of their own as well. Thembi and Robyn blogged recently about what they will focus on for their piece and you can find their initial thoughts here: Thembi Ford and Robyn Price
It appears that Thembi’s investigation into the rise of reported injuries on the show will be an insightful look at the hidden pressures that might be pushing the dancers too hard. Also, the idea that a lifetime of classic training in one dance form makes it too dangerous to compete in all the other styles. I think it is an extremely relevant and interesting issue and I’m wondering if the season’s dance finalists think the format of the show should change in order to reduce injuries. Will their views differ from the views of the doctors, parents or choreographers?
Regarding Robyn’s initial thoughts, I’m intrigued by her exploration into the question – Is a reality tv show as a suitable, or even capable medium to transmit a pure art form to the masses?  I’m wondering what the choreographers and dancers will say about their own work and if they view it as art. I’m also curious what Robyn will find out about the audience and if they have a deep sensitivity to the art form. Perhaps there are a good many people who haven’t watched the show due to the same reasons Robyn avoided the show for so long?  Does the show plan to target those individuals and demonstrate that this really is a pure art form?

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