So You Think You Can Dance Canada has a similar premise as SYTYCD USA, but some glaring differences. Executive Producer, Sandra Faire says diversity and risqué routines among differences between the American and Canadian shows.
So you think So You Think You Can Dance Canada is just about dance? Think again.
For executive producer Sandra Faire, the show represents Canada in all its multicultural glory.
“A lot of people ask me what makes the show different from the United States or Australia or Britain. And I can say the dancers are more diverse, you know, Cuban, Asian, East Indian, whatever . . . the genres are more diverse, but . . . I would flip it around and say this show represents who we are,” she said in an interview.
Take this season’s top 22, just revealed on Sunday night. They include a salsa dancer who recently emigrated from Cuba, a ballroom dancer born in Ukraine, a contemporary dancer born in Kuwait, a Spanish-Haitian-Canadian hip-hop dancer, a French Canadian ballroom dancer, and a competitor who’s part Métis and combines ballet with breakdancing.
But it’s not just about the origins of the dancers. The Canadian show has introduced styles not seen on other versions of So You Think You Can Dance, including dancehall and Afro-jazz.
“Dancehall is Jamaican and Caribbean. It’s huge in the Jane-Finch area and I wanted to show it because it’s exciting,” Faire said.
“Sometimes we get criticized because it’s very down and dirty, but it’s part of who we are and it’s very much a part of our culture, and we want those kinds of things on the show.”
Since Calgary choreographer Sean Cheesman was invited to SYTYCDC to do Afro-jazz, he’s been hired on the U.S. and Australian shows, and all over the world for that style of choreography, Faire said.
She also believes the Canadian program has two of the best hip-hop choreographers in the world on its team: Luther Brown, who is also a judge, and Sho-Tyme.
Hip hop is “more than a dance,” Faire said. “It’s the culture of the streets. It’s about sex, it’s about violence, it’s about a lot of things and you want to show that authentically in the dance.”
Brown, who grew up in Jane-Finch, and Sho-Tyme, from Queens, N.Y., “show it the way it is. It’s not rhythm and blues, it’s not nice, pretty hip hop, it’s the way it authentically is and I love that about what they do.
“And I know we get criticized, but I don’t want to water it down. And Canadian audiences are more accepting for the most part.”
Still, Faire is careful to air more risqué routines after 9 p.m.
A longtime dance fan who has studied ballet and is a vice-chair of the National Ballet of Canada, Faire believes Canadians are more passionate about dance than Americans. And she notes that the Canadian show has more men in the studio audience than its U.S. counterpart.
“I think the American show is terrific and I have such respect for Nigel (Lythgoe, U.S. executive producer), but it’s a different show here, it’s a very different show.”
For one thing, the U.S. SYTYCD turned the format on its head this past season — its seventh — with a top 11 instead of a top 20 and competitors partnered with all-stars from past seasons.
Faire says there’s enough talent from past Canadian shows to support that change, but “I don’t think we want to do it yet. Maybe Season 7 or 8 if we’re lucky enough to get that.”
Besides, with so many great dancers auditioning for Season 3, it would have been excruciating to get it down to a top 10 or 11. “We could have actually had a top 26,” Faire said. “It was really hard paring it down and we had to turn down some really good dancers.”
Faire’s not taking the Canadian show live, either, as the U.S. did last season. Though it may seem counterintuitive, pre-taping episodes allows for “total spontaneity,” she said.
“We got some stuff, for instance, tonight that I think is a lot of fun and I want to leave in, and we never would have had time for it if we were live,” said Faire, referring to the Saturday night taping of Monday’s performance show.
Mind you, all that fun stuff meant producers had 20 minutes more footage than they needed for a two-hour show (with commercials) and Faire was facing an all-nighter to edit it down, but she wasn’t complaining.
“It’s a treat to be able to do something that you love, that you have a passion for, that you feel is your destiny,” she said. “How often does that happen? Not very often.”
I am glad Canada’s version is not going live and I agree it is not yet ready for an “all-star” season. I appreciate the diversity and “pushing the envelope” that happens on the Canadian show “after 9pm”
If you aren’t familiar with SYTYCD Canada’s reputation for risqué routines here is a summary:
Again, I know many of you can’t get SYTYCD Canada so here are a few of the routines mentioned…
Personally, I think sex is part of dancing, not neccessarily all dancing but it shouldn’t be cut-out or censored and I feel like Canadian telelvision is more accepting of those kihds of routines. I have lived in the USA and Canada and notice USA telelvision has more violence, where Canadian television has more nudity.
Regardless, I love seeing the routines get down and dirty from time to time… rawr!