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TV Takes Dance to the Masses

I recently mentioned that popular culture seems to be recognizing dance as a significant talent and unique art (as it should) considering the growing number of dance reality competitions that television viewers are tuning in to watch each week.

Audiences watch celebrities in "Dancing With the Stars" sweat throughout their performance and are barely able catch their breath afterwards. Dance is indeed physically demanding on the body. During a ballet performance, audiences are rarely close enough to see the dancers sweat on the stage--trust me they really do. And backstage you'll see them trying to catch their breath as well. Two items of note:

  • This year gymnast Shawn Johnson won the competition--she is the fifth athlete to win the show.
  • If you review bios for the professional dancers that have appeared on the program over the years, you'll find ballet in many of their backgrounds.

Congratulations to Melissa Sandvig who is one of the top 14 contestants on "So You Think You Can Dance". Melissa performed with Milwaukee Ballet for six years. At the time she went by Melissa Watson, but there's no mistaking Melissa's dancing for someone else. Check out Melissa and her ballet work in these clips:


Milwaukee Ballet has been ahead of the dance competition craze. Since 2005, Genesis, the Ballet's biennial choreographic competition, has been scouting up-and-coming choreographers from around the world. See the fruits of Genesis 2009 when winner Timothy O'Donnell returns to Milwaukee next year with a world premiere in Innovative Motion.

Prime time TV has nothing on live ballet.

Michael Pink, Artistic Director