America's Ballroom Challenge
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this series offers an educational look at competitive ballroom dancing, skipping the sometimes-snide judging that is the hallmark of similar network competition shows in favor of celebrating the dancers' artistry and athleticism and attempting to make dancing both entertaining and accessible to kids. Female dancers sometimes wear skimpy outfits, and some of the dance moves are a bit suggestive, but they're presented as part of the overall art form.
What's the story?
AMERICA'S BALLROOM CHALLENGE follows the world's largest annual ballroom dance competition. Hosted by actress/dancer Jasmine Guy and Latin dance champion Ron Montez, the contest features the top ballroom dancers from all over North America. Each pair competes in four divisions: American Smooth, American Rhythm, International Standard, and International Latin. In each episode, the division finalists strut their stuff both in groups and in individual show dances. Each division's winning couple goes on to perform all four dance styles in the final round in hopes of winning the Ballroom Challenge title.
Is it any good?
America's Ballroom Challenge is both educational and entertaining for anyone who enjoys ballroom dancing. But what really makes the show worthwhile is its attempt to present ballroom dancing as something that's both accessible and fun for kids. Some of the competitive performances offer unconventional interpretations of traditional dance styles (like performing Viennese waltz steps to hip-hop music), while exhibition performances featuring kids of all ages highlight the skill, strength, and showmanship that are required to succeed in this challenging art.
That said, the series doesn't have much to offer those who aren't interested in dancing. But if you are, watching America's Ballroom Challenge is a great chance to learn a lot about dance while watching people having fun doing it.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why there's been an increase in movies and TV shows that feature ballroom dancing. What does traditional dancing offer to kids today? How can traditional dances like waltzes be adapted to contemporary music? Families can also discuss the stereotypes that society tends to have about dancers. Are dancers really athletes? How much work goes into dancing competitively? What does it take to compete at the national and international level?