Dance Your Ass Off



Dance contest pushes overweight contenders toward health.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Although the show's emphasis is on weight loss, it encourages the dancers to get healthy rather than super skinny. To drive the point home, the contestants are teamed up with a doctor, a nutritionist, and a physical trainer in addition to their dance partner. On the downside, some of the producers' choices seem designed to elicit viewer laughs -- like dressing some of the contestants in unflattering costumes.

Positive role models

Contestants include both men and women, both single and married, ranging in age from their 20s to their 40s. Many have serious health problems, but most want to get healthy and do something about it.

Not applicable

Occasional references to body parts (particularly buttocks and breasts) in relationship to sexual attractiveness. Somewhat revealing costumes.


The title of the show contains the word "ass," but other curse words are rare. Some refer to having "junk in the trunk," "thunder thighs," a sizable "booty," etc.


The dancers' "cheat" pantry includes a few brand-name snacks like Doritos.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while the central message of this weight loss-oriented reality competition is positive for all ages, the show is targeting adults and older teens, not kids. (Need a clue that it's not meant for young children? Note the word "ass" in the title.) Expect to hear some slang words for body parts -- including "junk" and "booty" -- and see a few brand-name food and drink items. Costumes tend toward the revealing, too, occasionally baring midriffs or buttocks.

What's the story?

A pack of plus-sized men and women are trying to lose weight and get healthy in DANCE YOUR ASS OFF, an elimination-style reality dance competition. Over the course of 10 episodes, the 12 contenders meet regularly with a physician, a nutritionist, a personal trainer, and a dance instructor -- the latter of whom then joins them on the dance floor as their partner. Ultimately, they're judged both on how much weight they lose each week and how well they perform their choreography.

Is it any good?


A blend of The Biggest Loser and Dancing with the Stars (minus the stars), this dance contest tries hard to entertain. And while some viewers will watch because they find the dancers' stories inspiring, others might be tuning in to have a laugh at their expense. After all, the show goes out of its way to dress the contenders in flashy costumes that are typically unflattering (including fishnet body stockings and ultra-short shorts), so you have to wonder whether producers are milking what could be a 100% postive process for extra comedic potential.

The show also loses points for iffy renditions of popular songs like Cher's "Believe." But at least it's making an effort to help contestants (and, hopefully, viewers) get healthy in a fun, upbeat way.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the importance of staying healthy through proper nutrition and regular exercise. Overall, do you think you do a good job of choosing healthy foods and staying active? What are some things you could do as a family to make better choices when it comes to your health?

  • Families can also discuss the intent of a show like this one. Is it meant to motivate and inspire viewers to get healthy, or was it designed to exploit its contestants for entertainment purposes? Could it be a little bit of both?

TV details

Cast:Marissa Jaret Winokur, Mel B.
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 10 years old September 4, 2009

ok 4 tweens

its ok they put a cuss word in the title. some of the outfits are a little to much for little kids.... it might encourage people to drop pounds.....
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great role models
Parent of a 12 year old Written byMommyconcerned July 6, 2010
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 9 years old December 13, 2009

The A or B Word?

well, it's better than we say "butt", not @ss
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models


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