Dancing with the Stars
By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
High-kicking series has cross-generational appeal.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show highlights the importance of working hard, learning new skills, taking criticism, and having the courage to try new things.
Positive Role Models
Most of participants are good sports and willingly accept the task of trying something out of their comfort zone and learning from the process. Some celebrity dancers, like Bristol Palin and Kate Gosselin, stir up some minor controversy thanks to their tabloid fame. One participant garnered attention for his gender transformation.
Violence & Scariness
Some dancing novices take some painful spills on the floor, but aside from the occasional concussion or minor sprain, there’s no major injury.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Many of the dances require the performers to play up the sex appeal, and judges call them out for being adequately sexy or not sexy enough. Women often wear revealing costumes, and guys sometimes bear their chests.
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When tension rises in practice, some dancers lapse into cursing, but it’s mostly edited for the show. Some mild expletives like "ass," "butt," and "suck" are audible.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this reality competition is a fun choice for families and has good messages for fans of any age about the rewarding process of taking on new challenges. The dancers are models for young viewers of strength, athleticism, determination, and confidence, and they accept accolade and criticism with grace. Female dancers often wear revealing outfits and men show off their chests, and many of the dance styles require the couples to show off some sex appeal. Young kids probably won't be interested for long, but older ones who can appreciate the scope of the participants' dedication to the process will enjoy the show.
Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
DANCING WITH THE STARS is a reality competition that pairs professional ballroom dancers with celebrities and challenges them to learn a new style of dancing each week. Celebrity participants have included Hollywood legends, pop stars, rappers, politicians, and professional athletes, most of whom have little to no dancing experience before the show. The dancing pro's put them through their own boot camp of sorts in preparation for their weekly performances, which are scored by a panel of three judges before being voted on by the viewing audience. The lowest-scoring couple is eliminated each week.
Is It Any Good?
This is the rare show that can be enjoyed and appreciated by all generations. The dancing is always entertaining, and at times it's also inspiring, reminding viewers of the rewards of taking the leap into new challenges in life at any age. The show celebrates the joy of fair competition, the benefits of determination, and the self-affirming nature of conquering fear.
Parents may want need to explain to kids why the female dancers wear skimpy outfits and get judged on their sex appeal, and there is some mild language ("ass," "suck," etc.) that isn't appropriate for young kids. But mostly there's nothing to worry about, and it may just encourage you and your family to tackle something new of your own.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the stereotypes that exist about dancers. Were the dancers in this show what you expected to see? Did any of them surprise you? What are the dangers of making assumptions about groups of people?
Kids: What does it feel like to be criticized? What is the difference between constructive criticism and negative criticism? How does hearing a critique encourage you to improve?
In what ways are the participants in this show good role models? Do they ever express that they're afraid of any aspect of the competition? How can fear be a motivator? Does it seem to motivate their efforts?
- Premiere date: June 1, 2005
- Cast: Lisa Canning, Samantha Harris, Tom Bergeron
- Network: ABC
- Genre: Reality TV
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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