What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that dance-loving tweens will probably want to watch this reality-style dance competition. But there's some sexually charged choreography and bleeped swearing that makes it more age-appropriate for teens and up. Speaking of sex, several dancers are openly gay, and while sexuality isn't a big part of the plot in general, it isn't downplayed, either. There's also a healthy amount of commercialism in terms of subtly promoting individual artists like the Spice Girls and Broadway musicals like Legally Blonde.
What's the story?
In STEP IT UP AND DANCE, a dozen dancers vie for a $100,000 prize and bragging rights as the "ultimate dancer" by competing in a series of elimination-style auditions designed to test their skills and versatility. Hosted by former Saved by the Bell star Elizabeth Berkley (who went on to appear in the infamous 1990s dance pic Showgirls), the show also features Tony Award-winning choreographer/director Jerry Mitchell as the dancers' mentor (think Project Runway's Tim Gunn) and choreographers Vincent Paterson and Nancy O'Meara, who serve as judges.
Is it any good?
The biggest problem with Step It Up and Dance is that its tried-and-true (um, make that tired-and-true) formula is all too familiar -- and it's hard to shake the feeling that we've seen all this dance drama before. Still, the choreography is usually compelling ... although every now and then, you wonder what the heck they were thinking. The other good news is that at least half of the 12 contestants are truly talented and dynamic, which makes them a lot of fun to watch. In short, this is solid viewing for die-hard dance fans and a decent choice for the rest of us -- at least if there's nothing better on.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the extensive training and dedication required to become a professional dancer. Is a dancer's life more physically demanding than you realized? Do you consider dancers to be artists or athletes -- or a little bit of both? Which dancers do you think have the best shot at winning this competition? What sets them apart from the rest of the contestants? Families might also enjoy discussing (or even trying to perform) the different types of dance styles demonstrated on the show, including jazz, ballet, hip-hop, and Broadway.