A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this series showcases the cultural diversity of the eight participating countries through music, dress, and, of course, dance styles. Viewers are not only treated to stunning performances, but they also learn something about the traditions in the dancers' countries and the role of dance within each cultures. Though the series is rooted in competition, there's no in-fighting among the participants, all of whom show respect for their peers' efforts. But on the flipside, audience members often boo the judges when they disagree with their scores, so parents may want to follow up with reminders about good sportsmanship.
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What's the story?
SUPERSTARS OF DANCE pits country against country in a competition that showcases various international dance forms in an energetic battle for bragging rights. Hosted by famed Irish stepper Michael Flatley, the series features performances by soloists, duets, and teams from eight different countries. Each dance is judged by a panel of representatives from the participating countries; the teams' numbers are combined to eliminate the lowest-scoring competitors at the end of each round. Winners are chosen in each category (solo, duet, and team), and the highest-scoring county is named the overall winner.
Is it any good?
This high-stepping show has something for everyone -- drama, athletics, and artistic expression. With dances ranging from traditional Indian solos to Latin ballroom duets to a contemporary American style called "popping," each performance offers something unexpected, and viewers will gain new respect for the world's cultural and artistic diversity as expressed by the dancers. Brimming with high-energy entertainment, this unique series is a fun choice for families to enjoy together.
Unfortunately, while the dancing hits a high note, the show loses footing in its overall format. Flatley can't quite command a microphone like he does a dance floor, and his hosting style feels unnatural and rehearsed. The judging process is rushed and doesn't allow the panel members to offer feedback to performers to qualify their scores -- which often leads to loud complaints from the crowd and confusion for viewers who disagree with the judges' assessments. But if you can see past the pitfalls, this series is a fun way for your family to gain exposure to lesser-known dance styles, as well as a variety of far-flung cultures.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the perseverance and athletic strength that it takes to become a world-class dancer. Did watching this show change how you viewed dancing as a sport? Which dancers in particular impressed you? Why? How does this show compare to other dancing shows you've seen? Which do you like better, and why? Families can also discuss the different cultures represented on the show. What did you learn by watching? Do you think the performers and dances accurately represent their cultures, or does the show feel commercialized?