Reconfiguring popular screen dance


The U.S. television series So you think you can dance is located within the broader aesthetics of popular screen dance rather than in the aesthetic realm of reality television, as dance has been featured in popular screen media—big and small—since the birth of the moving picture medium.

Taking into consideration the aesthetics, structure, and star personas from the backstage Hollywood musical of the studio era, So you think you can dance draws on and transforms this earlier contribution to popular screen dance, creating a haunted space as a result.

The start of the new millennium has seen another upsurge in the production of dance for popular moving picture media, and an increasing presence of dance in the mass mediascape. As So you think you can dance is simultaneously located at the beginning and in the middle of this new popular dance craze, it actively contributes to the reconfiguration of traditions from popular screen dance aesthetics.

This according to “‘We are not here to make avant-garde choreography!’: So you think you can dance and popular screen dance aesthetics” by Elena Natalie Benthaus, an essay included in Dance ACTions: Traditions and transformations (Society of Dance History Scholars 2013, pp. 55–62).

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