When Project Runway debuted late in 2004, I was hooked before I even saw the first episode. I wasn’t really into reality television, but the creative element of the show sucked me right in.
Bravo has reused the formula with hits like Top Chef and less successful shows like Shear Genius and Top Design, and now they’re turning their attention to dance.
I caught the first episode of Step It Up and Dance on Hulu. While there were certain choices that baffled me – Was Showgirls really enough for them to select Elizabeth Berkely to host? – the overall content was pretty good. Jerry Mitchell, who most recently adapted Legally Blonde for Broadway is around for encouragement. He’s kind of the Tim Gunn of the show, though not nearly as fabulous.
In every show, the dancers have an initial audition, are divided into a winning group and an elimination group, are taught a routine by a celebrity choreographer, and then perform. One person from the winning group wins and one person from the elimination group goes home.
The drama aside, the dancers are quite good, and so far the show has hosted some incredible choreographers: Luke Cresswell, a founding member of Stomp; Lee Martino who did a revival of Damn Yankees with Jason Alexander; and a team of choreographers who taught the contestants the Apache, a fascinatingly violent dance of French origin.
Also, Bravo’s website has “Dance Alongs” which give you the chance to take a virtual class with each week’s choreographer.
Step It Up and Dance isn’t going to change the world, but it’s a nice show for summer if you’re into dance or if you’ve enjoyed some of Bravo’s other reality series.