Superstars of Dance revolutionized the airwaves in 2009 with its international flavor and healthy competition. Read on to learn more about this primetime series that is so much more than just another dance show.
What is Superstars of Dance?
Perhaps you heard a buzz about this cross cultural dance show that hit the scene on NBC in January of 2009, or maybe you were completely enthralled with the series up until its season one finale. Whatever your level of knowledge, Superstars of Dance is a showcase of both talent and global unity, making it a winner for all involved.
Incorporating eight dance teams from six different continents, this high-energy dance competition is hosted by Michael Flatley, already known for his Riverdance and Lord of the Dance fame. The co-host is Susie Castillo, remembered by some as the 2003 winner of the famous Miss USA competition. To give it an extra boost of initial attention, Superstars of Dance was created by Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Fuller, who have previously created such reality talent hits as So You Think You Can Dance and the now legendary American Idol.
Contestants were not selected by producers, but were instead appointed by their own countries, giving the show an Olympics flair for dance enthusiasts. Also, unlike other reality shows, there is no audience voting, as it is considered to be an international competition. Instead, a panel of eight judges joined the contenders, each representative of a featured nation. NBC saturated the station with advertisements promoting the unique dance competition show, and it was hugely successful, despite its challenging timeslot against other network favorites.
Getting to Know the Teams
Superstars of Dance features eight competing countries. For season one, the countries selected to represent were Argentina, Australia, China, India, Ireland, Russia, South Africa and the United States. Each country was responsible for providing a group, duet team and two soloists. While some nations' dancers were unknown to the American audience, almost all of the dancers have been noted in their home country with high accolades for their corner of the dance world.
In season one, China's team featured a group of Shaolin monks, both adults and children, and Russia gave us an award winning ballerina who stole hearts as a soloist. In the end, it was the United States who won the top honors of Superstars of Dance, thanks to a hip hop group called the Groovaloos. Established in 1999, this tight knit team was high energy and won over the judges for all five episodes of the season.
Season One Criticism
While Superstars of Dance enjoyed impressive ratings and friendly competition, the show's performers did warrant some criticism from both judges and viewers. Message board threads on the show's official website criticize the style of some of the dancers, including their technique. One particular target - Australia's tap dancer, wasn't up to par in the minds of many tap enthusiasts. Another common complaint in regards to many of the teams was the lack of dance and abundance of "tricks" in many of the routines. From Chinese acrobatics to Latin dance routines full of dramatic presentation but lacking in actual executions of dance technique, many of the teams strived to impress through risky moves rather than standard dance fare, and for that they were marked down.
The Groovaloos found the right balance in technique and stage presence, which seemed to make the first place bragging rights an easy win. However, all nations were able to put their best foot forward and provide viewers with one of the best dance competitions on air in recent years.
The Final Scores
Superstars of Dance gave recognition for four categories - solo, duet, group and overall. Unlike most competition shows that offer lofty professional contracts and high paychecks to their winners, Superstars of Dance simply awarded medals and notoriety, keeping it simple and professional for all dancers involved.
The final winners were:
- Team USA with 530 overall points. Second place went to Australia with a close 525 points.
- Team USA also got gold in the team competition. Silver went to China's Shaolin Monks.
- Argentineans Miriam Larici & Leonardo Barrionuevo nabbed a gold medal in the duets category. South Africa's Victor Da Silva & Claudia Savvides took silver.
- Finally, Russian soloist Maria Kochetkova won the gold for her stunning ballet work.