Published on Thursday, September 22, 2016 by Hannah Broussard
Every year around the month of May, over ten million viewers across the country gather around their televisions with family and friends to view the season premiere of So You Can Think You Can Dance, a televised dance competition. Last year as I tuned in, I was discontented to see that the producers had changed my favorite television show to a “Stage vs. Street” format, which forced more talented dancers to be eliminated in order to keep the number of “Stage” and “Street” dancers even. However, this year, to even more of my disappointment, I found that the producers had now changed the show to So You Think You Can Dance: The Next Generation.
The twist that they added in the show opens up the competition to dancers strictly between the ages of 8-13, instead of the original age range of 18-30. The talent and ability of young dancers is increasing each year, but it will never compare to that of the older dancers.
Just as maturity level increases with age, the skill level of a dancer increases as well. Whenever I watched the old version of So You Think You Can Dance, I was amazed by the contestants incredible talent. I truly looked up to each competitor and aspired to be as good of a dancer as they were. As I watch the new version, I find myself watching kids that are younger than me, who haven’t fully developed their dance technique yet. They are, by far, not as entertaining as an older, more advanced dancer.
Many times younger kids are left out of things because they are told they are too young to participate. One good thing about the new version of So You Think You Can Dance is that it allows these young dancers to feel like they fit in and gives them an amazing opportunity to dance on a stage in front of judges and an audience that was once danced on by some of the greatest adult dancers of all times. However, this is still not a good enough reason to make such a big change in the show. These dancers can simply wait and train like the rest of the competitors until they are old enough and more advanced to be on the show.
Some dancers train and wait their entire lives for the opportunity and moment in which they will be old enough to try out for So You Think You Can Dance. Having to wait to be given the opportunity was one of the most special aspects of the old version of this show. After being patient for so long, it made the experience much sweeter because they knew that they earned their spot. This decision has caused some dancers to never be able to fulfill their dreams because now that they have finally reached the age of 18, they are too old to compete. I am one of those people. Ever since I was a little girl, I watched So You Think You Can Dance and pictured myself in place of the talented adult dancers I saw. After the start of So You Think You Can Dance:The Next Generation, that goal has been stripped from me and many other teenagers across the United States who will never get to experience that sweet opportunity.