At the end of the summer, I accidentally got hooked on NBC’s World of Dance. This is unsual because I normally watch very little TV and even less reality TV. (When American Idol debuted, I remember scoffing to myself, “That will never last.” Shows what I know.)
Come to think of it, I didn’t even watch a full episode until the season finale! I just watched clips of the performances on YouTube. At around 2-3 minutes apiece, they were perfect little bites of media to supplement my usual diet of Daniel Tiger and Frozen. (My minion liked them too.)
I don’t know much about dance. But it’s easy to enjoy good performances like the ones on the show. It was fun to see all the different dance styles, costumes, and songs.
My favorite part, though, was the representation by people of color (including, but not limited to, Asians and Asian-Americans!) Besides the winter Olympics every four years, I don’t often get to see many Asian(-Americans) showcased for feats of athleticism. Some of my faves:
Fabulous Sisters, from Japan
S-Rank in particular destroyed my life because the leader is Asian-American and he talked about how his dad had never seen him dance. Of course they brought his dad into the audience for their world final performance and of course I died of happiness.
I also loved seeing how music and dance transcends all the boundaries and groupings we put together for ourselves. Most of the group acts were mixed-race, mixed-age, mixed-gender and they danced to a wide variety of songs from hip-hop to instrumental.
At the risk of sounding like an old fart (which, honestly, I am), this was also a show about the beauty and power of youth. Some of my favorite acts were from the junior division:
Sean and Kaycee
But my favorite team from the very first Youtube clip I stumbled upon was The Lab. I think they remind me of my former students and I love their diversity, but most of all they are just really, really good dancers.
Their final act was set to John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change,” which is a departure from their usual (MIND-BLOWING) hip-hop routines. And they blew it out of the water! As I watched them tell a story through dance, I found myself thinking, “Yes, I can’t wait for this generation to save us all!”
But then I stopped myself. When did I get so cynical that I automatically look to the next generation for salvation, as if my own can no longer do anything? More importantly, aren’t we the grown-ups right now who have to at least hold things together so there will still be a world to save? Can I at least keep my own cynicism at bay long enough to try and keep the faith alive for these kids?
Watching them dance gives me a little flicker of hope.