Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dancing- Australia's New Reality

Reality TV has been a staple part of Australia’s visual diet for the better part of eight years. Since the inception of Big Brother, and locally adapted programs (The Biggest Loser, Australian Idol, Popstars) audiences have been spoon-fed the fishbowl style of programming where “real” people interact, compete and perform.

So You Think You Can Dance Australia is the latest addition and, given its enormous rating success, looks set to be one of the most popular of its genre. Chief judge and Sydney Olympics ceremony choreographer Jason Coleman says that, while he’s a fan of the US dance series, he predicts the quintessentially Australian attitude will make it better viewing here.

“Americans have so much bravado, they’re so fucking out there with the whole ‘I’m so fabulous and everybody look at me’. Australians are much more humble,” he said.

“You are really feeling our show, you really see how invested these dancers are.”

Indeed. Australian contestants are quite happy to share their emotions with the country. There have already been plenty of tantrums and tears amidst the jubilation. It’s entirely appropriate, as an equal mix of emotion, conflict and triumph are the mainstay of reality TV. It appears the producers have done their homework on the contestants and hand-delivered sympathetic stories for the judges to help reveal.

We’ve heard tales of bulimia, poverty and comebacks from life-threatening injury. Coleman says it’s all part of the package. “I’m a fan of the dancing – for me it’s all about the dancing. But we do need to get to know them as people,” he said.

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