J-Lo is bringing her dance moves to the small screen
Whatever happened to dancing? Back in the mid-20th century, it seemed that there was a dance hall or cabaret on every corner of New York. Everybody and their grandmothers were spilling out of venues teeming with dancers, singers, showgirls and more. Every hit record detailed some new dance that was all the craze. Whether it was the twist or the hip shake, America was obsessed with learning about the next best dance to show off on the weekend. It seemed more like a national pastime than a hobby back then.
Cut to fifty years later and there are hardly any dance halls left. Waning interest, high rents and fewer dancers slowly began killing the swinging activity. But now, thanks to the ever-increasing fascination with stardom, celebrity and glamor, America is embracing dance once again. TV shows like Dancing with the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance and Live to Dance have propelled the niche into the mainstream. And now NBC has joined the televisual showcase with their new show, World of Dance.
With an extraordinary panel of judges that include Jennifer Lopez, Derek Hough, NE-YO and host Jenna Dewan Tatum, World of Dance presents a high caliber contest where the judges evaluate dancers of all ages and styles. Dancers are judged on performance, technique, choreography, creativity, and presentation, hoping they’ll score high enough to make it past the five rounds to win the grand prize of $1 million.
The Knockturnal had the opportunity to talk with judge Derek Hough about the upcoming NBC TV show. Check out what he had to say below.
Tell me what attracted you to be involved with it?
Derek Hough: Well, it’s the caliber. The caliber of the show.
Derek: J.Lo, yeah. But actually, even more so too, knowing that what talent was already being talked about being on the show, the level of dance, the quality of the production, for me it was really important and really exciting. And of course, with Jennifer Lopez, Ne-Yo, Jenna, the director, the creative directors, Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo. So it really was like a dream team of people coming together to celebrate dance. So for me I’m like I’m on board. You know, I love it. And it’s a good show, it really captures the energy, the vibrancy of not just entertainment, but of these incredible dancers. It’s awesome.
What can people expect going forward?
Derek: It just gets better and better, it really does. And it gets harder and harder. At least for us, definitely. So much so that it actually sucks sometimes because I don’t want certain people to go home, but we have to narrow it down. I honestly felt sick for two days after one of the results because I was so disappointed because, oh man, I didn’t want to see them go home. But it happens, it’s competition. There’s disappointment, there’s heartache, it happens.
Are we going see you back on the stage soon?
Derek: Well, I just finished my tour. I did 55 shows in 59 days in 48 cities.
Whoa, that’s intense.
Derek: It was full out. It was nonstop, amazing, we have talks about doing something else in that area. So it’s all good things. But as far as Broadway, Broadway it’s in the future. I’m not sure when, but it’s definitely on my list. It’s such a huge commitment. You can’t half-ass it, you have really commit.
Maybe like a little cameo.
Derek: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Can you speak about the importance of the medium of TV and really bringing dance out there? I feel like these shows have really made it super relevant.
Derek: It’s educated Americans as well. I think dancing was kind of a niche thing and only a select few kind of appreciated it and understood it and liked it. Because you like what you understand, you know what I mean? And I think that now over years now if I go ask somebody in the street, “Hey, do you know what a Paso Doble is?” They’re like, “Yeah!” Before they’d be like, “Wait, what? Are you swearing at me? What’s happening?” So it’s great that America’s been educated in the past decade and now they can watch World of Dance and appreciate the athleticism, they can appreciate the technicality, they can appreciate not just the wow factor but the actual work that goes into it. Which I think is why it’s being received so well. So, it’s awesome.
Catch World of Dance on NBC Tuesdays at 10/9c.
OJ Williams contributed reporting.