Daily Archives: July 31, 2009

No, I don’t think I can, but I know they can

Time for me to take this blog in another direction I have yet to take it. Into the realm of television, the idiot box, the boob tube. My fiance loves to have it on while she’s working around the house, so it’s on anywhere from 12-15 hours a day I would guess. A lot of it is crappy day time tv, television court room shows like Judge Alex and Judge Judy. There’s also a lot of Family Guy and King of the Hill after 6 PM.

However, there is one show that my fiance will refuse to miss a second of: So You Think You Can Dance, which airs on the Fox network, and last summer, after we had been dating for a while, she had me sit down and watch a few episodes with her, and wouldn’t you know it? I actually enjoyed watching it. Now we’re nearing the end of the second season that I have actively watched and while it’s been fun watching, and even more fun seeing some routines done last year performed again by last years contestants, I’m kind of disappointed to see it end next week (though Fox is doing a brand new season this winter).

Most people may brush this off as “just another American Idol” type show, and to some extent, yes this is true. However, when you think about it, aside from the $250,000 awarded to the dancer America votes as number 1, things are very different for these winners. They aren’t going to go on and make millions and millions of dollars recording and selling albums that their eager fans will snatch off the shelves of their local Best Buy. No… as a matter of fact, most of them are going to go on and have, albeit very successful, very “comfortable” careers. The median earnings of a dancer that wasn’t under a union contract in 2004 was $8.54 an hour, with the top dancers earning around $15.62 an hour, something an unskilled laborer can make standing outside working road construction. And most of a dancers work is going to be very short term, most likely a few months, but even as short as a week or a few days. Choreographers are the same story, with the median around$33,670 a year. The top 10% of this group doesn’t even approach six figures, topping out at just above $50k a year.

A lot of these contestants don’t even dance for a living because they know they can’t make it on those earnings. Janette Manrara for example, a contestant this year who was just cut a week ago, worked for a bank as an accounts specialist (I believe, it could have been some other title, but that’s the gist of it). However, she loved the dancing so much (something she never studied formally, but was ingrained in her from her family’s Cuban traditions) she tried out for the show, got into the Top 20, and was a fabulous contestant who never failed to disappoint. Now, according the show’s Wikipedia page, she’s a dancehall instructor back in her hometown of Miami.

So, in short, are these dancers doing this for the exposure? Most likely, but more importantly, and it’s plain to see each week in the passion, energy, and heartfelt emotion that they leave up on that stage, they are there because they truly love what they are doing, and once they hit that stage, everything else takes a backseat. It’s an absolutely awesome thing to watch.

So this Winter, when Season 6 hits the airwaves, do yourselves a favor and sit down and watch, even if you aren’t fans of dance. I wasn’t when I started watching. And trust me: it’s an amazing feeling when you see your first routine that leaves you breathless. I know it was for me.


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