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If Only for the Dancing
john_repede5 January 2009
Wow, I am about halfway through the second show and I can barely watch it, which is a shame because the dancing is rather good - at least what you can see of it. Where to begin? First, while there is plenty of good dancing, since when did Kung Fu become a form of dance? Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching Shaolin monks perform some of the most complex and difficult martial arts moves on Earth, but on a show that features ballroom dancing?

Which brings me to my second point. What is with the rating system? How the Hell can you compare clogging/tap dancing to traditional South African dance? There is no rhyme or reason to the scoring system other than it being a 1 to 10 scale and the judges are atrocious. They seem to have no concept of multi-cultural dance and can't score anyone lower than a 7 or higher than a 9. The whole concept of this show being a contest to see what country has the best dancers in the World is laughable at best.

Let me indulge you a little further with my third point, the directing/cinematography. When the camera comes around front of the dancers the flood lights on the back of the stage at stage level wave around and shine directly into the camera making it impossible to see parts of the dance. Then they do a sweeping view from in the audience and you are so far from the stage while the camera is moving that you miss even more of the dances. One point that sticks out in my head is on the second show the duet from Australia was performing a lift where the girl was above the guy's head horizontally, or at least I think horizontally but I wasn't really sure because the camera angle was so horrific.

The only reason I rated this show a 5 out of 10 is because the main point of the show is to showcase dance from around the globe. The dancing (from what you can see) is intriguing and captivating, it is such a shame that the show is trivialized by some phony competition when it solely could be about dance. Also, I do have to give props to Michael Flatley as host, he is genuinely a gracious host.

To sum all of this up, good idea, poorly executed. I don't know what is more appalling, the format of the show or the fact that it doesn't surprise me that NBC would put such a show on TV. What is this country coming to?
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SUPER talent presented in a less than SUPER way
Pro Jury4 January 2009
Michael Flatley is a refreshing host. Direct, to the point, passionate but not arrogant. He is not a camera hog and he is not prone to Hollywood star diatribes as other TV hosts. He came off as genuine and sincere which, for me, equals easy to watch.

The other good thing is having a TV show showcasing dancing traditions from other countries. Something not seen much on network TV.

The biggest problem with SUPERSTARS OF DANCE is that it is a competition. The idea that a Punjabi bhangra can be measured against an Irish step dance -- what? -- is like asking what tastes better: a hot fudge sundae or southern fried chicken. Yes, some people will like one, and not like the other. But, for people who like both... how to measure if one is better than the other? OK, what is better: a dance of male strength, or a dance of female grace? Which is better: an orange cake, or a lemon cake? Even that is impossible!

Because a direct competition between wildly different international dance styles makes no sense, the scores given by the judges seem to be more personal or political rather than objective.

A smaller problem is having Miss USA as a co-host. She does not have the same credentials as Michael Flatley, and sad to say, does not add much to the show.

Last, I can't put my finger exactly on it, but somehow this show is not capturing the magic of these dances. Perhaps after seeing these dances in person, a lot seems missing when seen on TV. Still, I wish this show all the best.
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Uneven Production & Bad Judges Spoil a Good Idea
uber_geek5 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This was a great idea, but the program is sadly uneven and jumps around more than host Michael Flatley in his heyday. Some acts are profiled, some aren't, some judges are asked about their country's entry (a judge can't vote for dancers from his/her country), some aren't. Some of the dancers are long-held professionals and some aren't. Some dancers get to give comments, some don't. Then there's the constant trip to the scoreboard.

Flatley does a great job hosting, Susie Castillo is just there to look pretty and ask (the American solo contestant) on how she feels about her (abysmal) score. The Russian judge is the most fun. The Argentina judge is hugely biased--she spoke down to the aforementioned American tap dancer, an experienced woman who was probably in her 40s and who teaches dance, as if she were some 20 year-old novice. Yet if the dance is bizarre or weird, expect her to score it high.

I agree with others about the scoring. It's boringly consistent and looks a lot like some UN negotiation: Latin America hates the US, the US tries to make friends by kissing up to everyone, Russia and China have a get the idea. The audience would do a better job. Most contestants score an 8. There have been a few 10s and the lowest the individual gets is a 7. And yes, the American couple the first night was robbed! So was the Indian group on Monday who were very energetic and made ME want to get up and dance! The Argentinian judge tends to mark those countries she doesn't like as a 7 as well as spouting nonsense on why she scored them low and how they need to improve in order to get higher marks from her. The US judge marks almost everyone high and China gives almost everyone an 8. There's a lot of ties on the scoreboard because of this.

But I have an answer for the commentator who couldn't "put their finger" on why the magic of the dance wasn't captured. The answer is: the camera work and the editing. It's awful. They back out, then move close up, then show the audience. Just STOP IT! Show the dancers from a respectful distance with a couple of camera angles.
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American Hate
tankeredbell4 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
First of all, I am not American. But either I don't know good dancing when I see it, or these judges are idiots. Their scores are so pathetically overrated or underrated.

This is clearly a show where countries are afraid to rank other countries low. And for the good performances (the American duet) they are afraid to let their competition do better. The American duet was flawless and like nothing I have ever seen before and they got three 7's from Argentina, Australia and the South African judges. I couldn't disagree more.

This show is pathetic. If you must watch it, do so for the dancing because some of it is phenomenal, but for the most part the judges can't score worth sh*t.
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Waste of time
bridgetjones6112 January 2009
This show is truly awful. How can you judge different styles of dance on the same platform? The judges don't explain how they award scores other than telling us whether they liked it or not. If they're from another country they really wouldn't know the first thing about another country's cultural dance. And do they have to make the judges Russian and Chinese judges sooo stereotypical?! Seriously..I'm sure they would never be caught dead in those garish getups. Ridiculous!!! I can't believe this show was an idea from Nigel Lythgoe. Please stop this nonsense and bring So You Think You Can Dance back sooner! Let's get some dancers we can actually connect to!
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Superstars of CIRCUS
Kevin Smart5 January 2009
After two episodes I only saw two actual dances. The rest of the performances can be classified as modern theater or circus acts. The judging is very inadequate and inconsistent. In a show called "Superstars of Dance" the audience and the judges did not get impressed by a tango and a professional ballerina, but gave the highest scores to a kung-fu master, who balanced on the tips of several spears. Aside from contents, which is inconsistent with the topic and title of the show, this production also suffers from bad directing and camera work. Dancers, who are presenting intensive footwork are being filmed from the waist up. The show seems under-rehearsed. My suspicion is that NBC felt like they needed to capitalize on the reality-dance success of their competitors and they rushed this show. People who enjoyed "Dancing With the Stars" and "So you think you can dance" are disappointed with "Superstars of Dance"
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Super Trainwreck of Dance
fred-5135 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
First, let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of So You Think You Can Dance. As a two-left-feet fan of dance, I have thoroughly enjoyed all three seasons of that show and look forward to more. Even with its unavoidable flaws, like the very nature of competition among dancers of vastly different styles and training, the unfortunate elimination of very skilled dancers who drew less exciting styles, etc., SYTYCD has remained a thrilling show that has showcased so many dancing genres and allowed us viewers to watch dancers push their own boundaries. So, when Superstars was promoted, and with SYTYCD producers at the helm, I expected the same greatness on an even larger scale. Wow, what a disappointment! First, the show bites off more than any show could chew. By trying to capitalize on the "international" element, it loses the most important quality of SYTYCD... connecting the audience to the dancers. Instead, it throws a bevy of dancers at us in a pretty ridiculous team-combined-scores format. I spent more time wondering how the competition and scores worked, exactly, than getting excited about the scores or the competition itself. Just as well, since the whole judging thing is pretty ridiculous anyway. As others have pointed out, how do you score and compare such different types of dance? I ended up entertaining myself by trying to remember how to say "seven," "eight" and "nine" in each represented language.

The second flaw is, in my opinion, less-than-amazing dancers. I expected the best of the best... honestly, I've been more awed at local dance recitals. Yes, there are a few that were amazing, like the Aussie contemporary dancer, but just not that many. It's sad knowing we have talent like Danny Tidwell and Travis Wall, then seeing the US soloists competing on this show.

Since So You Think You Can Dance has versions in many countries now, a better show would have been an international version of that, with some of the top competitors from each country. Are you listening, Nigel? So, three stars. I give it one star because it's that bad, but add two stars because Daire Nolan (the Irish judge) is hot, and Mikhail Smirnov (Russian judge) is so darn corny and cute.
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Travel_Gal4 January 2009
This show comes up cannot compare the dancing because it is all so different. I feel sorry for the judges, and I would not even call what the young American guy did "dancing"! (Popping??? What the heck was that???) Sorry, peeps, but give me Dancing With The Stars any day. I am watching it now and the first show is only 1 hour in and I won't likely waste my time watching more episodes. There are far better offerings, but I had to check it out. I rated this show a 1 because there is no Zero! By the way I am not a dancer, just a dance appreciator! It will be very interesting to see how the rest of the world rates this series...
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Terrible and biased
nightdrive236 January 2009
This show was awful. I expected so much more, especially after such fantastic dance shows such as Dancing with the Stars/Strictly Come Dancing, and So You Think You Can Dance. There was nothing fantastic about any of these dancers with the exception of Anya and Pasha (sytycd alumni might I add) or the American duo. I hate the fact that there is this stereotype that all Americans can do is Popping (David Murraine is over-rated) and Hip Hop, but of course that is what we have fore our soloist and group dance. Can we not see some modern or contemporary dancing.

Scoring is crap too, half the judge probably don't understand some of the styles of dances that have been shown on this program. That Argentine Judge is a b****, I couldn't stand her and her negative bias toward the American contestants.

Furthermore as awesome as the Shaolin Monks were, it was just a bunch of circus tricks. This had better be the only season of this show or they need to really re-do the production. Finally, the show needs new hosts, Flatley and Miss U.S.A. are too dry and have no chemistry to be decent hosts. All I know is that for now I can't watch this anymore.
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Really is a Circus....
gapeach16 January 2009
I was so looking forward to seeing this show - but I have to agree with previous comments especially Kevin Smart's - It really should be called: Superstars of Circus.

Three of the judges need to be replaced - Argentina, Australia and South Africa. They are so prejudiced - it is shameful.

I don't want to repeat everything from the previous comment - because he said it so correctly.

The judging is awful as is everything about the show. It has really been a disappointment.

I would love to hear what goes on in the executive producers offices - Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Fuller - they can't be happy.
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MightyMolecule19 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Basically one of the biggest farces concerning dancing that has ever been filmed. Ever. For this scope of show to have been pulled off correctly it would have taken years of preparation, but due to its rushed production feels extremely illegitimate for reasons including but not limited to:

1. Australia literally ripping EVERY theme they attempt (group, solo, duet) from American culture. I'm sorry, but for a continent entirely descendant from British prisoners/slaves and aborigines I find it hard to believe an exact re-imagining of a scene from Broadway's "Rent" as original.

2. Just what the hell IS the judge from South Africa? If you ever wanted to know what would happen if every race and ethnic background merged into one solitary human....

3. There HAS to be more to American dance than hip hop and break dancing. There just HAS to be. Besides, I've seriously seen better group choreography in Times Square from people dancing for a meal. The country is the product of the world, and if it only has that to offer there's better representation elsewhere than ivy/chic dance schools.

4. Australia again with it's unending ability to rip every theme from other countries as there's clearly entire sets of merengue, samba, salsa, and dare I say tango....what the hell, does this kingdom have anything of their own?

5. China = Circus, but then again you can't expect much from a communist country that has abolished everything/anything remotely beautiful that doesn't support the military industrial complex. Sad really.

6. South Africa's undying efforts to pretend that there's actually black people IN/FROM "South" Africa that haven't been oppressed into diamond mines, servant trade, or pushed North let alone allowed to dance for the domain. Sure. Whatever you say neo-Aryans. But then again, it would explain the speeches/reason for being from the quote: "activist" that they allowed on there.

7. The fact that Argentina hasn't already won the duet category automatically rules out the show's judges. But then again, it's understandable that they couldn't perform half of their own heritage and ancestrally-themed dances when Australia is too busy trying to cast them off as theirs.

8. That Russian judge......well, no actually, he's the only good thing about the show...and that's kind of sad. His humor is as funny as it's politically incorrect.

9. India = redundant. You'd think a providence that consists of over a billion humans of which 90% are under the age of 25 would roll out some divergence, diversity, and energy....nope....instead your left with the same old boring gyrations of their fore-father's father's fathers and a whole lot of representation of doomsday breeding. Thank you come again.

10. Ireland, oh, Ireland. The only country that actually does its OWN particular dance heritage and ONLY it's own. At this level you really do see how so-so all that so-so foot work is.

11. As with number 7, but concerning Russia. The fact that any of the judges even had to think about it (even for a nano-second) and not simply give huge scores to the ballerina set...let alone why Russia hasn't blown out the solo category already rules out the show altogether in complete and utterly undeniable absolution like the fist of Stalin. The ballet is perhaps one of the most disciplined aspects of human performance in figure and technique ever to have been created. I'm sorry this show deserved a large "FAIL" stamp after that one.

12. The judge for South Africa and "its" (see number 2) countless rants about specializing in male-female themes in regards to dancing. And if you pay close attention this is where the REAL South Africa lies in hiding. Apparently "it" only believes in male-lead routines and as such immediately showcases "its" limitations in dance knowledge and ignorance and also the oppressive/dominative ideals of a repressive land-grant that is the borders of South Africa.

13. The show's obvious promotion and goal of ethnic, racial, and cultural stereotyping that it itself even manages to fail at (i.e. not checking Australia at the door) results in a terrible experience, switching to ABC/CBS stations, and well, stereotyping comments like this which are unfortunately true.
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good intentions, arbitrary and inconsistent execution
fontgoddess7 January 2009
While watching all of the dance shows available on television today, I have gotten excited about the many forms and styles of dance that they show, especially those with an international flavor. I've been hoping for a television show to highlight the diversity and excitement of the world's dance. Superstars of Dance tries to do that, but is hobbled by its concept and execution.

The first problem is the theme of a global dance competition. Due to understandable resource limitations, only a handful of countries and dancers can participate. The selection of the countries and dancers is unexplained and seems very haphazard. Some dancers seem chosen for their professional accomplishments, and others for their entertainment value. Neither are bad qualifications, but the diversity borders on complete randomness. This is a big problem for an audience hoping to view this show as a serious international competition. The mystery behind the choices of judges, countries, and dancers makes the competition seem unfair at the very least.

Because of the demands of modern network television, this show has a competition format. I don't think this is an inherent problem, but it is handled poorly. For starters, the judges seem to have no guidelines on how they give their scores, giving them without consistent reasons. This makes the scoring incredibly variable and makes it seem unfair, more so than can be attributed to the subjective nature of judging. The judges make comments talking about dance content, difficulty, and performance without applying those standards evenly to all the contestants. Also, the contestants were obviously given no clue as to what the judges were going to be looking at. I'm sure if several groups knew they were going to be judged so harshly for not having enough "dance content," they would have given different performances. I believe that the participants were given such a vague outline of what the show was going to be, they aimed to please the crowds and then were penalized by the judges for that. That strikes me as disingenuous.

One last problem is the filming of the show itself. On So You Think You Can Dance, for example, it is obvious that the dancers have practiced with the cameras and the choreography takes the cameras into account. This improves both the dancing and the filming, making even a lackluster performance at least coherent. Superstars of Dance lacks that professional polish, and it shows glaringly. If the dance cannot be conveyed well to the television audience, then it doesn't make a very good TV show.

Superstars of Dance has shown improvement between its first and second episodes. The judges have become more consistent, and the unscripted banter with the judges and the contestants is slightly better. Unfortunately, the deep flaws in the setup of the show will last the whole season, and I don't think this show will get another season for it to improve.

I, for one, will keep watching. I find world dance interesting enough that I can grit my teeth through the flaws and enjoy seeing dances that are new to me. Sadly, I cannot whole- heartedly recommend this show to others, especially if they have access to other dance shows, either live or on television.
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Shameless self promotions.
miss-sussex5 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this show for the first time at work knowing Michael Flatley was in it and have to say that it was very disappointing. I came in assuming I would see some A class dancing that only shows like Dancing with the stars and those PBS showcase shows with ballroom dancing and other forms of dancing would provide but I was bored. The only surprise (only inadequately ) was watching some Irish dancers (possible flatley's own) perform flatley's choreography from Lord of The Dance. Seen it , saw it, and I no longer love it. Show me something new please. Flatley was lame as a host as well and NBC could have done way better with this show.
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Good dancing, horrible camera-work.
PrimeCipher6 January 2009
I agree with Pro Jury in that this show does not capture the magic of the dances and I think I know why - the absolutely atrocious camera-work. Even though I believe I would truly enjoy the show, I can't bear to watch it due to constant frustration with being unable to witness what I'm sure the dancers and choreographers want us to see. Additionally I agree that it seems difficult to judge such disparate dance styles. I'm no professional, but I couldn't understand most of the judge's opinions – they seemed completely arbitrary. One thing I can't agree with is that Michael Flatley is a good host – he is too rigid and everything he says seems forced and unnatural to me.
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Glued to the set
Ariel6 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I love watching dance shows (not Dancing with the Stars..) where they show different styles of dance from popping to Bollywood to Contemporary. This show completely indulges me and keeps me glued to the TV. Russian Ballet dances, American Poppers, Irish Tap Dancers, they have it all, heck they even have Chinese Monks that Dance-Fight! Only problem I have is some of the judges aren't well educated in some forms of dance and when they grade them they sometimes look stupid. Like the Judge from Argentina putting down Popping because it didn't look like dance.. um what planet is this lady from because everyone should know what it is by now. Anyway to get to the point WATCH IT if you love to watch people dance and are curious as to the cultural dance of other Nations.
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