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SLC cheers (while NYC dancers sneer) at ‘So You Think You Can Dance’
Television » Producers say it has been good for the world of dance — as Utahns dominate spotlight in “So You Think You Can Dance.”

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On the flip side, Utahn Gadduang made it all the way to the finals of Season 9 based on his performance and his smile.

"You can’t underestimate somebody who’s got a tremendous heart and soul," said judge Mary Murphy. "And that’s what Tadd had."

At a glance

‘So You Think You Can Dance’

Season 9 of the reality TV series premieres Thursday, May 24, at 7 p.m. on Fox/Channel 13. It moves to its regular time slot on Wednesday, May 30, at 7 p.m. This year, the show will air once a week instead of twice.

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Dancing diversity » A big part of the "SYTYCD" challenge is learning many routines in many disciplines — from ballroom to jazz to hip-hop.

Murphy, who was also annoyed by the Times story, said, "I would have loved to turn around to that prima ballerina that made those statements and say, ‘Why don’t you give this a try? Let’s see how good you are when you have to go outside your style. Because, let me tell you, it’s really difficult. To knock some of these kids and some of these performances that are outside their style is ridiculous."

What contestants endure has to be stressful, said Ballet West demi-soloist Rex Tilton. "That’s the first thing I think of watching that show, especially for a dancer that’s not real well-rounded," he said. "All the stuff they have to learn in such a quick time."

The contestants’ lack of time before performances is impressive, Bennett said. "What they accomplish in such a short amount of time is just remarkable."

Popularizing dance » Given the proliferation of dance shows in the past eight years, it’s easy to forget that Fox took a risk launching "SYTYCD." Deeley said she never expected to host a dance show on an American broadcast network.

"No way!" she said. "Maybe on the Sundance Channel. But on Fox? Dancing for the mainstream? When would that ever exist?"

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And given that millions of Americans have watched the show over the past eight seasons, it has raised the profile of dance and dancers. "It’s definitely made dance more popular," Murphy said. "It’s definitely opened up the world of dance."

And it brought dance into living rooms, in the most meaningful way since the 1950s, said judge Adam Shankman. "It has absolutely given a renewed respect in our culture to the world of dance," Shankman said.

Lythgoe pointed to his efforts to make dance a part of school curriculums, and to studies that indicate that not only is dance great exercise, but it also can help stave off Alzheimer’s disease.

"This not only improves your health and the obesity problem in this country, it improves your brain," he said. "So why the hell are we disrespecting dance as much as we do? And why the hell would people who are in the world of dance disrespect anybody else who goes into movement? I do not comprehend it. It’s stupid and it’s elitist and we have to stop it."


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