Nowadays. dance reality show is one of the most popular form of television program around the world, which draws considerable attention to people. Most forms of the dance show is competition between the individuals, and there will be a panel of professional judges to comment on their performance. In Canada, the dancers and genre are more diverse than other countries. As the dance show is cultural constructed, the representation that behind the dance reality show is pretty deep and complicated.
The structure of the dance reality shows in Canada link with neoliberalism and multiculturalism, which helps form identity, such as race, ethnicity and gender. In the article “Hey, We’re from Canada but We’re Diverse, Right? “: Neoliberalism, Multiculturalism, and Identity on So You Think You Can Dance Canada”, Jade Boyd examines neoliberalism and multiculturalism through studying on the first season of a globally hot dance show called So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCDC), which gives a few interesting and remarkable ideas about the reality show today, and let the audience have view such reality shows in a new way.
Summary and Analysis of the Article First of all, it is important to know that the reality shows are constructed representation of recognized stereotypes and cultural symbolism, rather than the reality. It is essential to understand the following ideas. The central ideology of SYTYCDC is based on the principle of the neoliberalism. Specifically, the author states that the concept of dance should cooperate with freedom. In the West, dance is not only represent freedom, it is also “the project of overcoming the structural barriers of social inequality through an embodied physical transformation” (Boyd 2012).
In such reality show, the contestants usually are all ordinary people, it could create intimacy with the viewers. The producers want to emphasize that the ordinary people could transform into a star through hard work, talent, and “authenticity”. Therefore, people could overcome those inequality from class, race and gender through dance to achieve self-transformation. In this process, the myth and failure would be individual problem, and the success is based on the principle of neoliberalism of self-discipline, enterprise and productivity.
Here, the author claims that the idea of neoliberalism is not only to do with the governing practice of economic and social policies that attributes to unregulated markets, but also related to “the discourse of personal responsibility, “autonomy, enterprise and choice” (Boyd, 2012). In fact, the neoliberalism in the dance show can be considered as a positive factor which may encourage individual to pursuit their dreams through hard working, and transform themselves from ordinary people into stars.
Although the show is constructed by the producers that contradict “authenticity, the message that they sent to the viewers are not always negative. In addition, multiculturalism is emerged in Canadian version of SYTYCDC. Multiculturalism is an official state policy. The central ideology is inclusion that tolerant of cultural diversity. In the article, Boyd provides specific details of some contestant’s stories from their auditions and finalist performance of the season one SYTYCD to state that the producers of the show values dance diversity and multiculturalism, even make multiculturalism and neoliberalism as the theme of the show.
In the audition of season one of SYTYCDC, there are a few contestants’ stories about representing First Nation people or having refugee/immigrant statues are highlighted rather than their dance skills. In the finalist performance,mostly, the judges’ comments on the constants are based on the national identity to shows the idea of Canadian inclusion as a theme in the show to a great extend. For example, after the first dance which performed by Arassy and Nico, the evaluation of their performance are focus on gender and nationalism.
Mention of physical strength, technique, and collaborative kinesthetic ability required to perform the choreography is absent from the penal discussion. What becomes central to the judges’s evaluation is Arassy’s supposedly innate racialized sexuality and her national identity” (Boyd, 2012). The judges also emphasize inclusion to Arassy when they knew she immigrant from Cuba. As Arassy, the following dancers’ performance also draw upon the discourses of Canadian identity as inclusive. Their performances are interpreted as natural and authentic.
The images that the producer want to reveal to the viewers is the acceptance of the dance diversity which implies to acceptance of culture diversity in the show and the idea about inclusion of multiculturalism. The mention of dancer’s stories about their national identit their race and ethnicity are attributed to the diversity of the show. Although the show commodify the difference between individuals to form new citizen identity, it is still a good thing to see a variety of dance forms and performance in the show.
What is more, according to the author’s analysis of the season one SYTYCDC , besides neoliberalism and multiculturalism, it implies that the dance reality show also challenge inequality. It gives both the contestants and the audience illusion that the inequality of class, race or ethnicity is disappear on the stage through multiculturalism. It keeps emphasizing that diversity is important for the show. As the show commodify the identity of difference, it obscures the inequality when new identity is formed. Conclusion
In short, this article draws a deep understanding on the theme of neoliberalism and multiculturalism in the season one of Canadian version of SYTYCDC. The author explores this dance reality show through many different aspects and provide a lot of interpretations about how neoliberalism and multiculturalism are emerged in the show. The popularity of the dance reality show in Canada is noticeable, but most of the fans may not realize its representation and cultural meaning behind each scenes when they are watching it.
Although the reality shows are constructed with strong representation pattern, it is not always negative. The reason why the article is interesting and attractive is because the author choose SYTYCDC as the case study to exposure the theme, which make the interests of readers and stimulate them continue to read. Also, the authors gives much background information about this dance show so that even the reader who does not have any knowledge about SYTYCDC can still understand.