Okay, we'll go on record and say that we are BIG fans of Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance." Watching young people pursue their artistic dreams -- and dancing their hearts out -- makes great TV! Plus we just love our favorites: Jeanine, Ade, and Brandon.
If you're a fan too (or even if you're not, but you love to dance), you might want to check out two brand new DVD's from the SYTYCD folks: "Get Fit - Tone & Groove" and "Get Fit - Cardio Funk." Both DVD's feature dance workouts in different styles taught by dancers from the last three seasons: Hip-Hop with Twitch (Season 4), Jazz with Katee (Season 4), Cha-Cha with Dmitry (Season 2), Contemporary with Travis (Season 2), Disco with Courtney (Season 4), and Hip-Hop with Lauren (Season 3).
The workout routines are short and easy to learn, and there's a dance warmup and cool-down on each disc -- plus bonus interviews with the dancers. You won't get as intense a workout as, say, going for a run or swimming laps, but if you want to do something quick to get started in the morning or just want to dance out some stress, you might find these DVD's to be perfect. They'd also make for a cool activity with friends, a sib, or a parent. We like that they're aimed at people of all ages, and all dancing skill levels.
As SYTYCD producer Nigel Lythgoe says in an interview on the DVD, it's true that not everyone can dance...but everyone can move. And that's what matters -- moving to express yourself, get some exercise, bust out with your buds, shake off some anger or tension...whatever!
IML's Rating: B+
It's also fun to get "instruction" from these dancers we've enjoyed watching in the past. IML got the chance to talk to Katee Shean -- one of Season 4's breakout stars -- about this project and her advice for young dancers in general!
IML: Can you tell us about working on this DVD?
Katee: The experience was really fun. There were people from seasons 2, 3, and 4 working on it, and everybody has different stories and different experiences from the show so we all got close real fast. It's the first time any of us had done something like this, and fortunately we were working with fitness trainers who showed us how to instruct people, breaking the movements down. And I think everybody is really excited for the finished product.
IML: Was this your first time teaching dance?
Katee: I do go around the country and teach master dance classes, but this is the first time I'd done something focused on fitness. When you teach dancers in a dance class, there's a vocabulary and certain movements they already know. With these routines, we had to think about how to choreograph and teach them so that anybody could understand them.
IML: So tell us a little about what you've been doing in the year since you were on SYTYCD!
Katee: The past year has been crazy! I finished the SYTYCD tour, where we did 42 cities. After that, I've been flying to different states teaching master classes, intensives, and choreography. I just finished filming "Step Up 3D" in New York. And I've done some TV stuff too. It's been a whirlwind and I've been working, which has been great.
IML: Does it feel a little unreal to actually be making a living as a dancer?
Katee: Yes! I'm so blessed to be able to do what I love and be making money from it. I mean, I would do it for free because dance is my outlet, so I really appreciate being able to live out my dream. Being able to dance and travel -- I can't ask for more.
IML: We know you've been dancing since you were little. When you were growing up, especially during the tween and teen years, what did dancing add to your life?
Katee: I think it taught me at a very young age how to be disciplined and stay focused. I wasn't out at parties going crazy. I went from school to dance class to rehearsals...It taught me how to prioritize my time and focus on getting to where I wanted to be. You know, to make time for everything; you make time for homework, for your friends, for your family...and for dancing as well. Growing up, dance was always my passion. If dance wasn't there, I don't really know what route I would have taken! I'm so glad I found it at an early age and kept with it.
IML: What's your advice for young people who are interested in pursuing dance, but aren't sure how far to go or if they're good enough to "make it"?
Katee: I would not let the fear of not being good enough to ever bring you down! There are so many outlets for dance. You could be working at a theme park, a TV show, in movies, on Broadway. I feel like there's always room for everyone in the dance world. When I started off, I had two left feet...and clown feet at that! I definitely think that if you work hard and want something, you'll keep working until you're satisfied and get to where you want to go. I think at the end of the day, it's the things that don't come easy as a dancer that can be most rewarding. For instance, I know I don't have perfect technique or turnout; my body's not built that way and I'll never have it. But when you get there and achieve something knowing it was hard, instead of having it come easy, it means so much more.
IML: Katee, that is great advice! Thank you so much and good luck to you!