There's hope for reality TV haters in World of Dance

by Catherine Woulfe / 14 January, 2018
RelatedArticlesModule - World of Dance TV television

World of Dance, Sunday.

World of Dance enthrals even viewers who have a strict policy of not watching talent shows. 

I’ve long had a policy regarding singing/dancing/talent shows of wishing a plague upon the genre. But let’s spare just this one show. World of Dance (Bravo, Sunday, 8.30pm) is Jennifer Lopez’s baby. The prize is a million bucks – $1.4m in our money. Lopez judges, along with Derek (Dancing with the Stars) Hough and R&B star Ne-Yo.

The audience has zero say, thanks very much. There’s no social-media streaming across the screen, no backstage interviews, no judges spinning in their chairs or thumping oversized buzzers, no Simon Cowell or America rah-rah, no abject cruelty. Just dancing. Really quite freakishly great dancing.

French identical twins Larry and Laurent Nicolas Bourgeois – “Les Twins” – have spent six years dancing for Beyoncé and they move as if they don’t have bones in their bodies. Then there’s Keone and Mari, the sinuous husband-and-wife contemporary dancers from Justin Bieber’s Love Yourself video (where the couple dance through waking up, getting dressed, having breakfast – and breaking up; it’s so gorgeous it’s worth enduring the Biebs).

Eleven-year-old sprat Diana Pombo dances her wee heart out and has J Lo shrieking, “She just wiped her head with her foot!” She did, indeed.

The only moment of mediocrity in the first episode is NXT LVL, a meaty troupe of Californian cloggers (like tap but with clompy shoes), who spend a too-long two seconds stomping on stage before beaming at the judges and being mercifully sent on their way, hopefully to learn about that helpful letter, E.

Backstage there’s Step Up star Jenna Dewan Tatum, dressed as if she’s been partially swallowed by an albino python. She’s allegedly the host and dance mentor, but that’s limited to the briefest of shoulder-squeezes and squees. This is good, because it means more time for dancing and comments from the judges, who seem legitimately invested and delighted by what they’re watching.

“Super-smooth, super-together,” raves Ne-Yo over the first act. “You guys are water, man. Water.”

Twenty-five countries are represented here. There are no age limits and no restrictions on style (hence the clogging), and dancers can enter as individuals or groups. Lopez calls it “the Olympics of dance”. They’ll start with qualifiers, go on to duels, something called “the cut”, divisional finals, then world finals.

And hey, New Zealand is in with a shot: this first series features Auckland hip-hop crew Mini ReQuest, trained by Parris Goebel.

This article was first published in the January 13, 2018 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

Latest

How NZ women won the right to vote first: The original disruptors & spiteful MPs
96463 2018-09-19 00:00:00Z History

How NZ women won the right to vote first: The orig…

by Vomle Springford

Is it right that while the loafer, the gambler, the drunkard, and even the wife-beater has a vote, earnest, educated and refined women are denied it?

Read more
Fémmina: The story of NZ's unsung suffrage provocateur Mary Ann Müller
96479 2018-09-19 00:00:00Z History

Fémmina: The story of NZ's unsung suffrage provoca…

by Cathie Bell

Mary Ann Müller was fighting for women’s rights before Kate Sheppard even arrived here, but her pioneering contribution to the cause is little known.

Read more
How Marilyn Waring went from political prodigy to international influencer
96505 2018-09-19 00:00:00Z Profiles

How Marilyn Waring went from political prodigy to …

by Clare de Lore

Marilyn Waring is nearing the last chapter of an account of her time as an MP, which ended abruptly with the calling of a snap election.

Read more
Ian McKellen charms his way through a documentary about his life
96472 2018-09-19 00:00:00Z Movies

Ian McKellen charms his way through a documentary …

by James Robins

Joe Stephenson’s tender documentary Playing the Part looks at McKellen's life as an actor, activist and perpetual wizard.

Read more
The Chosen Bun: A smart new burger joint opens in Stonefields
96507 2018-09-19 00:00:00Z Auckland Eats

The Chosen Bun: A smart new burger joint opens in …

by Alex Blackwood

Burgers, milkshakes and fries are not rare things to find in Auckland, so The Chosen Bun's owners were smart to be very picky about their ingredients.

Read more
The brutality experienced by the suffragettes
11636 2018-09-19 00:00:00Z Listener NZ 2015

The brutality experienced by the suffragettes

by Sally Blundell

As we mark 125 years since NZ women got the right to vote, we must remember it didn't come easily.

Read more
The case for closing prisons
96403 2018-09-18 00:00:00Z Social issues

The case for closing prisons

by Paul Little

If we want a prison system that does a better job than the current one, alternatives aren’t hard to find.

Read more
Jennifer Curtin: The feminist political scientist mixing rugby with politics
96422 2018-09-18 00:00:00Z Profiles

Jennifer Curtin: The feminist political scientist …

by Clare de Lore

Australian-New Zealander Jennifer Curtin says the lopsided nature of the Bledisloe Cup pales in comparison to the slump in transtasman relations.

Read more