The move to Fall isn’t the only big change this season for So You Think You Can Dance, season 6 also features a brand new stage. Apparently the producers of So You Think You Can Dance thought a bigger audience meant they needed a bigger flashier stage, but I passionately disagree with that point.

The new stage, which seems to be a modified, more neon and annoying version of the season 5 finale stage, has taken away almost all of the intimacy and interest that so perfectly showcased the dancers and performances of previous seasons.

The enormity of the stage seems to swallow the dancers, dwarfing their movements and choreography making everything smaller and less impactful. Dances that would have been gut wrenchingly emotional pieces on the smaller, simpler stage of season’s past, now seem cold and more difficult to connect with. Two shows into last season, I felt a deep connection with most of the contestants. I felt I’d gotten to see them up close and personal, I knew their movement and had felt the emotion it contained. Two shows into this season, and I still feel like I’m watching strangers dance, in large part thanks to quick camera cuts and a stage design which takes away from the dancers.

Not to mention the new stage limits the creative entrances of past seasons. Without the stairs or the side stage entrances there’s only a few ways you can start a rourtine creatively. I’d venture that’s why we’ve seen more routines than ever this season start in a lift or with contestants hiding behind a prop ala Pauline and Peter’s Starry Night tree, or Karen and Kevin’s pile of tires.

Not only is the stage ridiculously gigantic, yet somehow more limiting than the smaller stage, the digitized screen and background take attention away from the dancers and choreography. Take this week’s top 18 performance show, which featured a digital Taj Mahal to remind me Mollee and Nathan were dancing a Bollywood routine. Or the incredibly distracting moving 10 story tall digitized Starry Night screen behind Pauline and Peter. If a routine needs that kind of background to engage a viewer or tell the story, the choreography is either lacking or the story too complicated.

And don’t even get me started on how those gigantic digital backgrounds make it virtually impossible to see the things we should be paying attention to: the dancers, their lines, and quality of movement. Some of the neon background makes it appear as if a dancer’s leg has pixelated tracers following them on faster movements. I know this season is filled with dancers with jaw dropping technique and it’s a travesty that the new stage takes away from that, rather than highlighting and complimenting it.

Lest you think it’s just me who’s horribly distracted and disastified with the new stage. Just read a sample of some of the comments from your fellow frustrated So You Think You Can Dance fans.

FanfromtheStart said: “I watched in horror last night (almost throwing my remote at the screen)a show that is no longer about quality dancing for a TV audience. The overwhelming lighting, video billboard, ugly ever-present grid neon set and quick-cut camera work choices all showcase technicians other than the fantastic dancers who should be center stage.”

Bonnyblue said: “I HATE the new set. It is so distracting. The roundness of the design completely dwarfs the dancers and then the back ground screen it beyond obnoxious, I can hardly see the dancers at all and I no longer feel like I’m part of the magic that I’ve experienced in the past few years.”

HappyPuppy said:
“The starry night Wade Robson routine drove it home for me. The background was so distracting that I had a hard time making out the dancers. I watch SYTYCD for the dancing – not to stare at pixelated graphics.”

NikkiRap said: “I understand they’re trying to bring the show up to an American Idol level, but the stage does not work for a dance show. It’s too large and the neon lights are too distracting (it looks like they’re dancing on a space ship). The old stage was much more intimate and showcased the dancer’s talent, not the success of the show.”

While I’m sure FOX spent a pretty penny on the new stage, I say it’s time they cut their losses before they lose what made the show such a hit in the first place: an audience passionate about watching the art of dance in a venue that allowed them feel a connection with the contestants. To retain that core audience, So You Think You Can Dance needs a stage where the dancers are the stars, not stage or screen behind it. We’re begging you So You Think You Can Dance, bring back the old stage. Or at the very very least, please knock of the neon lights and pixilated moving backgrounds.  

If you think FOX should go back to the old stage, leave a comment here. If a lot of you comment or sign it, we’ll treat it as a petition and try to make sure the So You Think You Can Dance powers that be see it.

–Abbey Simmons, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image Courtesy of FOX)

Abbey Simmons

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV