Saturday, July 28, 2007

Apologize? Oh, Wait, We're On FOX

OK, a not-so-guilty confession: I watch, and love, So You Think You Can Dance, FOX's American Idol of dance. Any one of the top twenty dancers on that show could be doing professional work, and any one of these last eight could be doing almost any style of professional work. But I'm here to talk about choreographer Mia Michael's wardrobe malfunction and Wade Robson's anti-war routine: not because there was anything wrong with any of them, but because they had to publicly apologize for them. If anything, the apology is what made me aware that there could even be a negative slant to what they'd done . . .

What did they do, you're wondering? Well, apparently something on the very slick and somewhat totalitarian blazer she wore was upside down, and apparently this wrong-faced symbol -- this symbol that nobody would've otherwise noticed -- caused a big stink a division of the US Military. We should be thankful, I guess, that this talented modern choreographer isn't answering questions in Guantanimo right now, on trial for demoralizing our troops (ala Tokyo Rose), but seriously: she's allowed to wear what she wants, with impunity. Granted, there are some symbols that have been corrupted, like the swastika, but to have to apologize for a pretty much unseen, unheard, non-politically motivated fashion faux pas . . . that's pretty petty of the military (who, I'm sure, have nothing better to do than watch So You Think You Can Dance through a fine-toothed comb).

As for Wade, well, this eclectic and interpretive guru choreographed a routine that was about making love, not war, and about peace, expression, freedom, and the good qualities that we'd like to see in our countrymen. Obviously, this must be an anti-war statement, and one that's specifically targeted at the soldiers, who clearly--clearly!--are less brave and courageous because of a commercially marketed dance competition.

I wonder if these two Emmy-nominated choreographers were singled out by their competition. The larger issue, of course, is what this says about the freedom of artists to express themselves in any space larger than a dusty 99-seat theater on the Lower East Side. Should they somehow manage to get into primetime with--gasp--a message, worry not, they'll be squashed, and made to kowtow. We have plenty of things to fight about, and to fight for. This is not one of them.