Thursday, July 29, 2010

Nakul Dev Mahajan: Bollywood Uses Many World Dance Styles, He Says on SYTYCD

Did anyone else notice that Bollywood choreographer Nakul Dev Mahajan of So You Think You Can Dance stressed during last night's episode that Bollywood draws from many world dance styles? I think that was Mahajan's chance to correct what Mia Michaels said three weeks ago when she criticized AdéChiké for adding an African flavor to his Bollywood moves. As I hoped to convey in my post after that episode when I said Mahajan has trained in African tribal dance is that it's highly probable AdéChiké didn't give the routine an African flavor; Mahajan did.

Tonight during the clip of Robert and Billy learning the steps to a new Mahajan Bollywood routine, the choreographer shouted out a dance style during part of the training in a comical way, "Hip Hop/Hip Hop/Hip Hop!" I guess he didn't want a repeat of the judges showing their ignorance about Bollywood, especially Mia's ignorance, which was quite insulting. And the judges complied by praising the performance.

I thought I had heard that before that Bollywood incorporates multiple dance styles, but I couldn't find any documentation online three weeks ago or I would have linked to it in the post back then.

When I wrote about that incident with AdéChiké and Mia, however, I commented that Mahajan stood up when Cat Deeley questioned that the judges seemed to be criticizing the black dancer for doing exactly what they'd praised José for doing during his Bollywood number early in the season, which was to add his own flavor. I suspected then that Mahajan disagreed with Mia's critique. I perceived that there was an "African" feel to some of AdéChiké's movement as well, but unlike Mia, I didn't think it was wrong to have a taste of Africa in a Bollywood number.

I still don't think Mia's comment was racist. She's simply rude, and sometimes she's not even rude. She just neglects to put the sugar on her comments that Adam Shankman and Nigel Lythgoe do. Someone should remind her to always find something encouraging to say because her fellow Americans are easily offended on behalf of their favorite dancers.

Nevertheless, I have been watching her more since people have been claiming she exhibits racist attitudes, trying to gauge if her rudeness is disproportionately directed to dancers of color. She was abrupt with José tonight following his Hip Hop routine with Comfort, but I guess that doesn't count because in the past she's been overly enamored of him. So, jury's still out.


Anonymous said...

have you noticed that aday is the only allstart that never gets praised?

Vérité Parlant said...

I have noticed that. It's really started to bug me. They've praised all of them, but Ade and it's definitely a pattern.