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James Hibberd



These Kids Can Dance

July 26, 2006 11:38 AM

It’s not often that a press tour session begins with some interpretive West Coast swing, but this is Fox we’re talking about. At the press tour session for the summer reality hit “So You Think You Can Dance?” Tuesday, cousins Benji and Heidi cut up the stage, along with rival couple Travis and Allison. Critics actually applauded afterward, and for once it was deserved.

The four dancers reappeared onstage just moments later, along with the other four finalists, four judges, host Cat Deeley and executive producer and host Nigel Lythgoe.

One critic wanted to know if the dancers, most of who have been training for years, are enjoying a newfound popularity with the show, which has made dancing cool among the kids.

Benji noted that he had received an email from an “old school bully” who wanted to apologize for spitting on him and making his life miserable in high school.

“It’s really neat to see how so many people can be inspired.”

Another critic asked Lythgoe why the winning dancer will receive such a small prize—an SUV, Las Vegas dance contract and $100,000—compared to the cool million he gives on some other show of his, called “American Idol.”

“If you give somebody a million dollars as a dancer, you’re almost detracting from the dancer,” he said, noting that the cash on “Idol” is not a prize but a contract from a recording company. The top 10 kids are not going to be hurting for leg warmers and tap shoes, however. Lythgoe is trying to organize a multi-city dance tour that will feature the final ten dancers.

“Hopefully that will generate some money for them,” he said.

Choreographer Dan Karaty was asked what it’s like to work with big music stars. He admitted that Britney Spears picks his steps up quickly, but some other performers, “like Jessica Simpson takes a really long time to learn things.”

Something tells me that’s true of other things as well.

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