We have television to thank for a serious dance renaissance. TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars have introduced a new generation to the joys of the samba, the waltz, and the quickstep, while High School Musical (and now, Glee) brought song-and-dance production numbers back into vogue. Suddenly it seems like the world's gone dance crazy. Of course, geeks like me, who grew up watching the great movie musicals, have been dance crazy for most of our lives.
On this week's episode of SYTYCD, show producer/judge Nigel Lythgoe lectured a pair of dancers about the importance of telling a story through choreography, instructing them that technical proficiency isn't enough --the audience wants to understand who the characters are, what the relationship is, and what they're trying to convey. Well, if he'd wanted to illustrate that concept, Lythgoe could do worse than to point his young contestants at 1953's The Band Wagon, starring Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse. Directed by the great Vincente Minnelli, the musical tells the story of an aging hoofer who hopes to reinvigorate his career by starring in a hilariously awful musical interpretation of Faust, which turns out to be such a disaster that he and his comely co-star, along with the show's writers (Oscar Levant and Nanette Fabray), have to create an entirely new show on the fly to replace it.