Dance 100 Review 2023 Tv Show Series Cast Crew Online
Reality TV competitions which require professionals to compete with other professionals, thus putting their reputations and perhaps even careers on the line, are usually excellent. MasterChef the Professionals is more fraught with peril than regular old MasterChef. There’s always that moment when a head chef of many years’ standing reveals that they have no idea how to butterfly a chicken, or whip up a quick béarnaise sauce, or grill a slice of toast. Ditto the high pressure of Bake Off: The Professionals, which puts its pastry chefs through hellishly difficult feats of chocolatiering. Now the same principle has been applied in Dance 100, a new Netflix series that pits professional dancers against each other to find the “next superstar choreographer”.
Much to my disappointment, Dance 100 turns out not to be a remake or spin-off of Physical 100, the smash hit Korean fitness-fest, though I did like the idea of a Hunger Games for contemporary dancers. My main reference point for dancers remains In Bed With Madonna, and on the basis of that, I suspect that concept might have been even more ruthless than pitting bodybuilders against MMA fighters and military veterans. Instead, there are eight contestants, each with a degree of prominence in the dance world. The 100 of the title are dancers, who serve as participants in the routines, as well as audience, judge and jury.
Every episode, the routines grow in size and scope. At first, the contestants must choreograph a short routine with seven other dancers; by the final episode, the last two standing have to work with all 100 at once. At the end of each challenge, the 100 dancers decide which choreographer leaves the competition, by standing behind the one whose routine they like best. The person with the least support goes home, and someone wins $100,000, though the money seems almost superfluous.
As always, these shows depend on the calibre of the contestants. Each of them has been carefully chosen to represent a spectrum of personalities. There’s Keenan, who has worked with Cardi B and Dua Lipa and seems like a consummate pro. There’s Janick, who goes for a more gauzy, laid-back vibe. There’s nerdy Rex, who says people assume he’s a “math tutor” or works in IT, who cranks out a cybergoth routine to Dead Prez’s Hip-Hop. And there’s Akira, a beacon of positivity, who choreographs a routine inspired by a toxic relationship explaining how she turned her pain into her passion.
In many respects, this is good-natured reality TV. These are talented people, showing off their skills on a bigger stage than they might be used to. The feedback from the 100 is mostly encouraging, even if it is hard for the layperson to decipher what it is they are actually trying to say. “So visually appealing to watch,” says one. “Real recognises real,” nods host Ally Love, whose unparalleled enthusiasm really carries it along.
Some of the critiques do have a sting. One contestant is told that “he did the best that he could” by one of his own dancers, which is scathing; another is entirely deserted by all the people on their team. Yet criticism is met with that modern reality TV tic of the recipient graciously nodding and thanking the person for their feedback. You get the sense that someone could tell them their entire routine was a stinking pile of slop that should never again assault the eyes and they’d nod blankly and appreciate the honesty. In an otherwise energetic show, perky to the end, it’s an oddly deadened response, and saps the sincerity. I am starting to miss the days when a reality TV contestant would get stroppy about being told they didn’t do a good enough job.
Still, this is perfectly watchable and entertaining, if mildly exhausting, and its heart is in the right place. I remain in awe of the deeply impressive skill and physicality. But as someone not au fait with the technical side, I suffer a little from what I’ll call Strictly syndrome: I am completely unable to judge whether a routine is any good or not. Do I think a choreographer has smashed it? Yes. Do they get a lot of “feedback” and have to quietly take it and promise to grow? Also yes. I do not have a clue whether something “needed a lot of face” or more “staging, formation … a little bit of sex”. It doesn’t really matter. It is so very visually appealing to watch.