Thursday, September 24, 2009

In Praise of Diversity in the Absence of Talent on ABDC

How does diversity enhance dancing abilities? It doesn’t.

And that was on full display this season on MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew. It's about to come to an end, with the final two crews being Afroborike, representing Latinos and We are Heroes, an all-girl crew of various ethnicities. This season also featured a transgender man leading a troop of Vogue-ers from New York City.

It seems like a concerted effort was made when choosing crews for this season to choose dancers who were diverse rather than the most talented, with an emphasis on all-female crews and those with a "different" factor. I say that with all due respect to the dancers who represented this season, but with much more respect for all of the crews of the past seasons.

Last season, with crews that represented a wide range of dance styles including clogging, I don't recall any special mention of how diverse the dancers were. The judges mentioned the diversity of this season's dancers at every possible opportunity when judging the performances each week. To their credit, however, they also pointed out this is the weakest season by far. They had to, there’s not one crew this season that would have made it past week one up against literally any crew from any past season.

I wonder if the irony was not lost on the judges. Each week they ripped into the dancers telling them how they need to step it up, while simultaneously praising their diversity. It seems to me diversity for the sake of diversity has to be applauded in the absence of talent.

You shouldn't stack the deck and lower the bar just to get the result you want-and you don't have to. With a nation full of talented, eager dancers who would love to audition for this show, you organically get a range of whatever the gender, nationality or ethnicity of the people would naturally represent. The winners rise to the top based on their talent, and that should be enough.

One of the judges made sure to point out last week that regardless of which crew won, since one crew is all female and the other is half females, "a woman will hold the trophy for the first time this season." That comment spoke volumes and pretty much removed any doubt I had about whether this "season of diversity" was forced or just a natural occurrence.

Isn't the point of the show for the best dance crew to win? Regardless of the gender or ethnicity of the dancers? I guess JabbaWockeeZ had the right idea dancing in masks.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds a little like the Kurt Vonnegut short story, "Harrison Bergeron".