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  • Writer's pictureKristyn Burtt

The Dance Industry Shifted Directions When You Weren't Looking

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Photo credit: Amazon Studios.

A change is in the air. Do you feel it? The dance industry has been on a forward-moving path for a long time, but the direction just shifted. Don't worry, it's continuing on its remarkable journey, but things are going to look a bit different in the next decade.

The shift may be imperceptible to some, but it began a few years ago. There is a trend towards more story-driven content and that's where many choreographers are now focusing their attention. It's time to start looking at the dance industry through a different lens.

Here are some of the shifts that are happening right under our noses:

1. Dwindling ratings: Television is dealing with the drain of audiences when it comes to broadcast networks. The days of Dancing With the Stars drawing in 21 million viewers are long gone. With the younger generation turning their attention to streaming networks and online content, shows like World of Dance are placing a heavy emphasis on their digital strategy.

2. The golden age of television: Even though the ratings of the broadcast networks are dwindling, the storytelling component of TV is going strong. The streaming and cable networks have given us stories we definitely didn't see a decade ago — Pose definitely comes to mind here. Within that storytelling component comes new opportunities to use dance and movement in the script.

3. Choreographers: Many choreographers experienced terrific success in the reality competition/variety show category over the last decade, but they are ready for new challenges. Take a look at what has happened over the last year — Mandy Moore is choreographing for NBC's fall show, Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, Travis Wall and Luther Brown created an epic finale piece for Season 2 of Step Up: High Water and Derek Hough signed a first-look deal with Universal Television for both scripted and alternative programming.

4. Emmys: Even the Television Academy sees this shift happening. For the 2019 Emmys season, there are two categories for choreographers to submit their work. This will be a fascinating one to watch because it opens the door up for more people to be nominated and it doubles the excitement for the Choreography Peer Group.

5. Dancers: The dancers are starting to feel the impact of this movement as well. DWTS pros are expanding their horizons with new projects, ballet stars see opportunities in the commercial world that wouldn't have been possible for them even five years ago and dancers are realizing there's more to the entertainment industry than just the commercial world — the concert dance world is also a fulfilling means of creativity.

Don't sleep on these shifts because they are already happening. If you're in the dance industry, stay focused on your goals. If you're a fan of the dance industry, it's time to start embracing the change.

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