Friday, July 17, 2009

Last Asian American heads home on So You Think You Can Dance

We've always loved the way that the dance competition So You Think You Can Dance showcased racial and cultural diversity, both within the cast and in the styles of dance (Bollywood has been one of the favored styles in the past 2 seasons). Although the judges rarely discuss race/ethnicity explicitly (unlike, for instance, America's Next Top Model, where Tyra criticizes women for not performing their race adequately), we've always been ecstatic the show has included some of the "coolest" Asian Americans in reality tv.

Hok Konishi and Dominic (D-Trix) Sandoval were celebrated in past seasons as hilarious and talented b-boys. They later cemented their fame by appearing as integral members of the hip-hopping Quest Crew, an all-Asian-American group who won MTV's America's Best Dance Crew. These guys are definitely changing the face of Asian American masculinity on tv.

This year we were thrilled when Asuka Kondoh finally made it through with her sparkling ballroom skills (although she auditioned with her partner Ricky Sun, who didn't make it). Unfortunately, she was eliminated in the third week despite strong performances throughout with her partner Vitolio.

Karla Garcia, a contemporary dancing Filipina from Brooklyn, was eliminated the next week. This was particularly disappointing because she never got to show off the hip-hopping skills she'd developed as part of the group Boogie Bots, also of MTV fame. But, as Nigel would say, she never emerged as "a star."

Finally, Kupono Awea (full name Kuponohitpoi Kamalu Aweau), our last hope for Asian American triumph, was eliminated just this week. He did make it into the Top 10 and will be on tour with the show. His quirky-contemporary style was brilliantly showcased, but somehow he slipped behind and couldn't recover after his pase doble this week.