The Positive Impact of Influential Dance TV Shows
As an innovation leader in dance shoes for nearly a century, Bloch recognizes the significant impact that dancing brings to the world. While the art of dance has remained relevant in civilizations for centuries, Bloch wanted to analyze exactly what kind of impact dance has on society today—specifically the impact of influential dance television shows.
Bloch launched a study to uncover search trends associated with nationally recognized dance related TV series, such as So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, Dance Moms, Tiny Pretty Things, On Pointe, and even America’s Got Talent.
Findings from the study conclude that dance shows heavily influence elements of the inner dance community. For example, iconic choreography from the TV screen made its way into dance studios across the county. However, study findings also illustrate how popular dance shows impact elements of society as a whole.
Ultimately, dance TV shows influence viewers’ perceptions of dance and what it means to be a dancer. From breaking down gender stereotypes, encouraging adults to start their dance journey, and leaving lasting impacts through social media years later, here are the findings from Bloch.
Dance TV shows that portrayed men and boys in dance environments challenged many viewers’ perceptions of the male gender and their involvement in the dance community.
When Dancing with Stars brought on dancers who were National Football League (NFL) players, search interest relating to men’s dancing increased significantly. Viewers at home, perhaps for the first time, witnessed traditionally masculine men exchange their football cleats for jazz shoes—and tackle the dance floor. During their time on the show, the NFL players spoke highly of the agility, endurance, and strength it takes to dance, which appears to have challenged many viewers at home to reconsider gender stereotypes in dance.
On November 2006, former NFL running back Emmitt Smith won season 3 of Dancing with the Stars, which was the most watched season finale of the entire series. Searches for "boys dance classes" increased roughly 49% from October to November 2006. Similarly, after former NFL defensive tackle Warren Sap took second place in season 7, which aired November 2008, YouTube searches for "men dance moves" peaked to an all-time high.
Bloch’s study found that dance TV shows greatly changed people’s perceptions of what it means to be a dancer. Shows that challenged the myth that dancing is too feminine for men and boys to participate in proved to make a significant and lasting impact on dance participants in the United States. In fact, from 2010 to 2020, the number of men who held dancer and choreographer occupations in the United States increased 21%, according to the United States Census Bureau.
Dance TV shows do not only encourage boys and men to get involved with dancing. Many different dance shows that aim to emphasize dancing skills, such as discipline, teamwork, courage, and creativity, inspire people of all backgrounds to begin their dance journey.
Entry to dance
Study findings reveal how dance TV shows increase children and adults’ interest in dance. Programs that convey the behind-the-scenes work put in to execute a performance gave viewers a different outlook on dance. The search trends suggest that influential dance shows encouraged parents to enroll their children into dance programs and consider adult dance lessons for themselves.
Dance Moms premiered July 2011 as a reality TV series that follows the lives of young dancers and their moms within the Abby Lee Dance Company. The dance show shined light on the benefits of starting dance at a young age, and it showed how participating in dance can bond mothers and their children. Search trends for “childrens dance classes” in 2011 peaked on August 9, just a few weeks after Dance Moms first premiered.
Dance show So You Think You Can Dance is a dance competition reality series where dancers compete in front of a line of judges who are world-renowned in the dance industry. After the show premiered in July 2005, searches for “adult dance lessons” reached an all-time high, suggesting that adult viewers at home were inspired to get involved in dance.
Trends in dance styles
The Bloch study found that searches for a specific dance style substantially increased when influential dance shows revolving around the particular style were on TV screens.
For example, Tiny Pretty Things, which is a drama series about the lives of ballet dancers, premiered on Netflix in December 2020. Following the show’s release, monthly searches for “ballet classes near me” increased 93% from November 2020 to January 2021.
Ballet dance docuseries On Pointe also premiered in December 2020 on Disney+, taking viewers through a season in the School of American Ballet (SAB) in New York City and following the lives of the students as they pursue their dreams to become ballet dancers. Searches pertaining to professional ballet also increased, as searches for “ballet schools near me” increased 68% between November 2020 and January 2021, and “professional ballerina” increased 100% between that time period.
Search trends suggest that ballet dance shows pique viewers’ interest in the world of ballet, as these shows draw attention to the intricacy of the dance style and compel viewers to learn more about the dance form, or in some cases, take a ballet class.
Searches regarding a particular dance style are not limited to ballet. During season 14 of America’s Got Talent, an acrobatic dance team named V.Unbeatable took the stage. Throughout the season, the dance team received national recognition for their complex and captivating acrobatic routines, and search trends mirrored this recognition.
Searches for “acrobatic dance” peaked to an all-time high during the team’s time on the show. And while V.Unbeatable placed fourth in season 14, the dance group returned to America’s Got Talent: The Champions a few months later, where they won first place, becoming the only dance team to ever win on America’s Got Talent.
While dance shows motivate viewers to get involved with dance, the shows also impact viewers who are already participating in dance.
During an August 2011 episode of Dance Moms, Nia, who is a dancer on the team, is taught how to execute a bold dance move called “the death drop.” The iconic dance move quickly distinguishes Nia’s dancing and choreography. Following the episode, searches for “death drop dance” skyrocketed roughly 700% from August to October 2011.
Similarly, the notable audition routine performed by season 8 winner Melanie Moore on So You Think You Can Dance incorporated a front roll exit out of a penché. The choreography heavily influenced viewers who were dancers, and searches for “penche roll” reached an all-time high following the performance. All over the country, dancers were inspired to try the move, exemplifying the impact that dance shows have on the dance community.
The study in search trends also uncovered how dance TV shows have a lasting impact—even years after first airing.
On season 6 of Dance Moms, the Abby Lee Dance Company team performed a hip-hop routine titled “Boss Ladies,” which secured the dance company first place in the competition. However, searches for “Boss Ladies Dance” reached an all-time high in January 2022, despite the original “Boss Ladies” dance airing May 2016.
Searches for the particular dance soared due to a viral dance trend that took storm on the social media platform Tik-Tok. The viral dance trend had individuals of all genders, ages, backgrounds, and levels of dance experience performing the original “Boss Ladies” dance for fun. Owner of the Abby Lee Dance Company, Abby Lee Miller, even participated in the Tik-Tok trend, receiving nearly 10 million views on the video of her rendition.
A dance routine resurfacing roughly six years after originally airing spotlights the significant impact that dance TV shows have on all aspects of society. The trend fosters the idea that influential dance shows welcome everyone to partake in the excitement that is dancing.
From the living room to the dance floor
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