It has been a successful season’s viewing for the South African public. Dancing with the Stars South Africa has been aired on the MNet Channel on DStv Sunday evening proudly sponsored by LOTTO STAR. This is a first for South Africans who have been used to the traditional syndicated shows like Strictly, SA’s got Talent and So you think you can Dance. Dancing with the Stars has had major success in the United States. What has this franchise done differently to other dance reality shows?.
The SA Dance Community connect with prestige, the viewers would agree the perception of the local talent has been influenced by the acclaimed Burn the Floor’s head choreographer and head judge Jason Gikison. MNet/DStv viewing has been the main component of success coupling the right time slots for maximum traction in the diverse SA community.
The show heads into the last stretch of the three last-remaining Zalebs (nickname for South African Celebrity) battling for the Main prize of season one’s winner. Connell Cruise (pop singer), Zola Nombona (actress) and Eden Claasens (Suidooster actor and model) head into the Final with various social media followings and voting patterns.
The SA dance community is knowledgeable in the dance-sport arena. The remaining judging panel boasts an undisputed world champion for many years (Bryan Watson), achievement addict and local dance coach (Tebogo Kgobokoe). Debbie Turner completes the panel with Jason to give the integrated approach to scrutineering.
The dancing professionals probably found this franchise model more beneficial, as the dance instructors stay on (even if eliminated week one), and collaborate further to keep the full twelve weeks of dance income. A wedding proposal has already happened earlier on episode three, between two professionals. Ashleigh Hunter has been my favorite professional as she won’t be getting into any group formations, as “she is in it to win it…”partnering with the very popular afrikaans vote of Eden Claasens. My prediction for the final will be to look at how Zola handles the moment. Being a female celebrity has its advantages especially with her abundance of dance rhythm. She is partnered with Tobogo Mashilo (who has choreographed great numbers, the image above is their Charleston result which got the full house from the harsh but fair judges).
I also would not rule out the possible winning combination of Connell Cruise and Marcella Solimeo, they have been the most consistent couple week in week out, but in this reality show, the level of improvement normally trumps the consistency with the popularity vote. But it has been amazing to see the pop singer apply his potential on the floor.
Season Two should happen sooner than later, as the previous syndication’s got too casual with a season every four years because of budget constraints. The music, the production, the judges should all prepare for another February start in 2019, as I am sure the public took to the emotional and sincere hosting abilities of Chris Jaftha and Tracey Lange. The local dance community has plenty of professionals to substitute in, and there were many celebrities that would also benefit from the show’s exposure.
From a dance point of view, its really a showcase of talent, and some professional partnerships do appear on the exhibition front (Watch out for Darren Hammond, he is Ryan’s younger brother, and competes in Europe), but the inclusion of SA’s pop music artists was a very sharp touch to a formula to which has Jason has brought, and hopefully a quick renewal for season two is already in progress.