Is "Broadway" a recognized name for a dance genre?

So You Think You Can Dance seems to think “Broadway” is a distinctive genre or style. As a “I know it when I see it” thing, I’m okay with treating it as separate from, say, “modern” or “jazz” – but would most choreographers and critics call this type of dancing “Broadway”?

(I’m writing a review of a dance performance, and though I’m a passionate fan of dance, as evidenced by my overabundant posts in SYTYCD, DWTS, and musicals threads, I’m not actually up on all of the lingo – as evidenced by, ditto.)


I work on Broadway and I’ve never heard the term used like that. I mean I suppose someone could say, “That dancing really reminded me of Broadway”, which, in my mind, would conjure up images of lots of tapping and jazz hands. But not having seen SYTYCD, my first reaction would be no, I probably wouldn’t use it to label a genre of dancing.

Nope, no tap (plenty of jazz hands, though). They seem to be using it more for kind of a story-telling style, a little Fosse, a little Twyla Tharp – the dance at the gym in West Side Story – along those lines. It’s usually to a song from a Broadway show, and maybe that’s all that it indicates.

I’ve heard that style called “Musical Theater” or “Musical Comedy” (not “Broadway”).

Musical Theater style… although, it is permeating the dance community in a backwards sort of fashion. The bobble heads on SYTYCD started using it, and now it’s trickling down.

Some of the characteristics of the style (other than jazz hands) are exaggerated movements, brisk movement (not “sharp” movement like hip hop, but still rather fast paced), story telling, and drama. The actual steps and the like are more characteristic of a classical jazz style of dancing (as opposed to a more contemporary-styled jazz that is rather popular).

Dance often blurs the lines. A hip hop routine might include a pirouette or two; a salsa number might include some hip hop steps (especially a street salsa as opposed to a traditional ballroom salsa). A waltz might include contemporary style jumps and a some choreographers are throwing disco style lifts into foxtrots. Lines get blurred… new styles emerge… dance is a living art form.

Yeah, that’s actually kind of what I’m talking about in the review I’m working on – that there’s influences all over the place in this piece, but that the underlying bones are __________. Just trying to figure out how to fill in that blank. I was going to say "modern and what SYTYCD calls ‘Broadway,’ " but I’ve got a word count to observe here so I’m just going to say “modern.”

Thanks, all.

From what I recall, “Modern” is distinct style. I studied dance when I was younger and took classes in “modern,” and it was more along the lines of interpretive dance. Some dance schools even call it “lyrical.” It’s very ballet-like, but with a more free form.

Exactly. I would call it “jazz with musical theater influences” or something along those lines. It’s closest to jazz dancing.

Yeah, that works. Thanks.

I think the main problem is that anyone cares what SYTYCD has to offer the art of Dance…It is game show (I refuse to use the new term, Reality Television Competition…it was a game show when I was growing up and it still is). Does The Real Housewives… offer any helpful parenting skills, does Big Brother offer actual advise on getting along with roomates?

Neither The Real Housewives nor Big Brother purport to offer either. One needs no discernible nor demonstrable talent to be a part of either of those shows. You don’t get beyond the first round of SYTYCD without dance training and skill, period. You cannot compare them any more than you can think that a lemon will taste like a blueberry because they’re both fruits.

A-to the freaking-MEN!