Dance School Diaries executive producer Nigel Lythgoe strikes a ballet post with cast member Madison Chappell.jpgAt an event held this week at YouTube studios in Los Angeles for the popular DanceOn Network web series, “Dance School Diaries,” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe talked about the importance of ballet and dance not only for aspiring performers, but as a tool to help kids excel in the classroom. Lythgoe was joined by DanceOn Network CEO Amanda Taylor and the show’s four cast members, who each performed and participated in a private Q&A and dance lesson with attendees.
Recently selected as a People Magazine ‘Pick of the Week,’ “Dance School Diaries” looks inside the lives of four Orange County, Calif., teenagers competing in the most prestigious youth ballet competition, the Youth America Grand Prix. “Dance School Diaries” follows Madison Chappell, 15; Andrea Guite, 16; Sage Humphries, 16; and Lex Ishimoto, 16.
Lythgoe serves as the series’ executive producer along with Amanda Taylor, Kristin Campbell-Taylor, Lawrence Bender, Kevin Brown, Alex Reznik and Larisa Saveliev. “Dance School Diaries” partner on the series is Capezio, whose mission is to support the advancement of dance, theater and recreation in communities worldwide.
At the event, Lythgoe shared behind the scenes details about the web series as cameras followed the incredibly talented cast. “Some have just started, some have done it before and we wanted to make sure we were going to have a trial to follow as they go through the process,” commented Lythgoe. “It shows the talent, the hard work, the tenacity it takes in this discipline. That’s what it is an absolute discipline and that they have to work so hard in order to achieve anything in ballet. What I love about ballet is it is coming to the fore at this time,” he added.
Dance School Diaries cast Lex Ishimoto Sage Humphries Andrea Guite and Madison Chappell.jpg
“For So You Think You Can Dance, I keep telling everybody, like Latin is the core language for most European languages, so ballet is to dance,” commented Lythgoe. “If you’re great, if you train in ballet, it’s going to make it much easier for you to use other styles of dance and I think that dancers need that diversity nowadays.”
Lythgoe also stressed the importance of incorporating dance in the classroom when he shared how children who participated in a dance about the solar system retained more information than those who studied the material in a book. “Kids who learn with dance got 90% right of the questions they were asked and the kids that just had the books, they got 60%. That’s a difference of 30%. And it’s because the kids that danced were relating stuff to what they were doing. If you move and learn things at the same time, or if you sing them, it goes into a different part of the brain,” he said.
Dance School Diaries episodes are posted every Friday at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT. For a sneak preview, watch the trailer below or visit the Dance School Diaries site for additional details and videos.