Producers, choreographer apologize after angry reaction to peace-themed So You Think You Can Dance routine

On last Wednesday’s episode of So You Think You Can Dance, the remaining contestants performed a peace-themed routine choreographed by Wade Robson and set to John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change.” That prompted an on-air apology from the show’s producer, because the show received “angry feedback from those who believe that an antiwar dance means the show and its dancers are unpatriotic and do not support the troops,” TV Guide reports.

On his web site, Wade Robson writes that the routine “was a cry for peace and nothing more. In the video package they had a clip of Wade Robson saying that this was ‘antiwar.’ We want to make sure that it is clear that Wade’s statement was in no way meant to be disrespectful to our men and women in the military, putting their lives on the line everyday for a lot of us. Wade and Amanda strongly believe that the selfless sacrifices of every one of the military’s men and women are incomprehensibly courageous. If Wade’s statement did offend anybody in any way, we sincerely apologize for the misunderstanding. All we were trying to say in this piece is that we don’t want anymore innocent lives to be lost on either side.”

However, he also writes that “this statement is not an apology in any way for the number and its message. It is a clarification of its intention.”

Lythgoe tells TV Guide, “Who would’ve dreamt — with the dancers using words like ‘humility,’ ‘love’ and ‘passion’ — that I would be defending a television show that uses words like that?” He also says, “Art should be allowed to make statements.” Here’s the allegedly offensive routine:

Speaking of statements, choreographer Mia Michaels also apologized on-air for her clothing, “a navy blue military jacket that happened to have a Marine emblem, upside down, on the sleeves,” according to TV Guide. She tells the magazine, “I understand why people were upset and I respect that. That symbol is sacred to the Marines, it’s what they earned. The problem needed to be addressed and I’m glad we addressed it. That’s why I made a public apology.”

So You Think You Can Dance Backstage Report [TV Guide]

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.