Exclusive: Each Country's Superstars of Dance Are Revealed
Superstars of Dance hosts Michael Flatley and Susie Castillo
Starting Sunday, January 4, at 9 pm/ET, NBC's Superstars of Dance — exec-produced by So You Think You Can Dance boss Nigel Lythgoe and hosted by Michael "Lord of the Dance" Flatley and Susie Castillo — will pit stellar shufflers from eight countries against each other in a competition described as "equal parts sporting event, rock concert and artistic exhibition."
In addition to fielding two soloists, a duo and one group, each country will furnish a coach and a judge to serve on a multinational panel. Here's a first look at who's representing for each team.
Coach: Sandar, a Tony-nominated choreographer and principal dancer in the original cast of Forever Tango.
Judge: Maria Pogee, from the world-famous school of the Theater Colon.
Performing for Argentina: A sensual cabaret artiste soloist, a contemporary Tango soloist, an Argentinian Tango duo and a group performing Gaucho style dance.
Coach: Jason Gilkison, an international ballroom champion.
Judge: Kelley Abbey, who has choreographed for Savion Glover and 1,000 animated penguins in the movie Happy Feet.
Performing for Australia: A tap dance soloist, a contemporary dancer soloist, a Latin ballroom duo and a contemporary dance group.
Coach: Matthew Ahmet of Britain, a Shaolin Monk.
Judge: Master Haiyang Wang, the natural to become the next Abbott of the Shaolin Temple.
Performing for China: A Chinese ribbon dancer soloist, a double whip soloist, an acrobatic ballet duo and the Shaolin Monks Kung Fu group.
Coach: Marie Duffy Pask, who currently serves as dance director and associate choreographer for Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames.
Judge: Daire Nolan, aka "Dark Lord" in Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance.
Performing for Ireland: Irish Step Dancers assembled from different groups currently performing all over the globe.
Coach: Nakul Dev Mahajan, the founder of the premiere Bollywood dance company in the United States.
Judge: Shirish Dayal, a producer, director and choreographer of stage shows for 15 years.
Performing for India: A Bharantanyam dancer soloist, a Kathak soloist, a Bollywood duo and a group performing the Bhangra style of dance.
Coach: Stanislav Issaev, a principle dancer for many years with the Moscow Ballet Theater.
Judge: Mikhail Smirnov, the director and founder of Barynya, a successful Russian folk dancing company.
Performing for Russia: A soloist from the world famous Bolshoi Ballet, a contemporary dancer soloist from the Bolshoi Ballet, a ballroom duo and a group performing Cossak.
Coach: Tandi Bhengu, the founder of a program and dance troupe called SAGA (South African Girls Abroad).
Judge: Harold Van Buuren, a winner of numerous titles as a ballroom and Latin American championship dancer.
Performing for South Africa: A hip-hop soloist, an Afrofusion soloist, a world champion jive-inspired dance duo and a group performing Gumboot, a style born in the gold mines of South Africa.
Coach: Marguerite Derricks, an Emmy-winning choreographer who has choreographed all of the Austin Powers movies and is currently working on the remake of Fame.
Judge: Tony Selznick, a founder of McDonald Selznick & Associates, where he represents the biggest names in American dance.
Performing for the USA: A popping soloist, a tap dancer, a cabaret-style ballroom duo and a hip-hop group.
What's your take? It's yet another dance show, sure, but is it different enough to strike your fancy? Do you like the idea of sampling a variety of dance styles?