The True North Strong and Free

It was a couple of harried days of travel, in which I slept more on airplanes than I did in beds, but now I am back at home in Halifax.  Bliss.

Canada welcomed me home by raining steadily for twenty-four hours.

Or maybe it is just the affective fallacy.  For as glad as I am to be home, I am feeling a bit morose about the prospect of being separated from D until October. I have been staving off despair with the third "Mistress of the Art of Death" novel, Grave Goods, which is delectably gripping so far.  I mean, the corpses of Arthur and Guinevere just made an appearance.  Perfect airplane-endurance reading, it drags you in and doesn't let you go.

In Sycorax's further adventures in casting off loneliness and jet lag, I have been catching up on So You Think You Can Dance, Eh? (as I like to call the Canadian member of the franchise).  I thought this season of the American version of the show was the dullest on record, so I am already impressed by how much more diverse the Toronto finals were than the Vegas contemporary blandfest.  So far I have seen a belly-dancer and a male Irish dancer put straight through to the finals without having to go to the choreography callbacks.  That would never have flown on the American version, and I love that it does here.

And speaking of things that would never have happened across the border, how about this hip-hopper:

He made it through two rounds in the Toronto finals, and the judges, weeping, only eliminated him because they anticipated difficulty in judging his partner fairly in the ballroom round.

There are some phenomenal tappers.  Last year, before Russell's season even aired in the States, if I remember correctly, both a krumper and a tapper made it far into SYTYCD, Eh?. The Canadian audience seems less entrenched in the idea that contemporary is the standard from which all other genres fall away.

In the final twenty-two, the contestants who actually made it into the competition proper, there is a man who specializes in Ukrainian dance (he is one of two Ukrainian-Canadians in the top 22), a Cuban-Quebecois salsa dancer who didn't have enough English fluency to understand Mia Michaels when she told him he was "unique," and a breaker/ballet dancer from my home province.  It is wholly engrossing - a little rougher around the edges than the American show, but a hundred times fresher.

In the first week of So You Think You Can Dance, Eh? I have already seen a dance I like better than all but five minutes of the whole last season of the American show.  But: Boo to the rampant product placement in this season.  It is so tacky, it makes me want never to purchase any of these products ever again.