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TELEVISION & RADIO

He aims to get young talent into the act

September 01, 2003|Mark Sachs | Times Staff Writer

For grumpy members of the back-to-school set who undoubtedly will be coping with summer withdrawal symptoms for the immediate future, MTV has come up with the perfect frothy antidote: a weekday afternoon dance show.

"The Wade Robson Project" (4 p.m. weekdays) gives the much-in-demand hip-hop choreographer a chance to welcome musical guests and preside over a whole lot of movin' and shakin'.

But this is no throwback to the 1960s golden era of after-school TV sock hops, when such shows as "Where the Action Is," "Groovy," "9th Street West" and "The Lloyd Thaxton Show" helped keep legions of rowdy juveniles off the streets.

This "American Idol"-ization of the genre is actually an extended dance contest, in which 80 fancy-footed youths culled from a nationwide search will compete day by day, week by week, for a chance to win $100,000-plus in cash and prizes come the October finale.

Everyone seems rather skittish on today's premiere. Robson is loose on the dance floor but uptight with his cue-card readings as he puts four dancers through their paces in the industrial-warehouse staging.

Only one survives to dance another day, but you really have to love dancing to stick around for the finish.

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