“Superstars of Dance,” premiering Sunday, January 4 (9:00-11:00p.m. ET/PT), welcomes the world’s greatest dancers from Argentina, Australia, China, India, Ireland, Russia, South Africa and The United States to compete in an exhilarating international dance competition. Each country will showcase dance genres unique to their nation such as the Shaolin Monks from China, Russian Cossack dancers and Bhangra dancers from India.
Hosted by Michael Flatley (“Lord of the Dance”) and co-hosted by Susie Castillo (“House of Payne”), “Superstars of Dance” is a breathtaking international dance competition led by executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Fuller, two of the masterminds behind “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance.”
The unique series pits the masters of various dance genres from eight countries against each other. Equal parts sporting event, rock concert and artistic exhibition, “Superstars of Dance” is poised to become the greatest spectacle of dance performances ever seen on television.
Eight countries will participate in the competition with each team comprised of two soloists, one duo and one larger group. Viewers will get to know the competitors and the coaches through the trials and tribulations, both behind the scenes and on the stage. The stakes are high for these artists, as they are not only representing themselves, but also their dance form and their entire nation.
A list of each of the countries, judges, coaches and the genres each act will perform is listed below.
Sandar serves as coach for team Argentina. Sandar is a Tony-nominated choreographer and principal dancer in the original cast of “Forever Tango.” The judge for team Argentina is Maria Pogee. Pogee attended the world-famous school of the Theater Colon. She has directed, staged and choreographed dance productions throughout the world. Performing for team Argentina is a sensual cabaret artiste soloist, a contemporary Tango dancer soloist, an Argentinian Tango duo and a group performing Gaucho style dance in which the Gaucho’s use their bolas’ to produce intricate rhythms.
Jason Gilkison serves as coach for team Australia. Gilkison is an international ballroom champion who currently oversees choreography and artistic direction for the FloorPlay version of “Burn the Floor.” The judge for team Australia is Kelley Abbey. Abbey is Australia’s most outstanding dancer, actor, singer and choreographer. She has choreographed for Savion Glover and 1,000 animated penguins in the movie “Happy Feet.” Performing for team Australia are a tap dance soloist, a contemporary dancer soloist, a Latin ballroom duo and a group performing contemporary dance.
Matthew Ahmet of Britain serves as Coach for team China. As a troubled teen Ahmet went to China and found his way by becoming a Shaolin Monk. The Judge for team China is Master Haiyang Wang. Master Wang is the natural successor to become the next Abbott of the Shaolin Temple and a senior Buddhist in China. Performing for team China are a traditional Chinese ribbon dancer soloist, a double whip soloist, an acrobatic ballet duo and the Shaolin Monks Kung Fu group “Shaolin: Wheel of Life”known as the greatest performers of Kung Fu for over 15 years who have performed in over 40 countries.
Marie Duffy Pask serves as Coach for team Ireland. Pask currently serves as Dance Director, Associate choreographer, for “Lord of the Dance” and “Feet of Flames.” The judge for team Ireland is Daire Nolan. Nolan is most famous for his role as “Dark Lord” in Michael Flatley’s “Lord Of The Dance.” Performing for team Ireland are Irish Step Dancers. This team is assembled from different groups currently performing all over the globe. They will perform for the first time together on “Superstars of Dance” as team Ireland.
Nakul Dev Mahajan serves as coach for team India. Mahajan is the founder and artistic director of the premiere Bollywood dance company in the United States. The judge for team India is Shirish Dayal. Dayal has been producing, directing and choreographing stage shows for the past 15 years. Performing for team India are a Bharantanyam dancer soloist, a Kathak soloist, a Bollywood duo and a group performing Bhangra style of dance.
Stanislav Issaev serves as coach for team Russia. Issaev was a principle dancer for many years with the Moscow Ballet Theater and was named People’s artist of Russia, the highest artistic honor anyone can receive in the country. The judge for team Russia is Mikhail Smirnov. Smirnov is director and founder of Barynya, a hugely successful Russian folk dancing company. Performing for team Russia are a ballet dancer soloist from the world famous Bolshoi Ballet, a contemporary dancer soloist from the world famous Bolshoi Ballet, a ballroom duo and a group performing Cossak style of dance.
Tandi Bhengu serves as coach for team South Africa. Bhengu has been a dancer and singer her entire life and has founded a program and dance troupe called S.A.G.A. (South African Girls Abroad). The judge for team South Africa is Harold Van Buuren. Van Buuren has won numerous titles as a Ballroom and Latin American championship dancer, representing South Africa internationally on numerous occasions. Performing for team South Africa are a hip/hop dance soloist, an Afrofusion dance soloist, World Champion jive-inspired dance duo and a group performing Gumboot, a style of dance that was born in the gold mines of South Africa.
Marguerite Derricks serves as coach for team USA. Derricks is an Emmy-Award winning choreographer. She choreographed all of the “Austin Powers” movies and is currently choreographing the new version of “Fame.” The judge for team USA is Tony Selznick who has danced with greats such as Gene Kelly. He is also the founder and senior agent at McDonald Selznick and Associates where he represents the biggest names in American dance. Performing for team USA are a popping dancer soloist, a tap dancer soloist, World Champion cabaret style ballroom duo and a group performing hip hop.
“Superstars of Dance” is a Big Red 2 Entertainment production. Nigel Lythgoe (“American Idol,” “So You Think You Can Dance”) and Simon Fuller (“American Idol,” “So You Think You Can Dance”) serve as executive producers on the series.
About Big Red 2 Entertainment
Big Red 2 Entertainment is a joint venture production company from Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Fuller. Lythgoe, who served as executive producer of “American Idol” for seven seasons, is a co-creator and executive producer of “So You Think you Can Dance” and “Superstars of Dance.” Fuller, 19 Entertainment Founder/CEO, is the creator and executive producer of “American Idol,” and co-creator and executive producer of “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Superstars of Dance.” Their work together has garnered 43 Emmy nominations, 5 Emmy Awards and the prestigious Governor’s Award at the Primetime Emmys. Big Red 2 Entertainment is inspired by the two producers’ favorite soccer teams, which both use red as their team color.