REVIEW: ‘Dance Your Ass Off’

REVIEW: ‘Dance Your Ass Off’

Dance Your Ass Off
Star Rating: 4 out of 5

Stars: Host Marissa Jaret Winokur

The Big Idea: Twelve contestants are given professional dance partners, a nutritionist, medical advice and a trainer as they try to lose weight and win a $100,000 grand prize. Think of it as Dancing with the Stars-meets-The Biggest Loser-meets-So You Think You Can Dance.

To Watch or Not to Watch: Absolutely. Though it’s dancing without the stars, the Biggest Loser-y aspect of the show more than makes up for the lack of D-listers, as these real folks, some facing very real health concerns, try to improve their physical and financial states. Among the contestants: A couple of diabetics with a history of the disease in their families, a former model whose weight gain ended her career and a mom who wants to lose weight to be healthier for her family.

While the diet and exercise components of the show are, obviously, key, so is the dancing competition. The contestants learn a new routine with their partners every week, and are judged by a panel that includes singer/dancer/Prince‘s ex-wife Mayte Garcia, with their dancing scores added to the amount of weight they’ve lost that week to determine their standing.

About the dancing: It ain’t always pretty. Nor are the skimpy costumes the contestants are outfitted in … in the premiere, one overweight fella’s costume involves him going shirtless, and more than one of the female contestants is clothed in a belly-baring ensemble.

Their courage in slipping into those costumes, and the revelation of so much personal information the contestants share in the course of their diet, exercise and dancing adventures, earn the wannabe losers much respect, and gives what could have been a mean-spirited show its heart.

Having said that, my only two quibbles with the series: Was it really necessary to make the DYAO-ers wear those costumes? Or to make one of the show’s catchphrases “shake and rattle those rolls”?

But bottom line: I’m guessing plenty of viewers will find inspiration in the contestants’ efforts and empathize with their stories, while finding some fun fitness tips themselves. The series makes dancing a much more appealing option than, say, monotonous treadmilling, even if some of the contestants aren’t initially so light on their feet.

TV Screener Tidbit: is launching an online companion to the show that will include fitness videos, recipes from the contestants and a free two-week pass to Crunch gym.

Dance Your Ass Off premieres Monday, June 29, at 10PM ET on Oxygen

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