DanceOn, a YouTube channel that produces original content in the form of dance entertainment, is debuting a brand new show this week.
Dance Showdown, featuring America's Best Dance Crew judge D-Trix, puts 12 of YouTube's biggest celebrities in the hands of the world's most talented choreographers and dancers. The contestants are then pitted against each other in a unique, interactive dance competition where YouTube viewers get to be the judge.
"I want people to interact with entertainment in a way that they haven't before," Amanda Taylor, CEO and Founder of DanceOn, Inc., says.
"And since dance competition shows are really successful on TV, it's exciting to lead this new generation of programming in to the digital space and on YouTube," she adds.
The show, premiering Thursday, is hosted by D-Trix, whose real name is Dominic Sandoval. The 26-year-old professional dancer was a contestant on the third season of So You Think You Can Dance, and later competed and won MTV's America's Best Dance Crew (ABDC), as a part of the group Quest Crew. D-Trix has since appeared as a judge for ABDC.
D-Trix, aka. Dominic Sandoval (Facebook.com/pages/Dominic-D-Trix-Sandoval)
"I pretty much got an e-mail from Amanda saying that she wanted to meet with me to talk about a show idea that she had, which combined YouTube and Dance," according to D-Trix.
"So we scheduled a meeting and ended up talking about something that would involve both of our talents. Our ideas mixed and the concept of YouTube and a reality dance show resulted in 'Dance Showdown.' Once we had that down, I knew I wanted to a part of it in any way that I could," he adds.
D-Trix is now hosting the show that features six professional choreographers and 14 contestants. The dancer contestants are already established YouTube sensations, as the number of subscribers for their individual channels reaches into the millions.
DanceOn hopes to exceed those figures with Dance Showdown, as the channel is up to 24.5 million video views per month, according to Taylor.
"We are trying to reach a very broad audience, but as it goes on YouTube, the viewers tend to be on the younger side, which isn't a bad thing," Taylor says.
"The interesting part is that we took YouTube celebrities from all different dance genres and so in turn it's going to bring together a bunch of different kinds of audiences -- some male, some female, some international and some domestic. So we're pretty much bringing everybody together, which is the great thing about dance because that's what it does," she says.
Official title card for D-Trix Presents Dance Showdown on YouTube. (PHOTO: Courtesy of DanceOn).
Although many similarities can be seen between shows like ABDC, So You Think You Can Dance and Dance Showdown, the DanceOn production has the upper-hand on the rest of the competition, according to D-Trix.
"All of those other shows, for the most part, are only aired in America," D-Trix says. "So you're pretty much only able to vote if you're in America. 'Dance Showdown' reaches out to anybody that has internet access and that are fans of these YouTube celebrities. So we're basically just attacking everybody at this point."
With Dance Showdown being the first show of its kind on YouTube's original programming network, developing the production was unchartered territory for the year-and-a-half old DanceOn team. Taylor and D-Trix looked for the best-of-the-best, from choreographers to dancers.
Some people we spoke to directly, some people had us get in touch with manager and agents . . . one thing I really wanted to do, because we're a fairly new YouTube channel, was work with other channels. And so I thought it was a great opportunity for all of us to cross promote and launch this new generation of YouTube together, Taylor explains.
The show isn't just new for YouTube and DanceOn, it's also a new experience for D-Trix. The competition is the first one that the Roseville, Calif. native will host.
"I grew up just like every other dancer -- started off dancing in a garage, not knowing where my life was going," D-Trix says. "Now that I'm hosting this big production with other celebrities and dancers, it's just a complete honor."
The elimination style dance competition kicks off on Thursday on YouTube's DanceOn channel. The season will run through May 24 and will last for eight episodes. The winner of the competition will receive a cash prize of $25,000 and the title of first ever Dance Showdown champion.
My name is Carey Vanderborg and I'm a journalist working in New York City. I love food, travel, craft beer, live music and writing about all of the above.