Time for couples

Time for couples

We can recognize the skills and talents many stars and athletes possess as individuals.   That includes their ability to learn lines and take stage directions for TV, movies, and plays and then remember them.  It may also include an athlete’s ability to learn the sport or teams’ plays, signals, and the opponent’s intentions as well as how to follow directions and work with coaches.  I expect that cramming to learn in a short time span is also a recognized ability.  An actor looking for a part with an upcoming audition likely does not have much time to prepare mentally, intellectually, or physically for the audition.  An accomplished athlete that must step in for an injured or penalized player may only have seconds to get ready.  We can only guess how much advanced preparation and time ahead each of these stars has to get ready for DWTS or how many have taken some lessons “just in case” they get asked to be part of this fun show.  Through it all we know that half of the couple is practiced, trained and ready to take command when needed.  Each of these stars look pretty strong and fit, and one can see often enough when a star’s strength takes over to get the pair back on time, step or place.

So, all you DWTS fans, isn’t it time for DWTS to have a couple’s competition.  Couples have a much different dynamic in dancing than do single partners.  Oh yes, one leads and one follows, but anyone who has been to a club and seen couples dancing may well wonder which partner is leading.  Any couple that dances and watches the show must watch wishing their partner could do half the stuff the Pro does on the show.  Ask most dance professionals how many times they have heard a lady say, “All I need is a good leader and I can …”  Where most men will say, “It would be a lot easier if she didn’t try to lead?”  Not that men make it easy to follow when they don’t have enough command of steps to pick the one to get the couple to the open area of the floor.  Women who insist on following side saddle so they can also see the road are as fun to lead as it is to drive with a back-seat driver sitting in the car.

Back to dancing and the popularity of the show.  America’s general love of dancing is intertwined with music of the 20th century and how it changed and grew.  In addition, the various immigrant populations brought their music, culture and in some cases the dances themselves from the old country.  This American melting pot gathered mainly in the cities.  These cities produced the early 20th Century Dance Halls that permitted divergent cultural groups or at least the youth to leave the traditions held in the old country and mix and mingle with more and different ethnic people, as well as other music, rhythms and even venues than were ever seen or considered by their parents.  The bands would play the music and dances of the day and the music of the surrounding ethnic populations to be popular.  Then men and women would look to learn the latest steps moves and dances to be an attractive partner on the floor.

This expanded and broad culture of dance and music in America was certainly unique in the early days of the 20th Century where America, by and large, was alone as the best place to come to and the rest of the world was to be the place to be from.  That being said, without the desire of young people to meet as couples, often to the chagrin of their stoic families, it is hard to believe that so many different types of dances and music would have become popular throughout the 20th Century, going from Polka, One Step, Waltz, Fox Trot, Tango, Swing, Latin then Disco and Salsa and others.  These dances and music would be played by bands, be parts of Broadway shows, appear as major components of movies and over time featured on many TV shows.  But the familiarity of the music that would attract the audience most likely stemmed back to the happy memory of a time when something special happened with a song playing or a dance was shared as a couple.

Dancing has always been most fun as a participatory sport.  It is only through recognizing some aspect, whether it is the music, the star, the steps, or the dance that it becomes really fun to watch.  Certainly, the charisma of the Judges or Pros draws some people in.  Certainly, wanting to see which star has talent beyond their expertise may draw others, but if you do not like music, don’t remember back when, I expect you aren’t watching that much dance TV anyway.  Since most participation in dancing was as part of a couple, it is now time for DWTS to show just how the couple dynamics will work on the floor.  This was brought to mind by hearing as walking by the TV that a Bachelorette couple is getting a divorce.  I cannot remember back that far to being a bachelor but do think if the Bachelorette couple had mastered dancing with each other they would likely be staying with each other.  After all learning to dance as a couple requires skills that will help you for the rest of your life including the ability to think quickly, move out of the way quickly and to occasionally be humble and contrite when stupid.

I am sure that many celebrity couples are out there that would love to improve their TV image as DWTS provides.  I am sure there are plenty of couples who like music, share musical tastes and have patios large enough to practice on.  There are many Pros, I am sure some of the current ones on the show, who have on their resume couples they have trained and coached.  So maybe now is the time to add a season for couples.  Let us see what they can do.  Let us see how good the teachers really are.  And let us see if dancing as a couple will help or kill the relationship.  All for a good cause.  Entertainment.

Michael Reichenbach


Dance Week

Vol XXXXIV, No 3

October 30, 2020

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