The Stars Continue

The Stars Continue

Anyone involved in the dance industry has to be ecstatic right now.  The continued success of “Dancing With the Stars” might indicate the general population has finally recognized our sport.  It might mean that the Olympics are only days away, or at least that the lines to our doors will be beaten down by a whole new generation of enthusiastic adherents.

After all, look what has been accomplished.  Jerry Rice, one of the true Superstars of his sport has gone on to extol many benefits including, fun and exercise.  What greater testament can one sport get?  That Dancesport, long considered one of the truly sissified sports, can satisfy Jerry Rice may well be the most one could have hoped for.  True dance aficionados may well see some football moves in some of Jerry’s dances, but that too is OK.  Any man that has spent any time on a night club floor will appreciate the innate advantage previous sports’ training provides a man in a crowd.  Those without such previous training may well worry about incidental contact, clipping and other infractions that real men want to avoid unless on a field of play.  After all maintaining one’s image is as important to all of us men as it was to the Fonz.  He was just always able to maintain his, while most of us falter all too often, and therefore will avoid any potential predicament at almost all costs.  This is the main reason single men will avoid learning to dance.  If I don’t know how then I don’t have to play.  This works until the little lady in your life finally wants more out of her relationship with you then TV and …, well you get the point.

History will show that is was Dance Fever that opened the doors to real men learning to dance.  Prior to, couples, once united, most often still required some trade off to get the man to come in.  I remember clients coming in and those tradeoffs included everything from being one way to get out of the dog house for whatever infraction occurred to a spouses actually cashing in on the last minute gift certificate that was purchased Christmas Eve.  Others included, I’ll take the dance program, but then I get to buy the big, big boat.  Granted the man of a couple would often become a fan once they got involved.  Good teachers would get across the fun of being in control, the ways to maneuver and take charge, and tell the woman the man was always right on the dance floor.  I am sure hundreds if not thousands of lessons were purchased just to hear that phrase repeated on a regular basis.

Ladies have long appreciated the civility and savoir faire of a good dancer.  Men recognized that, but also assumed that those men were born doing that stuff, and they all talked with an accent.  Locker room talk in high school may have included, “What are you doing this weekend?”  The reply might be, “ Going dancing”, followed by the question, “Do you dance?” and followed by, “Of course.  … Been dancing my whole life.”  The questions were sincere enough, but the answers should have included, “Yes, but only because my big sisters danced and forced me to practice with them when I was a kid.” Or “My idea of dancing is to stay away from her and jump around a lot, and hope she gets tired and wants to rest.  Then I can get close to her and neck or something.”  Regardless the result was an entire generation thinking that you either were born to dance or should avoid it like the plague.

At some future time we might want to investigate how American music forms contributed to the an entire generation being unable to dance when their forefathers danced in the old country regularly and with reckless abandon, but that is another story.  What Dance Fever did, was confirm that all good dancers practiced, and that all good dancers took time to learn, and that all good dancers were ‘chick magnets.’  The actual scene in the dance studio may not have been complimentary, but it established that if you want to learn go to a Studio and learn.  “Dancing With the Stars” teaches at least two new lessons.  One is that the “beautiful people” do this too and that makes it cool.  Given Americans love for celebrities this is the most important lesson.  Two is, that these people are talented in general.  Athletic?  Also; Prior stage presence?  Certainly; but getting these routines down in such short time is phenomenal if they have no prior dance training.

Another thing it should teach us is the advantage of using routines and competitions as a learning tool.  All that talk about once you get the steps down, then you can concentrate on the rest is true, so if you have students that still are waiting to get good before they start routines remind them of the lessons learned and they too can be dancing like the Stars soon as well.

Michael Reichenbach


Dance Week

March 17, 2006

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