One of the beauties of being a dancesport dancer is the ability to use our sport at so many venues.  Many sports require special equipment, fashionable outfits, and special venues in order to perform at even minimal levels.  Look at Tennis, another trendy sport.  You have to go to or have a special court the size of a large competition floor each time you want to play, practice, or even be seen in your tennis duds.  As to the being seen, the rest of the world really only notices the white lines around the ankles when you finally take off those socks.  As to practice, the only thing you can practice alone is the serve.  Even the best of tennis players can’t get around to the other side in time to hit the ball back to themself.  There are of course the special machines that toss the ball across the court so that you can practice.  There is an idea; many a dancer is looking for that mechanical partner after a practice session with their, “never been wrong in my lifetime” current partner.


Golf is another trendy sport that requires a little room (100 acres or more).  This may be the only other sport that allows for such diversity in costumes and colors.  Costume designers in Dancesport have yet to come up with the same mix of plaids, stripes, and bright and gaudy colors that are still acceptable at most golf courses.  Golfers also get to wear those trendy hats that dancers rarely use, unless they are doing the Argentine Tango.  Even practicing requires a lot of space or at least tolerant spouses and neighbors if you are leaving divots in your front yard and balls flying around the neighborhood as you aim for Tom’s swimming pool 95 yards away with your pitching wedge.


Dancers on the other hand can rightfully claim that our sport can be used in all sorts of various venues.  The large venues, whether a competition floor or one of those few remaining big ballrooms probably offer the most recognized venues from where to be seen, but the vast number of smaller venues really offer the most opportunities.  All good sports require diversity of action and contact to maintain the interest of the spectator.


Just imagine gentlemen, you are at the local club.  Small floor, soft music and your lady partner looks at you with those can we just go out and dance a little eyes.  You start towards the floor and realize that somebody else is on the floor doing more than the “Do you want to come to my place” shuffle.  You look at your options.  Do you settle in for a little “just hold you in my arms and dip”?  Of course you know you can’t let the other team play for the points and you not.   Your first play is to stake your area and get ready to Swing.  Your skill allows you to block with the back, circle the spot to maintain the best position for your partner to do the turns, all the while keeping the competition cramped in the corner and unable to move.  Music ends, time out is called and you go back to the bench confident your team has scored the requisite six points for style, speed, defense, and finally the underarm turns.


You are all the way back to the table and you turn and see the other team has not left the field.  They have remained and tackled the Cha-Cha.  You can’t get back on the field without a penalty, and though the Cha-Cha is off time they still receive the three points for the field goal by staying within the uprights.  Thank goodness the next two plays are “Why dance at all” music, and the field is covered with third stringers just trying to get time on the field.  Mistakes galore, but before you know it another three points is scored with the extra long dip and subsequent applause from the audience.  Now you know you have to bring a really strong play back onto the field.  The play is the Foxtrot, and you now know why you took all those extra lessons.  All the teams are trying there best to keep in the game but they haven’t mastered the final four (the right turning steps that get you around the outside).  With each new step they are cramped further to the middle of the floor, and you with your partner go right along the sideline for the full 100 yards and score another six points.  Pass the goal line and enough room left over for the curtsey with underarm turn for the extra two points.

Game-Set-Match-Touchdown and you are the winner.  OK, so your partner looks at you wondering what got into you.  You didn’t even want to go out tonight, and she had to ask for twenty minutes to get you on the floor.  You don’t have to tell her the real reason.  Just smile, and tell her you hope she had a good time and let her think she owes you one.  You know you want those new tools.

Michael S. Reichenbach

Published in:

Dance Week Magazine

2709 Medical Office Place

Goldsboro, NC 27534

Vol. XXVII No. 46

November 15, 2002

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