A reality series featuring dancing. The wonder of it. Any series featuring only dancing. Still an amazing thing.
For how many dance shows are there upon our televisions? Even in all of cable’s offerings, the DVD’s on our shelves or even in TIVO’s recall button?
Even more amazing, the second week of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” came in the ratings over all the other offerings of its time slot. The surprise caused so many gasps that this tidbit was mentioned in several newscasts this past week.
Dancing. Imagine that.
The premise of the show follows the reality format except for a unique method of calculating scores. Three judges, all choreographers of some repute though I’ve never heard of any of them, give a score from one to ten during each dance performance. On Wednesday, 6/15/05, there were five contenders left. Each dance team comes in from one to five based on the total scores from the judges. The first place team based on the judges score received five points, second place-four points, and so on.
This reality show too allows audience participation. Viewers can phone in a vote or vote online at ABC.com. The same criteria as applied for the judges’ votes applies to viewer votes. Thus the couple receiving the most audience votes is awarded five points, second-four, and so on. The dance team with the lowest score using this method is eliminated from the competition.
Also, unlike other reality shows, there is a “star” associated with each dance team.
Using the word “star” lightly.
John O’Hurley played Elaine’s boss in “Seinfield”. Evander Holyfield is a boxer. Rachel Hunter is a model. Two other stars, a Joey McIntyre and a Kelly Monoco, also dance on the show but I’m not familiar with their work.
These are not major league celebrities is what I’m saying here. But there’s enough of a name recognition to call the series dancing with “stars”.
The stars are paired with an experienced dancer. Their partners teach the stars the dance steps as required then partner with them during the dance competition.
These dances are not for the mild-mannered. This is not two people getting out on the dance floor to wave arms all about and move feet in any random matter that suits. These dances are the REAL stuff, dances that require symmetry of movement between the partners. Plus that bit about throwing a dance partner in the air or sliding between one’s legs might not fare well at the local nightclub.
They dance the rumba, the quick step, the jive, the waltz. Indeed all dances having actual names and with specific steps, music and partner choreography associated with each.
In my day our dances had names too. We had the mashed potato, the locomotion, the watusi. Today country music often has dances that require unique steps, often done with large numbers of other dancers generically referred to as “line dancing”.
The concept of one man and one woman dancing together, actually in each other’s arms, seemed a thing of the past.
Yet along comes this surprising summer offering and people are actually watching it!
I can understand why. Those dance couples do a wonderful job and each performance is a pleasant observation. Myself loved Evander Holyfield. He’s a big fellow with feet that match. He asserted that boxers must be deft on their feet, thus are natural dancers.
Though, alas, Evander and his partner were eliminated this past week, I enjoyed watching this sport professional move his feet across the dance floor, his face concentrated to distortion. I thought he did a wonderful job and looked so handsome.
John O’Hurley is no small man either. Yet, dashing and debonair in his black suit and tie, his famous grey hair perfectly cut, he danced a glorious swath over the dance floor. Doing the rhumba of all things.
I am totally fascinated by the moves of each dance. The stars have to struggle at times to remember their steps, the viewer can see it in their pensive faces. I ponder how I would do under such pressure.
For there are times, when no one’s around save the dogs, that I will choreograph a swath of Broadway musical inspired dance steps upon my kitchen floor to the applause of no one. I will find myself trying to move my feet in time with the music, stopping at a musical pause, stomping with a drum beat.
I taught the dachshund how to Cha Cha and that’s a fact.
There’s a certain skill and beauty in the dance although myself fools no one it’s not in me. Or my dogs either truth be told.
But the dance I emulate is not the mindless movement of the darkened discos. There’s a series of steps, a match of foot to beat, that requires a little more than beer fueled random movement.
“Dancing With the Stars” demonstrates aptly how it should be done. With handy information on the origin of the dance featured, the music required, then on to a demonstration by those who so recently struggled to learn it.
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