Tag Archives: art

Determining the value of dance in the universal equation.

One of the characteristics of my personal brand of crazy is that I am constantly conducting interviews in my head. It’s kind of like having a song stuck in your head, only it’s an extended Q & A session with say, Jon Stewart, or Charlie Rose as I’m driving to work.  And in the shower. And toasting bagels, and collecting the mail or any of the other maddening tasks that make up a day. It doesn’t have to be an interview, necessarily, just some situation in which I’m asked my opinion. I’m a self-proclaimed expert on everything.

The other night after watching So You Think You Can Dance, I was pretending to be one of the judges and imagining all the insightful things I would say to the dancers. I don’t know jack about professional dance technique, but the real experts tend to spew only drivel, so that doesn’t seem to be a problem.

What inspired my imaginary critique was a young break dancer named Legacy. During his audition, he spun all over the stage, fast light, and upside-down. And what usually happens when you a see a great break-dancer is that you ask yourself, “Sure, but can he foxtrot?” The competition will force him to do that and other antiquated ballroom traditions. Many a street dancer has wept in the face of the quickstep.  But as this season unfolds, Legacy has devoted himself to the art of dance like a true disciple.  He has mastered contemporary and bested Broadway. And this week, he used the Paso Doble to focus his passion like a laser. I envy him for knowing his purpose in life.

Legacy’s partner, Kathryn, was introduced to the television viewing audience through a montage of high-pitched sobbing scenes. Whenever she was asked a question, her voice would raise with emotion into a series of poodle-like yelps. My expectations were low for her. She was too soft, she would melt under Legacy’s laser beam focus.

That turned out not to be the case. Kathryn was the embodiment of female seductive power in the Paso Doble, with an emphasis on power. She swirled around the stage like a very pretty tornado. So what I wanted to say, in my imaginary critique, was that the two of them had succeeded in taking raw emotion and shaping it into something beautiful. Which is the very definition of art, in my opinion. I wish I knew people who liked to talk about this stuff. You know, the shaping of emotion into art as evidenced by hopeful dance show contestants.

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