Posts Tagged ‘American Idol’


Look, I Know I Can’t Dance (Like That)

August 8, 2008

Last night was the grand finale of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE.

I love this show.

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE seems to celebrate dance in a way that AMERICAN IDOL does not, anymore, celebrate singing. Maybe SYTYCD will get worse. But this season I have really enjoyed it.

I’m not going to write a recap here, because there are people out there who do it much better than I could, and I don’t have TIVO (Hi! I’m a Luddite!) Also, the main requirements for recap writing seem to be a big dose of hiply cynical with a side of snarky sarcasm. And I just can’t be sarcastic about this show. I love it.

It delights me. There. I said it. DELIGHTS ME. I watch those darn kids leaping and spinning and jerking around and I think “I remember when I could leap and jerk.” But in a good way. I’m not so old that I can’t move my limbs any more, but let’s face it. Middle age dancing is mostly about trying not to hurt yourself in the five minutes before you are unable to breathe anymore.

About two years ago my husband and I produced a couple of music videos for a rock band. They were very low budget videos, but we really wanted to capture the amazing energy of the band. In order to get some ideas, I popped their CD into the Bose and couldn’t help but start to move to the driving beat. I started dancing, jumping, rocking out. And then I pulled a muscle in my leg and couldn’t walk for the next two days. Just saying.

I never was an actual dancer, but I was a theater major in college, in one of those four years programs where you do plays and fence and learn how to quickly say “to sit in solemn silence in the dull dark dock of a pestilential prison with a life long lock …” And so forth. Each semester we had to take a movement class, with all the kids who were dance majors. I have to say, I danced with great emotion and passion, but I just didn’t have the strength or technique of the real dancers.

Later, when I was out of school and was a struggling actor pounding the pavements of NYC, I would go down to 48th Street and take jazz class. You’re on the second floor of some hot sweaty studio, the hallways littered with shoes and bags and coats. People who dance in Broadway musicals are leaping past you, in perfect time to the music, doing a routine the instructor JUST TAUGHT YOU, like two minutes ago, and one two three, step right, step left, arms up, and turn, and left, and left and back and then repeat again and do it now and Oh my God I’d get so lost.

I could never learn the steps that fast or keep them in my head. I wasn’t a good dancer. But I wasn’t there to be a good dancer. I was there to just dance. I knew I wasn’t one of them, they knew I wasn’t one of them, but no one cared. We were all there to just dance. There was an energy, an excitement. I was young and passionate and my whole life was ahead of me. My whole art was ahead of me.

Now? Not so much.

I gave up acting years ago. It was a good decision at the time. I hadn’t made it. The joy had gone and I was on the verge of bitter, and I didn’t want to be that person. I moved on and found equal if different passion in writing. I’ve learned some life lessons now. I didn’t get what I wanted. I learned to want other things. I found passion in other things. I got older. I got tired. I got wiser. I lost a little piece of me. I found a different piece.

So, yeah, I know I can’t dance. Like that. But I’m still dancing when I watch those kids. I remember that kind of passion. That kind of need to express and feel and share and leap and twirl. And I’m leaping and twirling right along with them. In my mind. On my couch. Where I am safe and won’t injure myself.