Friday, October 19, 2007

Competing and Showing in Dance

Whenever I mention to acquaintances that Zirpu and I ballroom dance, at some early point in the conversation the other person will ask if we compete, and when we'll be on Dancing With The Stars. The Arthur Murray syllabus is supposedly about "social dancing" and not competition, but there are AM competitions for professionals and Pro-Am couples. Certainly there are showcases, small regional ones and big international ones, which I feel, as a student, are how AM can help their students get the feeling of a dance comp without the actual competition.

Zirpu hates performing. He is okay with dancing in group events, when there's other couples on the floor and the attention of the audience (and the judges) is split. I like the idea of performing much better than I like actually doing it. It's kind of scary to walk out on the empty dance floor with just my partner. Then the music starts and everything but the music and the counting fade away, and then suddenly the routine is over and I'm smiling, arms outstretched (probably the longest my arms ever are is at the end of a dance routine).

Dancing for fun is, well, much more fun. We can try out a new step, and keep doing it until we pull it off correctly, or just not do it again. We can drop into the steps that we learned a few years ago, and into steps from a difference dance than the song is playing (like kicking in a little swing into a cha cha) and shrug our shoulders afterwards. We can also ignore most of the technique if we feel like it, and laugh if ignoring technique throws us off. Also, I get to hold my husband close, or wiggle with him, and vice-versa, and that's always a good thing.

However, when I watch a couple like Ben Ermis and Shaleen Archer-Ermis dance, I find myself drawn to the idea of dancing a show dance. It's a fantasy complete with soundtrack, costumes, skill, elegance, romance, and sex.

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