Taunted by TV dance shows

November 02, 2008|By kevin cowherd | kevin cowherd,kevin.cowherd@baltsun.com

These are tough times for the dancing-impaired.

I say this because the country is absolutely nuts about dancing.

TV shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance? get top ratings. The dance-happy movie High School Musical 3: Senior Year is a box-office smash. Dance studios report business is booming, even with the economy tanking.

This only makes the dancing-impaired feel worse about themselves.

Look, we know we have no rhythm and no timing. We know we're incapable of making any fluid movements or moving any part of our body to the beat.

But don't throw it in our faces with hit shows and movies and say: "Look, everyone else can dance! What's wrong with you?"

Even in these enlightened times, society can be cruel to the dancing-impaired.

People see us lurching around the dance floor and call us clods and big goofs. They laugh at us. They say we have two left feet.

You don't think this hurts? I wish you could see our little faces turn bright red at times like these.

Statistically - and this is not exactly stop-the-presses stuff - the vast majority of the dancing-impaired are men.

Oh, and Cloris Leachman.

Did you see her doing the cha-cha on Dancing with the Stars last week? It was like watching a woman in a cocktail dress trying to stomp fire ants.

Yes, she's in her 80s, God love her. But she couldn't dance when she was 22. You can tell. The dancing-impaired don't need a secret handshake to recognize one of our brethren.

Now she's gone from the show, banished for having no grace on the dance floor, no liveliness in her steps, no business being out there. Certainly not in front of a national audience.

But she's one of us. That's why we in the dancing-impaired community give the old gal our unconditional love and support.

And we hope she gets another sitcom, too.

By the way, asking the dancing-impaired to watch Dancing with the Stars is like asking someone who washed out of med school to watch ER.

It pains us to see even big, burly football players like Warren Sapp and Olympic sprinters like Maurice Greene gliding and twirling so confidently, when we can only jerk spasmodically from side to side.

Even soap-opera legend Susan Lucci, who has had more work done on her than a '58 Chevy, looks good doing the samba.Or whatever that shimmy thing was that she did on the last show.

Sadly, modern science and technology offer little hope for the dancing-impaired.

There are no medications on the horizon that will cure our klutziness, no clinical trials being conducted with micro-implants to make our bodies move lithely with the music.

Well-meaning people will often ask us: "If it upsets you so much, why don't you take dance lessons?"

Oh, some of us have gone that route. But it never really works. You can no more teach the dancing-impaired to be light on their feet than you can teach an orangutan to perform Othello.

Still, other kind souls will often watch us lunging and twitching on the dance floor and say: "Oh, you're not that bad a dancer. I've seen much worse."

But when you ask them to name even one person who dances worse, there is only an uncomfortable silence as they stare down at their shoes.

Then they'll change the subject to the election, the big game or something like that.

Wedding receptions can be particularly rough for the dancing-impaired.

These are joyous occasions during which invited guests get all boozed up and take to the dance floor with a particular glee to do the Hustle or the Electric Slide, although don't hold me to those names.

Desperate to join in the "fun" - hah, that's a good one! - the dancing-impaired will often steel themselves with a few drinks, especially if it's an open bar, which is to bad dancers what United Nations food trucks are to hungry refugees.

Only then do the dancing-impaired have the courage to hit the dance floor. But the results are always disastrous.

Enveloped in a boozy haze, the dancing-impaired can often fool themselves into thinking they're "getting down."

But what's really taking place is a slow, plodding Frankenstein-like shuffle, which will be even more embarrassing when it shows up in the wedding video.

A keepsake that preserves our bad footwork for the ages; that's all the dancing-impaired need.

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