I am a little weirded out right now on a few different levels. Okay, for one thing, I loved Paulina and am very disappointed she’s off (Dancing With the Stars of course — I’ll get to the relevance of the above pic in a minute). I was too busy to blog last night but if I would have I would have said how much I enjoy watching her dance because, ridiculous as it sounds since she is (or was anyway) a huge supermodel, I totally identified with her. Latin is so unbelievably hard if you weren’t raised with it. It’s so hard to get the Cuban motion just right, and, in order to make up for initially being unable to connect your back muscles to your abdominals and those to your hips, you tend to just bounce about, in Paulina’s case, or wiggle your butt and shake your shoulders, in Heather’s. And cute as it is, it’s just that — cute, which Latin shouldn’t be! But it’s still a lot of fun! And cute is … cute! It’s also nice, as a student anyway, to be able to identify with someone else’s limitations and their struggle to overcome them. And now she won’t have a chance. And I’m not sure why she was booted since she definitely was far from the worst and her personality was so sweet. She was so warm and funny and entertaining, and even humorously self-deprecating, which, as Jolene I think it was, pointed out in her comment in my post from last week, is such an unexpected surprise in a supermodel! She certainly had a better personality than some of the others. Oh well, at least Heather’s still in. Some of my co-workers today were expressing their dislike of her. I heard the word “golddigger” a couple times. I have to confess I don’t keep up with the gossip mags, so I know she was once married to Paul McCartney but don’t know much else. Anyway, I like her personality as revealed on the show. I think my favorite overall right now is Laila. I also like Joey.
Anyway, reason number two that I’m disappointed is that, with six hours now under its belt, we can see where the show’s going to go this season. They pumped tonight as showcasing great professional talent, and, I’m sorry, but who was that? It was just all the pros already on the show. Where are Joanna Leunis and Michael Malitowski? Where are Bryan Watson and Carmen? Even bring Van Amstel back and let him dance with Smirnoff for cry eye, but don’t limit it to the pros on the show — they’re not top class (excepting the aforesaid Karina, but, since ballroom takes two, you can’t see what she’s made of unless you see her dance with a great pro partner). (How much do I LOVE, by the way, that there’s a Wikipedia entry on Louis?!) For Standard, we have a top world couple right here in the U.S. Is it that hard to fly Jonathan Wilkins and Katusha Demidova from NY to LA for one night? The pros on the show are fine for dancing with the celebs but if you’re going to tout the first results / all pro show as showcasing great professional talent, bring in the best.
But what really weirded me out the most about tonight was, after being upset that Paulina was voted off (the first time, I must confess, that I’ve ever been annoyed about anyone on the show getting the boot), I visited the DWTS message board to see if anyone perhaps had a chance to say anything yet. I figured I’d be WAY too early. Wow, was I ever wrong. I logged on at 10:02 — 2 minutes after the show ended and maybe 5 or 6 after Paulina was announced first off. In that time, there were nine threads. The top one, posted less than 60 seconds before I logged on, had already received 1,113 views. THAT’S 1,113 VIEWS IN LESS THAN 60 SECONDS. I’m sorry but when I post a message on the Winger message board I’m lucky if it gets 10 views in a whole day — and that’s the most popular website in existence on ballet. Doug Fox of Great Dance, an extremely popular dance website centered around using internet technology to promote concert dance, recently revealed his stats on his page views and I think he got that many in an entire day on the whole site. I feel like I’m beginning to understand where Terry Teachout’s annoyance is coming from. I had no idea there was this degree of difference between a popular TV show and ballet. I no longer think that the internet is the be-all and end-all right now, the best way to reach out to people and gain new audiences. If the internet is the future I don’t think it’s the present. The present is still the good old fashioned TV. Obviously the internet is a good aid for promoting dance, through the blogs and message boards, but there needs to be more ballet on TV. I don’t know how — commercials maybe? A full-length ballet once in a while like the Met Opera is doing. Except it needs to be on a basic network and during prime time. When I was watching Leeza and Tony do their foxtrot to “Strangers in the Night,” I of course thought of Marcelo (okay, AND Baryshnikov!) Tharp’s ballets are so modern, so fun, and so relatable. Certainly the same audience who gets so into ballroom would be into her, right?! Or, Alvin Ailey’s The River or Pas de Duke, or Revelations even — they all contain some elements of Samba and Jive, etc. Anyone who takes any interest in DWTS would simply be blown away by those dancers and choreographies.
Also, reading the show’s message boards made me a bit nauseated. This was hardly Ballet Talk. People were talking on such a low level. Though many were, happily for me, disagreeing with Paulina’s being booted, most were saying things like ‘so and so sucks,’ ‘so and so is horrible,’ ‘no, that’s idiotic, it’s so and so who needs to be put out of his misery’… etc. etc. with nothing more, no specifics about their technique. But maybe viewing the greatest dancers in the world do Tharp’s version of “ballroom” would start to elevate the level of popular discussion of dance, and, hence, better promote it? I dunno, I’m tired and annoyed and just a bit disappointed in ‘my peeps’ right now!!!