The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Know I CAN'T Dance

      I admit it. I love the show So You Think You Can Dance? and I make the admission without a smidgen of shame or guilt.

photo by THA J-SQUAD

      My friends think it's ironic, my fondness, because I am notoriously not a dancer. I cannot do Richard Simmons' "Sweatin' to the Oldies." I cannot do any kind of exercise that gets in the vicinity of dancing, and when it comes to full-blown dancing...? Forgetaboutit. The simplest of steps confound me. I am what people envision when they say "White people can't dance."  I am horrendously uncoordinated.

      (In fact, last year at our school we had an after-school dance/exercise class for our parents, kids, and staff.  The dances we did were various slide/shuffle dances; we'd start out facing one direction but constantly were taking a step to the left, turn, etc. This really screwed me up, because normally when I get trapped into activities like this, I get as far to the back of the room as possible, so my gawkiness will not be put on youtube witnessed by others. This time, although I started at the back, after a couple of turns there I was, in the front, and I got so discombulated, some of the students--gifted dancers they were--were shrieking, "We're watching you, and then we get mixed up." It was an afternoon full of laughter.)

      Back to the topic at hand...

      I love So You Think You Can Dance? because it takes an assortment of young adults and forces them to dance out of their box week after week. Some of the kids are street dancers without any formal training, and one week they have to do a waltz and the next they have to do a Bollywood number. Some of them are classically trained ballet dancers, and they have to krump and hip hop and jive.

      Their passion also appeals to me. When the dancers are able to wow the judges and audiences, these young men and the women cry. So committed they are to their art. So alive do they feel when they leap and lift and twirl. So thrilled they are to have moved someone.

      Here it is, Hope  As writers, we have to think outside the box. We have to stretch our writing abilities. If we normally write personal essays, taking a foray into horror or romance (or Horrors! Romance!) might be a pleasant surprise.

    And we have to be passionate about writing. We should be emotionally connected to our craft. We should get fired up about our work.

    'Cause if that's not happening, we're not doing it right.


  1. I am definitely not a dancer. This was made clear to me many years ago when I went to take a dance class and at the end of it the teacher said that maybe I should try something else. Of course, trying to take a tap dance and showing up in clunky work boots probably didn't help either.

    I like to experiment with writing styles. That's something that's so wonderful about blogging: I can play around with writing different things and see what the response is. Like a dancer, the writer who stretches is just getting into shape to write better.

    Tossing It Out

  2. I think I am an awesome dancer...after three or four margaritas. LOL I don't dance. Ever. People will think I'm having some sort of seizure and call 911. I do agree with stretching, though, especially as a writer. Doing that now trying to write nonfiction stuff. It's hard! But I'm learning a lot. :)

  3. I am very passionate while writing within my comfort zone. When I sit down to write fiction, my mind goes blank. It's a chore. I write fiction like Elaine Benes dances. Except for the thumbs and the little kicks. It is painful for all parties involved.

    It's hard for this old dog to learn new tricks.

  4. Arlee Bird--Thanks for stopping by. I like the idea of experimenting, and then seeing what the response is. We all write for an audience. It helps us to find out what our audience thinks...

    Fireblossom--You're a SD.

    Lisa---I'd love to hear about the nonfiction you're working on.

    Val--Okay, how about taking a nonfiction "core" and changing some elements to make it into semi-fiction?

  5. I get it. Sort of like A Million Little Pieces, except admitting that it's fiction!

  6. I've never watched "So You Think..." I already have my American Idol addiction (and to a lesser extent, I can be drawn into "Dancing with the Stars" -- though I think the word "stars" is a bit misplaced!). I do love how those shows bring out the the commitment and courage of the contestants. And you're right, we must have all that and more as we pursue our work as writers!

  7. I don't know Sioux, I've tried do things out of my comfort zone (writing a different genre) and I still stink. I mean really stinky. I can't dance either although I'd love to.


Thanks for your comments. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by...