Saturday, December 5, 2009

We Shall, We Shall Not Be Moved

Last night I climbed into my time machine and went back to 1970. A room full of people with scrawny ponytails (men) and lumpy dresses (women) sat, rapt, in the candlelight, on mismatched thrift store furniture, listening to a man sing without moving his lips. It's a style that's thrifty with the alphabet and doesn't expend much energy. Consonants, particularly at the end of words, are discouraged. "Aay wah to lay doww besiii you..." (and, honestly, am I the last person on earth who cares about lay and lie?). It made for excellent napping on a dandy thrift store sofa while waiting for the band we really wanted to hear.

Said band was billed as a dance band. And so it was. Unfortunately, it was not a dance audience. A modest space for dancing had been cleared on the excellent hardwood floor and the band leader announced, first thing, that it would be a good thing to move the tables back as far as possible to make more room for dancing. Imagine the imposing stone faces of Easter Island. Now imagine them sitting around a dance floor, impassive, in lumpy dresses and inadequate ponytails, arms (if they had any) crossed. That's how much they moved. Not at all.

The most recent season of Dancing with the Stars introduced some new dance genres and team performances and last night's exercise has inspired an idea that I think is worth sending in. Obstacle dancing. The audience moves their chairs onto the floor and throws down random clothing items like stocking caps and jackets. Coffee tables with sharp corners ramp up the excitement. A wandering Labrador retriever pulls in the family demographic. They can hold the preliminaries in Portland, Oregon. The course is already set up.