Dancing Without the Stars

Flying solo.

Hey, I was dancing on TV.  Didn’t get to team up with Cheryl Burke or compete against Snooki from Jersey Shore. Didn’t divide the nation over whether my crap moves really deserved to get more votes than Chaz Bono. But there I was busting moves, nationwide.

The show was a documentary called Flying Solo, produced and directed by Toronto filmmaker Scott Harper for CBC’s Doc Zone series, focusing on the stories of people who are choosing the single life. While the crew was filming some shots in my apartment I happened to break into a little dance, as I am sometimes prone to do in my home when, as on most days, cameras are absent. Do it again, they pleaded. So I did, somewhat self-consciously this time. A brief clip of my Fred Astaire routine ended up onscreen.

The months between the filming and eventual airing of the doc were nervous. Would I share the viral fate of the Star Wars Kid or perhaps a cat falling into a toilet? Ultimately my worst fears were not realized—most Facebook judges said I did okay.

I like to dance. That’s what I call it regardless of what anybody else says. I once took lessons for a magazine story, and confirmed the fact that I can only dance if I am not required to do anything specific. Waltz, foxtrot, salsa—I’m pretty much useless. I’m no good at anything that requires following a plan.

I also love to sing. I rarely do that in public either. Sometimes if I’m walking over a bridge in a strong wind I’ll sing out loud, but I shut up if anyone gets into earshot.

There are two completely separate strains of thought in popular culture. People often repeat the phrase “Dance like no one’s watching.” Let go of your shame and get down, the philosophy says. And yet TV listings are heavily weighted with judging. Endless parades of singers and dancers are savaged by panels of paid assassins while the mob votes by phone or text.

The judging is the fun part of those shows. I only used to watch American Idol for the early freak show episodes. Once the train wrecks were cleared out in the early auditions I lost interest. So I am in no position to complain if anyone was inclined to snicker at my So You Think You Can Dance moment.

Dance as if no one’s watching? I don’t know. These days everybody is waiting to record and upload your awkwardness and pretty soon the check out clerk is trying not to snicker while you pay for the groceries. But I do think once in a while you should draw the drapes and dance when there really is no one watching. It feels good.



Post Date:

November 11, 2013