Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dancing, Dancing With The Stars, and the dog show syndrome

Jas told me yesterday that Hobbs was viciously attacked by a pit bull while he was innocently performing his duty of taking Sam out for a walk. The pit bull viciously chewed up Hobbs' tail despite Sam's valiant efforts to drive him off.

Now, unless you happen to be a groundhog, you know Hobbs to be the very model of an even tempered, well adjusted and peaceable canine, exceptionally well suited for his role as Sam's minder when he's out of sight of Deb. Hobbs is very different from the sort of high strung, overspecialized and neurotic dogs that are being bred by upper class twits to win dog shows. Pit bulls are an example of the kinds of dogs bred in the past by lower class twits to win the kind of dog shows that predominated back in the age when bull and bear baiting and dog fighting to the death were the cultural equivalent of Dancing With the Stars.

In short, Hobbs is a good all-purpose dog while pit bulls are bad single-purpose dogs. Just as Jas and Kathy are good dancers and dance instructors while the sort of neuroticly grinning high kickers who teach and dance with the stars on Dancing With the Stars are bad dancers and worse dance instructors. The Dancing With the Stars instructors and the kind of folks who win dance competitions are the pit bulls and ridiculously over-grinning, over-coiffed, over pampered, over-bred, under-dressed, over-specialized poodles of the dance world. Not that there's anything wrong with that, except that the preposterous poodles and steoidal pit bulls are taken out of their properly fenced dog runs and inevitably escape the leash.

On Saturday evening Linda and I went to the Ballroom on High for its second anniversary dance. The first hour of the evening was given over to dance demonstrations that ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous. Jas and Kathy did a real Bolero. A western style couple did a real Two Step and some other country style dances. A swing guy did a real Lindy Hop, which is sort of a jitterbug on steroids. Lin Kettenberg and her husband did a real Foxtrot. All were sublimely better at those dances than any of us ordinary social dancers in the audience who dance for fun and exercise will ever get. But what made them sublime was that they were real; the level of their skill was within range of what we clodhopper social dancers can imagine as being within the range of the possible and desirable.

Interspersed with the real dancers listed above were others who "danced" in the manner of the sort of overbred Chihuahuas and Corgis and Schnauzers and Dachshunds who instruct the stars on Dancing With the Stars in the kind of "dancing" that's more suited to comparison with a performance by the Flying Wallendas or the Chinese National Acrobatic Troup than with a genuine social ballroom dance.

That wouldn't be a problem except for the fact that Jas and Kathy are planning to abandon us and move to Florida. And Farrell plans to turn over their teaching slot to a pair of haughty, overtrained Pit Bulls whose artificial international ballroom competition grins are a cover for their genetic predisposition to bite the tails off us clodhoppers and thus ruin the Wednesday night social dance lesson that we and the other social dancers enjoy.

We had a great time on Saturday night; but it's sad that the event also contained the clear message that the Wednesday night dance lessons will soon go the way of all good things once the "professionals" take over.

5 comments:

GreenNinja said...

I absolutely agree with your conclusion. As one who is slightly better than the Woz, but not by much, I need someone who can explain the moves, demonstrate them more than a couple of times, has patience, and makes it fun, but challenges us at times. John's teaching will be missed and Farrell better find a good replacement or my dancing days are numbered (although some might applaud this).

Sully said...

John and Kathy won't be teaching during the next session of Wednesday night classes; but they will be back for the session after that, I think.

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