Saturday, November 18, 2006

Remedial manners training

Jimmy K offers some advice.

As for the creep from the library, I say that as long as he's still lipping off, he could use another zap from the taser. Maybe if he sees enough stars he'll realize the universe doesn't revolve around his sorry butt.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

If you like "Dancing with the Stars"....

...why not get a dose of the real thing? One of the premier competitions in the world is in progress right now in Columbus, Ohio - the Ohio Star Ball.

Here you'll see competitive dancing as it's really done. Notice how the women get the short end of the stick on "Dancing with the Stars"? In a real competition, amateur women don't compete against amateur men. And they shouldn't because there are two distinct, not totally commensurable roles.

And of course on DWTS one couple has the entire floor to themselves, with music they've been practicing to. In the real world you don't know what will be played, and you'll have many other couples sharing the floor at the same time. Even among the top pros, collisions and near-misses happen, and how people deal with that ("floorcraft") is an important measure of their talent and composure.

If this sounds interesting, then be ready to go to downtown Columbus on Friday or Saturday. The pros, like local heroes Jesse DeSoto and professional partner Jackie Josephs, will be competing around that time. If Jesse sounds familiar, he's the poor guy who had to carry that heavy load called Shanna Moakler in the most recent DWTS.

Actually there is plenty of competition on other days too - it actually started on Tuesday. Most of this is "pro-am" - a professional teacher with a student. This is the minor leagues where you find guys like me, dancing to shorter passages on smaller floors through countless heats. But somewhere out there you'll find tomorrow's champs.

The pros really earn their money in the pro-am events. Some like Jim Maranto will have many advanced students there doing countless dances and heats. A couple of years ago I asked one particularly busy pro how many times he'd been on the floor and he said it was on the order of 400 times. When you consider that this was with different students doing different routines in different dances at different levels, each with their own unique restrictions, it's quite a feat of stamina and concentration.

Can't make it? You'll get another shot - once again PBS will be there recording, and the show will be broadcast sometime later as "America's Ballroom Challenge" or something like that.