9 Out of 10 Screaming Fans Think They Can Dance; Do You?

Last Friday, Ryan and I drove down to Chicago for (wait for it…) the live tour of So You Think You Can Dance. We can blame this all on my mother. Somehow, over the summer she managed to coerce me, my sisters, and our respective husbands (except Nunz) into agreeing to attend this spectacle at the United Center. There may have been some parental guilt involved. Anyhoo, it promised to be a rockin’ night of music, dance, and feeling extremely old and uncoordinated.

Boy, were we not disappointed! The music was thumpin', the dancers were attired in family-friendly midriff-bearing tops (sexy but not *too* sexy) - or no tops at all on the men, occasionally, much to the delight of the largely teenage girl audience - and the flashing lights were just shy of seizure-inducing.

Yes, but how was the dancing? you must be wondering. It depends on whom you ask.

It is important to understand that as a family unit we may *appear* relatively cohesive (tall, dark-haired women who all laugh hysterically at Peter Sellers movies) but our level of familiarity with the "So You Think You Can Dance" phenomenon is WILDLY inconsistent. At one end of the spectrum, you have my mom. She and Al watch the show religiously. They could surely recount the hometowns, day jobs, and signature routines of all of the dancers pictured below:

In the middle portion of the continuum of "SYTYCD" knowledge are Ryan and me. We've seen a grand total of one episode - an early episode from a few seasons ago, when a guy fell on his head. I don't mean "fell flat on his face" or "fell on his ass." I mean the guy was doing some kind of acrobatic flip and he didn't rotate fast enough in mid-air, and he landed on his head. It was painful to watch - still painful in slo-mo, still painful in super-close-up zoom, still painful in reverse, still painful at double-speed - yup. Any way you slice it, and no matter how many times they replayed it, the dude fell on his head. I'm not saying that the possibility of one of the dancers falling on his or her head was the *largest* part of draw to get us down to see the live show in Chicago, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a wee bit alluring.

I can't speak to Katy's familiarity with the show, but based on Aberdeen's reaction after it was all over ("I thought it would be ballroom dancing. What was with all the booty shaking?") I'm going to put her on the far, far distant end of the "SYTYCD" awareness spectrum. The total media blackout end of the continuum that is typically occupied by members of the pop culture-eschewing intelligentsia or the Amish. Aberdeen is neither, but she's got three small kids and no free time. She heard "the dance sensation that is sweeping America" and probably assumed that the world had finally come to its senses and instituted mandatory public reenactments of scenes from the phenomenal Baz Luhrmann film Strictly Ballroom, which was made in 1992 - roughly coinciding with the last year Aberdeen had free time.

As it turns out, the live tour of "SYTYCD" bears very little resemblance to the competitive ballroom dance circuit depicted in "Strictly Ballroom." Indeed, there was a whole lotta booty shaking going on. I swear that I did not plan this, but in the photo at right (taken with my iPhone) you can see that while the action on stage is totally obscured by the bright lights, the Jumbotron (on the right side of the photo) clearly shows a close-up of the hot-pants-clad booty belonging to one of the female dancers. Oh happy accident - this is semi-professional dance at its finest!

Speaking of bears (oh yes we were), the event was sponsored by Snuggle, so the halftime show included an appearance by the Snuggle Bear, shaking its just-from-the-dryer-soft booty on stage. At first I thought it was a gigantic Tele-Tubby, and that the rim of my margarita glass might have been sprinkled with something other than salt. Perhaps the Snuggle Bear's margarita was spiked, too, because it seemed to be having difficulty maintaining its upright position. Luckily it did not attempt any flashy, crowd-pleasing moves, because I am certain it would have ended up landing on its outsized (albeit plush) head. And because it was halftime, the cameras weren't rolling. How sad it would have been to miss the instant replay!


Anonymous said...

O.K., O.K., O.K. SYTYCD was Lost in Translation as it jet^ed from TVship to earth. It did educate me to the alien world of teenie-bopper groupies, however. The beautiful mix of art and athleticism is forever lost in the void. I had fun with you guys, though. You pick the next one, Mom

Anonymous said...

Oh, no worries, mom - we totally had fun! Especially when Will took off his shirt! ;-)

Jean said...

Whoa, that Snuggle Bear thing sounds totally trippy! Nice!

katybee said...

What a great retelling of our crazy night out! You have a gift.