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  • September 21, 2011

    Dancing with the Stars IMDB User Reviews

    My friends all think I watch this program for the skin-show but they couldn't be more wrong! Okay, who wouldn't enjoy watching such a lavish disply of youthful physicality? But Dancing With The Stars is SO much more than that. Start with the moment the professional dancer meets his (or her) new partner. That could be anything from a race car driver to a famous actress to a computer geek to a cowboy -- or who knows what else? The partners are from different worlds. They barely know each other but their destinies are now in each other's hands. In a matter of moments, they will be locked in embrace -- swaying -- gripping -- tumbling -- sliding sensuously together -- and spending entire days sweating all over each other from elevated head to pointed toe.

    Show #1 of the season: It's Monday and the moment of truth has arrived. All those endless practice sessions -- will they pay off? Will it be triumph or disaster? Welcome to the dancer's world. Onstage, awaiting their cue -- the partners lock eyes -- committed, body and soul! Do or die. Now or never. There may be six billion people on the planet -- but right now there is no one who can pull this off but YOU and your partner. Hit it, "live" orchestra!

    A small eternity passes; the dance is over. Yes, there were some mistakes. Small ones? Huge ones? Did anyone notice? Did you make an utter fool of yourself? The ultimate challenge has passed -- the look that passes between partners is beyond description. Impossibly -- they've done it! It's over. It's a magical moment of accomplishment and relief.


    Oh, but it's NOT over. Chests heaving, they walk to the judging area where they await triumph -- humiliation -- or, mercifully, maybe something in-between. Another colossal challenge looms. You just danced your heart out -- pushed yourself beyond all known limits -- gave it your ALL. But what you think does not matter. These three regal people are the judges. They have observed your efforts and will now apply an impassive clinical dissection. It doesn't matter that they are opinionated, fallible, biased, moody, and often all too human. They ARE the judges and you will have to stand there with the world watching and take it -- whatever it is ... contempt for your heroic efforts -- marginal acceptance -- praise for your feeble attempt at showmanship -- ridicule for your awkwardness -- exaltation at your excellence -- or just more salt in your wounds. You WILL accept it -- whatever it is -- and move on. You have another dance to learn for next week -- or maybe even two or three!

    I hope this program brings to the public a much greater appreciation for the character of professional dancers. Though their talents are rarer, their achievements much riskier, their work load much harder, and their careers shorter, the chances for stardom and wealth that are there for other performers have rarely been there for dancers. Before I started watching this show, I had no idea that humans could produce such supreme beauty using only their brilliantly costumed bodies! I had no idea there were people outside Cirque De Soleil who could perform such spectacular feats of strength, elasticity, musicality, and split-second timing. And I never dreamed that anyone who had not experienced a lifetime of training could even come close to dancing at a professional level. Frankly, the idea that a professional dancer would even be willing to attempt some of these feats with a rank amateur still astounds me.

    It's no ordinary gig. As the weeks go on, there will be a personal bonding that takes place between partners that will be as genuine as anything they experience in their lives. They will on occasion go to the limits of mind, body, and soul. For them, this experience is about as likely to fade as Wyatt Earp's and Doc Holliday's memory of the gunfight at the OK Corral! Clearly, if they live to be a hundred, they will still reflect on this unique journey of growth, trust, and courage.

    Tuesdays are elimination days and they are cruel. This is when the pros and the amateurs will have to face the combined whims of the judges and the television audience. It won't really matter at all how well you danced if America should decide to vote thumbs down on you -- or simply ignore your performance in favor of their favorite celeb -- you will be going home. And the impossible dream will be over.

    Personally, I think this part is unnecessary. The rest of the show is so profoundly positive -- I don't appreciate this negative holdover from American Idol. I would rather see ALL the couples dance it out to the last, accumulating points as they go. I also think participants should be required to pass a strength and flexibility test (to avoid the serious injuries) and I don't think they should ever have to prepare more than one dance per week. I would definitely much rather see them do their level best at ONE dance than struggle through two or three half-prepared numbers on show day.

    Maybe I'm quibbling here -- but who wouldn't want a great show to be perfect! And here's a thought -- how about a spin-off series -- "Tango With The Stars" that features ONLY the tango?

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