You Can’t Stop the Beat – Dance: The Gen X Addiction
by Kelli Kilgore — City of Virginia Beach
December 04, 2007 – 04:01
Dance has for years played second fiddle to other art forms on television. Until recently, dance was the background to musicians and singers. It was the filler on award shows and sketch comedy programs. Dance was not at the forefront and beamed into homes during primetime. It didn’t dominate the ratings wars because there weren’t programs that dared to approach it as the focus. That is until Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance grabbed hold of unsuspecting audiences and hasn’t let go.
Four years ago the fall months were filled with glitzy, glamorous outfits, and professional ballroom dancers found themselves becoming household names with the introduction of Dancing with the Stars. As this phenomenon transpired, another strange change occurred. Grown women from their 20s to their 40s found themselves bound by this new medium. Dance and curiosity about dancers were tempting viewers who were wary of online interaction to message boards and MySpace, all in the name of dance. I was among the ranks of those lost in the twirly haze and the beauty of an art form so long left in the background. The addiction ran strong, but it was fortified by the advent of So You Think You Can Dance the following year. Those long summer months that many lovingly referred to as “the time that DWTS forgot” was now filled with a younger crop of leaping lovelies. This show, in its cheesy American Idol imitation, embraced even more dance forms and brought choreographers and dancers right into your living room. Gen Xers fell in love with it. But why? What was is about this seemingly banal show that made so many clamor to watch and vote and run to see it live?
I’m not quite sure, but it may be the humanity within the insanity. Logically, educated older viewers should scoff at the silly little dance shows, but instead they were moved by the strife and strength of the dancers. Dance is not a skill you can necessarily fake, so contestants, even the worst contestants, delivered the goods and entertained. Their bodies defied space and gravity and contorted those watching into a frenzy of amazement. The dancers’ personalities drew viewers in and it became more than just dance. Beautiful moments were captured much like the performance Hide and Seek, where raw emotion and pure talent were put on display for the audience’s enjoyment. Closet dance lovers came out in droves and stood proudly arm in arm, talking endlessly about foot position, lines and precision. We were moved. Dance had galvanized us all, addicts united and proud.