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Dancing With the Stars: anti-American Theme Week
I have been looking forward to watching the television show "Dancing With the Stars" since last week when they announced they were going to have American themed dances for the April 18th. "Dancing With The Stars" (DWTS) is a reality TV show that matches a professional dancer with a celebrity. It's a contest where each week a couple is eliminated until one winner is standing. Versions of DWTS are shown in countries all over the world. It's the most popular international TV show in the world.
As an avid ballroom dancer (but still very much a novice) I have been counting the days until the American themed show began.
After watching the April 18th show featuring Americana I'm in a funk that won't go away!
Hints of trouble developed early in the show as Ralph Macchio (celeb) and his partner Karina Smirnoff (pro) were practicing. It's as if Ralph knew he was being set up when he said, "I hope my American Samba Brazilian Party Dance keeps me there (high in the ratings)".
For the performance Ralph was dressed like an urban cowboy and both of them wore cowboy boots. Before they started dancing things looked OK, but their routine looked screwy because the music and dance just didn't work well together. Try to imagine a cowboy and cowgirl dancing the Latin Samba to the song "Sweet Home Alabama". Everything about the dance was convoluted and it carried over the the judges when they commented on the dance. The following transcript (made by me) was a conversation between Bruno Tonioli and Carrie Ann Inaba:
BRUNO: Yes, it's an American night and the line dance and two-step were very good, but we are looking at Samba. We want to get the Latin feel that's required for this Latin dance -- it's about sex. [The rest of his commentary is so racy it's not fit to print!]
CARRIE ANN: Excuse me you two!!! It's Americana week, using the Samba element in a celebration of America -- it's sort of a crazy concoction and a tall order....
Compounding the problems with the show were the costumes. Perhaps the worst was worn by Kirstie Alley (celeb) and Maksim Chmerkovskiy (pro). Kirstie looked like a cross between a 1960's hippie and a 1970's disco dancer. Maks looked like a Hell's Angel biker dude. Surely the USA could have been represented by a more wholesome image. If that wasn't bad enough they did the Cha-Cha-Cha -- which is a Cuban dance.
One would assume that an American themed show would feature American dance styles, but that often wasn't the case Monday night. The dances were Samba (Brazilian), Rumba (Cuban), and Viennese Waltz (German).
Except for several foxtrots, which is arguably an American dance that originated during the vaudeville era, there were only a few hints of American culture and heritage in the dance routines. Instead of Viennese Waltz they could have just as effectively danced an American Ballroom Standard waltz, which historians might argue had it's roots in Europe, but is now firmly entrenched in our culture.
There is a wealth of dances the show could have chosen that are American inventions popular worldwide. A few examples would be East or West Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, Texas Two Step, Square Dancing, Night Club Two-Step, or even the Hustle. The absence of the Hustle was especially telling since the king of the Hustle John Travolta made a guest appearance. Not a single dance was done to honor the tradition of American folk music and dance, although there were a few attempts at playing country music.
Besides idiotic programming by the TV producers there is a plausible explanation for the dearth of Americana on American theme week: most of the professional dancers probably don't know American dance styles because the artists have been imported. Of the remaining competitors this list of the country of origin of the pros:
- Cheryl Burke -- USA
- Mark Alexander Ballas -- USA
- Chelsie Kay Hightower -- USA
- Maksim Aleksandrovich Chmerkovskiy -- Ukraine
- Karina Smirnoff -- Ukraine
- Kym Johnson -- Australia
- Louis van Amstel -- Netherlands
Probably the worst choice for music was "American Woman" -- a song done by Canadian rock band Guess Who. Ironically, unlike those south of the border, most Canadians don't call themselves "American". Do these lyrics seem like something that should be used by a TV show honoring Americana?
American woman, I said get away
American woman, listen what I say
Don't come here hanging around my door
Don't want to see your face no more
I don't need your war machines
I don't need your ghetto scenes
Colored lights can hypnotize
Sparkle someone else's eyes
Now woman, get away from me
American woman, mama let me be
After watching the show several times and analyzing its details, it's difficult to determine if the intention of the television producers was to insult the USA or if it has been so long since they did a show featuring patriotism that they forgot how to do it. To put it mildly the show was an ugly caricature of Americana that will serve the interests of the globalists who want to hoodwink the public into thinking everyone south of the border is an American.