Dancers in full panic mode

  • Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sleepless nights. Obsessive mental reviews of the routine. Severe doubts about the wisdom of showing up April 2.
I don’t think I’m alone. As far as I can tell we (the “we” being the Dancing with the Ark’s Stars contestants) are all freaking out just a little bit. The one thing we all have in common is that we are all very competitive and are rethinking the wisdom of that particular trait in this particular situation.
Rep. Jenny Horne is cha-cha-ing her way through lessons. Sen. Paul Campbell is doing the hustle to “Saturday Night Fever” music, Kelly Williams has got her rumba going on and her husband Skip is getting his mind right for the Salsa. I hear that Quince Cody is doing a foxtrot.
I’m practicing the tango although it bears little resemblance to the actual dance.
So while my competitors may be freaking out some, I’m doing it a whole lot.
Not only can I not seem to learn the dance and get the tango attitude – but I can’t figure out what to wear. So, the biggest problem, ladies (and the men who love them) is not the dance, but the outfit – or the lack thereof.
I started with the shoes which is usually my biggest challenge since I wear a 9.5 narrow. I was told to get professional dancer shoes that have suede soles. I’d never heard of that and figured that would be the nightmare of the entire experience. I checked out a few dancer supplies stores and as it turns out, that was the easiest acquisition. The shoes were scratched off my list early on (although I did glue some sequins onto them last night during a particularly violent panic attack.)

The costume has been my obsession for months. I’ve dragged skirts and tops and dresses out of the farthest reaches of my closet – tried them out at rehearsal and thrown them back into the black hole of my wardrobe after seeing the results on video.
So far I have tried out a black tea-length skirt – the effect was very Russian-peasant-looking. Then there were the black chiffon pants that didn’t even make it to the lesson. On the way into the Arthur Murray studio, I caught my foot in the hem of the pants, went sprawling onto the sidewalk like the road-runner lying at the base of the cliff. That little pratfall created quite a scene that had passersby rushing over to scrape me off the sidewalk and resulted in me practicing with battle wounds leaking everywhere. Not only could I not dance for two weeks – I could barely even walk. The scabs just disappeared last week.
Then there was the revolving costume parade that included a pair of black sequin leggings, the sequin scarf, the sequin vest, the off-the-shoulder ruffled blouse (courtesy of someone who actually knows how to dance and who was kind enough to loan me some of her dancewear) and the red sequin top I found on a 60 percent off rack at a local store that I just knew would be “it,” but wasn’t.
What I have decided, finally, is that the problem is not actually the clothes. There is now costume anywhere that will fix the basic problem which is: I am an uncoordinated, pigeon-toed woman of more decades than I like to acknowledge – my tango “ain’t gonna be” a pretty sight.
So folks, if you don’t vote for me, there is no hope.
Check out the video at journalscene.com and feel my pain. Then go to www.dancingwiththearkstars.org and vote as many times as your pocketbook will allow and buy tickets to attend as the six of us try to do something for which we are not particularly well-suited but is likely to be a whole lot of fun.

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