Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Got Canned Heat in my Heels Tonight, Baby…

I love to dance. Or should I say loved to dance.

As a child, I dreamed of being a Fly Girl or an opening number dancer for the Oscars. The glory of VHS technology allowed me to rewind and play dances over and over until I learned every step. I leaped, twirled, and dreamed hard, but ultimately my professional dancing career became a dream unfulfilled as I set out to fulfill expectations instead.

As I tearfully explained to Debbie Allen when I met her on the set of Grey’s Anatomy last year, “Dancing wasn’t meant for me in this lifetime.” She hugged me and said, “Oh honey, that’s what they told me too, but I just did what I wanted.”

But I know it’s too late for me – the Heather Morris’ of the world are rising fast and my body just doesn’t move that way. I watch videos from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy and I’m blown away by their talent. Was I ever that good? Who knows.

So I watch dance videos on YouTube whenever I’m feeling nostalgic for what might have been. I watch the iconic dance performances (Hot Honey Rag, Music and the Mirror, anything by Gene Kelly), marvel at Beyonce’s body, and dream privately in my seat.

Lately I’ve become intrigued by dance films. Not films made of live performances, but dances created specifically for being filmed. A unique sign of our intersecting media times.

For example, we all know Irish dance innovators Up and Over It from their popular hand-dancing video:

But I’m also amazed by their dance film Alles Gute zum St Patriks Tag, described as an exploration of “the perception of Irish Dance and the global proliferation of carbon-copy 'Irish Dance' shows.” Bizarre, captivating stuff.

Another stellar example of dance meets filmmaking is this video featuring Melinda Sullivan of So You Think You Can Dance:

Does anyone have other examples to share? Post links below! There can never be enough dance in my life. Especially now.


  1. you're just making me stay up way too late watching youtube videos! :)

    now I hope I have energy for my dance class in the morning. :)

  2. It is hard when you see someone dance really good it makes you doubt about your own abilities. I have always danced tango and when I travelled to Argentina, I stayed in several apartments in Buenos Aires for months to learn more about the dancing technique. When I sawthe tango show, I felt ridiculuos. Almost humilliated. BUt, of course, these people have tango in thblood, in their culture, I was just a humble learner!

  3. Thanks for your comment, Melanie! I think watching someone who's better than you are can be both defeating and inspiring. It all depends on what end of the spectrum you're working toward. But yes, tango dancers in Buenos Aires definitely have an edge! :)