Sarah Breck and Dax Hock were on the television show “Live to Dance” recently. Unfortunately for them, Dax injured his back before their performance in the semi-final round. However, I think it probably was for the best because it gave the judges something to talk about other than the dance itself.
Seriously, they talked about the injury, the music selection and the energy of “The Lindy Hop,” but no one talked about the dancing itself. And does anyone else find it insulting that they didn’t even acknowledge that Sarah was even there? After all that, do we really want to hear their opinion of our dance?
Because of the injury, there were no aerials or stunts, just straight up social dancing. Make no mistake, this was a very good performance. Could have it been better? Probably. I thought their debut performance together last year was at least. Ultimately, I don’t think it would have made any difference.
In every appearance of Lindy Hop in a major media outlet before this, there was always some sort of complaint or excuse about its presentation. Too many aerials or tricks, dancers not good enough, or they were just not real Lindy Hoppers .
Well, we finally gave it to them this time. Professional level Lindy Hoppers just dancing probably the best example choreographed social Lindy Hop you’ll ever see on network television. In the end, only one judge really liked it while one disliked it and another was ambivalent.
Given the way the show has been billed with Paula Abdul giving verbal blow jobs even to terrible dancers, you know you’re in trouble when the best she can muster is “meh.”
Believe it or not, this was actually way better than I thought it could have been.
I’m hearing the chorus already: “Maybe if Dax wasn’t hurt.” “Maybe if there were some aerials.” “The judges just don’t get it.” Etc.
I think we just need to readujust our expectations of the way people perceive our dance.
It’s not that most people don’t get Lindy Hop. They get it well enough just fine.
They also just don’t care. Get over it.
I like to wax poetically about our dance as much as anyone else , but it really isn’t for everyone as evidenced by the fact that most of your friends, family, and co-workers wouldn’t be caught dead in a beginner swing lesson no matter how many times you invite them. That we got one third of the judging panel to like it is a way better percentage than I would hope from a random selection of regular viewers.
If it’s any consolation, the ratings for “Live to Dance” are falling faster than a thing that falls really fast on something that will make it fall even faster. At this rate, if by some miracle the show doesn’t get cancelled before the finals, there won’t be anyone watching it anyway.
Despite that, I know it’s a bitter lesson to swallow: That no matter how much you are true to yourself or how much effort you put into something, everything won’t always go your way.
You won’t always get that job you applied for. That guy you gave your number to won’t always call you back, and your “friend with benefits” won’t fall in love with you no matter how many times you sleep together.
And not everyone is going to love your chosen form of American Vernacular Jazz Dance. That’s life. After you cry yourself to sleep tonight with that knowledge, go live the rest of it. Then get some dancing in.