Dance With Me
Ballroom Dancing and the Promise of Instant Intimacy
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: NYU Press
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Preface: The Passion
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I am a college professor who loves her career. My marriage has lasted forty years. Our children like us, our grandchildren live close. We can aff ord life’s small luxuries. So why has a new love turned my once-gray hair blond and my nails long and red and replaced my professional...
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When I am asked how I came to write a book on ballroom dancing, I typically joke that I did it because it gave me an excuse to hang around dance studios. Yet it is hard to imagine that I could have written it if I did not love to dance, a love I inherited from my parents, Harry and Kathleen Smith, who met on a blind...
Introduction to Photographing Emotion
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WALKING IN THE door to DanceSport Academy in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, for the first time on July 28, 2010, the first person I see is dancer Jean Paulovich (figures 3.3 and 7.2), and although he does not recall my name, we instantly recognize each other based on a photo I took of him at his first professional competition...
Introduction: Entering the World of Ballroom
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IT IS THE last night of the 2008 United States Dance Championships (USDC), and the most popular event is under way: the final of the Open to the World Professional Latin Championship. Six finalists dance the five dances that constitute every Latin competition: cha-cha, samba, rumba, paso doble, and jive.1...
1 The Purchase of Instant Intimacy
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ALTHOUGH PHOEBE , A diminutive woman in her sixties, had studied ballroom dance for over twenty years, dance had never lost its glow. She explained, “I don’t have a social life. I only have a dance life. . . . I sacrifice everything for it; friendships, family, they come second.” Phoebe had always loved to dance...
2 The Thrill of Performance and the Agony of Competition
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IN THE DANCING YEARS, legendary dancer Bill Irvine tells a dramatic story.1 He and his wife were up-and-coming dancers, having placed fifth at the 1961 British Championship at Blackpool. When they entered the competition the following year...
3 The Economics of Ballroom
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MARK IS A successful pro/am teacher, taking students to about fourteen competitions a year. When I asked him how many students he typically took, he answered, Three to five or six at a time, when it comes to the local competitions . . . or as many people...
4 Feeling the Dance, Showing the Magic
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THE DESIRE OF dance audiences to believe in the emotions portrayed by the dancers is underscored by the popular television show Dancing with the Stars. This desire is especially strong when audiences do not dance, and each season audiences...
5 The Tan, the Hair, the Makeup: Embracing the Look
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THE PROFESSIONAL BALLROOM competition at any major event is a sight to behold. The men wear tail suits with hair slicked straight back in the manner of Rudolph Valentino. Their hair must stay motionless for the entire event. They keep it shiny and glued to their heads with a wet gel blow dried with lots of...
6 Taking the Lead: The Male Dancer
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JAMES, A HANDSOME and charming American-born dance instructor in his early forties, co-owns a studio in a southern state and is a regular fixture on the competition circuit. When I interviewed him at his studio, we were interrupted by students who told me how much they liked him and what a wonderful teacher he was...
7 Beyond the Glamour: The Female Dancer
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LAURA HAD ALWAYS been a show-off. As a child, she produced shows using her brothers as props and remembered “forcing them into doing things,” such as dressing them up and doing their hair and makeup. She never had dance lessons, although all her friends did and she “wanted them desperately,” because...
8 The Music Hasn’t Stopped: The Aging Dancer
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A NEW YORK TIME S article entitled “Seeing Old Age as a Never-Ending Adventure” described a surge in extreme activities among the elderly, who increasingly view their later years as a time to explore new endeavors once viewed as exclusive to the young.1 The story included a woman who went hiking in the South...
9 Connection Is Key
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I AM WATCHING the pro/am dancing at the Manhatt an DanceSport Competition, a famously tough event. In addition to the high quality of the performances, participants are younger and more ethnically diverse than is typical at pro/am competitions. Ballroom is a passion typically indulged in by older students, especially,,,
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About the Author
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Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2011