First of all, let me say thank you once again to everybody who came out to our monthly-dance-turned-Daniel’s-birthday-party last night. It was a ton of fun, Daniel was delighted, and we will be eating the leftover snacks for days! Extra shout-outs to one couple (you know who you are) for bravely attending your first social dance EVER. It only gets easier from here!
Now, then (weird transition phrase, that). After finally watching Monday’s Dancing with the Stars sometime around Wednesday night–DVR is a necessity for the overscheduled–and seeing Kirstie Alley’s much-discussed fall, I realized I didn’t want to be the only dance blogger not to, well, discuss it. So: my thoughts, let me show you them.
I thought Maks was incredibly professional in the way he handled the whole thing. He immediately cued Kirstie back into the routine by listening to the music and taking a position that told her where they would pick up in the choreography. Then, once it was over, he took full responsibility for the fall–although Kirstie chimed in on Twitter and said “Maks is too humble; we all know it takes two to tango.” But as Daniel always reminds beginner gentlemen, the man is in charge on the dance floor but that means he has to take the blame if something goes wrong.
As for Kirstie, I’ve been impressed by her performances anyway, but the way she rose to the occasion of dancing the rest of her routine really knocked my socks off. That’s where her professionalism–born, I assume, of a long show-business career–stood her in good stead. Adrenaline can sometimes be your friend too: the worst has already happened, your body is buzzing from dealing with the sudden and unexpected, and stopping is not really an option, so why bother being cautious or anxious through the rest of the routine?
I worry that some people will look at the fall, think “Oh, that happened because Kirstie is too fat” and conclude that people who are not already at a healthy weight shouldn’t be dancing. Granted, Kirstie is not a 90-pound sylph, but few people are. Kirstie’s weight cannot have been an issue in that move, which (as she and Maks pointed out later in the “celebriquarium”) they had rehearsed a million times. Maks wouldn’t have put it in the choreography if he didn’t think they could both accomplish it. Ballroom dancing is impressively adaptable to people of all shapes and sizes; you don’t have to already be skinny and fit to start dancing or even to dance at quite a high level. It is also–as DWTS has shown repeatedly–an excellent way to get in shape and lose weight if that’s your goal.
People forget, when they see dance performances in their final state, that hours of blood, toil, tears, and sweat go into perfecting those performances. To me, Kirstie’s fall was merely an instance in which that hard work momentarily became visible in the final product. No one wants that to happen, but in a way I think it’s beneficial when it does. Dancing seems to intimidate a lot of people because they think of it as a product of talent rather than effort. I’ll give you a hint: it’s mostly effort. Which is why, in the course of learning the rumba routine we danced for everybody last night, I elbowed Daniel in the forehead hard enough to make a sound (“thwock!”) and Daniel once snorted (by accident) right behind my head and made me burst out laughing. Fortunately, those things happened in lessons and not in a performance. Kirstie and Maks did exactly the right thing when they just got up and kept going as if nothing had happened. That’s the part we could learn from. Daniel and I are both guilty of letting minor mishaps show on our faces when they would probably have gone unnoticed otherwise. It’s something we should work on so that if we ever have a major mishap on the floor, we have the wherewithal to follow Kirstie & Maks’s example and just keep going.