Ballroom Dancing: NOT a Sport

For some reason, here at Little Café Near Home, we are watching some sort of Ballroom dancing competition. Like figure skating, it fails on all three of my criteria for being a good sport:

  1. No judges – if you need someone else to tell you who won, it’s not a sport at all. Lack of an empirical scoring system removes the activity from even being considered as a sport, let alone a good one.
  2. Scoring must be a significant event – NBA, please take note. Scoring should be a cause for celebration.
  3. Scoring must be possible – take hockey. Points are rare, but things are nuts and a score could happen at almost any moment. Soccer occupies this weird realm where almost scoring is such a rare event that even that is cause of great emotional release. I will grudgingly allow that perhaps you can derive some tension from knowing that your team could in the next few minutes work their way into a situation where they almost score (but probably won’t).

Anyway, ballroom dancing stumbles at criterion number one, and so cannot be considered a sport at all. Yet here it is on the Czech sport channel. All other judgement of worthiness aside, I watched for a while and wondered, “isn’t dancing supposed to be fun?” I watched a little longer and had to wonder, “isn’t dancing supposed to be about being with someone?

Here’s the thing: the women in these events have their backs arched and their necks twisted such that one must conclude that they find the man they are with repulsive. They hold their heads as far from their partner as possible, with plastic smiles on their faces, looking anywhere but at the man. I’ve had dance partners like that, actively radiating disinterest, lest I get the wrong idea. Yet here are the friggin’ professionals, people who theoretically have chosen to be together, yet to appear to be enjoying the company of your dance partner is considered bad form. When the music’s over they still don’t look at each other; they turn and suck up to the crowd. I wonder what would happen if one of these teams went out and did a really passionate dance, eyes locked, and at the end the dude gave her a little kiss. Maybe just a kiss on the hand, thanking her for the wonderful time they just spent together. Like they were courting. Like they were dancing.

Forget about whether it’s a sport; in my book, this competition is not even dancing. It is, to twist a phrase, strictly “ballroom”.


6 thoughts on “Ballroom Dancing: NOT a Sport

  1. OMG this reminds me of middle school and how for a month or so in the winter they gave us all dance lessons. Neither side was too interested in the other.

  2. I’ve got a lot of love for this post.

    You yanked a chuckle right out of me with the comments about soccer. Then all the stuff about nobody even looking at each other during the dancing – that why I haven’t learned any formal dancing!

    I’ve tried line dancing and it was too much like trying use my whole body to solve geometry problems. Give me some drum ‘n’ bass and let me flail around like a dervish and I’m happy all night!

    Then there’s tango – the ‘vertical expression of a horizontal desire.’ I know some day I will need to learn the tango. What makes it attractive is that you do actually look into your partner’s eyes! Perhaps in tango competitions you get more points for the nuances of your gaze?

    I agree with your criteria for sport. The only way dance competition could be called ‘a sport’ is if it was a dance marathon. Let’s see her plastic smile at hour number 19!

  3. Oh this was good. The comments excellent too. Jose, the idea of guys hurling themselves around like a dervish describes most of my high school dancing. Except for that really one smooth dancer. I doubt he was looking into my eyes but that’s a story for another day.

    Jer, great points!

  4. Take it from me: when Jose’s on the dance floor, he’s givin’ lessons. The dude has the moves and if you just want to hang out and be the music with him, then welcome aboard.

  5. *perk* Jose can dance?? Wow. Not flail as if someone spiked his beer with diet soda and midol? (old myth coke and aspirin could make you crazy – nobody could catch anything but full bladder with that combo thus high school gals changed the combo to more useful liquid and pills)

    So when and where’s the Jer annual dance party going to be held then?

  6. Some clear, stand-out memories from Soupboy’s fantastic birthday celebration last year:

    “Whoa! I am soooo hammered and the floor seems very slippery yet I can still dance to this Drum ‘n’ Bass it’s so great and HEY! That’s Jerry bustin’ the moves too what a great party my life is wonderful…..HEY! It’s gotta be at least 2 hours now and Jer’s still with me! YEAH!!! WE ROCK HARD!!!”

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