My heart must be made of cold, black steel, because I am not moved by dance. I know many people are, but not me. During the summer, one our favorite shows our family watches together is So You Think You Can Dance. I’m a total fan. The three of us marvel at the physical feats the dancers are capable of. I love all of the styles—modern, jazz, tap, ballet, hip-hop, ballroom. And I admire the grit it takes for each one of those talented, determined dancers to pursue an art form that almost guarantees a life of poverty and anonymity. It’s a lifestyle very likely to throw in career-ending injuries and maybe an eating disorder to boot. Dancers are tough, and they have to be. But, it doesn’t make me cry, ever. Is dance entertaining? Are Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly amazing? Yes, of course they are. So I find it oddly amusing when I see judge Mary Murphy dabbing at the corner of her eyes after a performance and fanning her face with her hands. When she offers her comments to the dancers on their performance, her voice is often thick with emotion, and she looks like she’s about to lose it there on national television. Really? You’re crying? The choreographers sitting in the audience appear to take it all just as seriously, offering their thanks for the honor by touching the tips of their fingers in prayer. Sometimes they’re moved to tears, too. Producer and judge Nigel Lythgoe has the audacity to declare particular performances so moving, they’re “Emmy worthy.”
OK, before I get too caught up here as the arbiter of what should make people cry or not, let me just say that I can get teary and emotional over really stupid things, too. It’s just not dance. Most movies make me cry, and not just the ones of the Terms of Endearment variety. Frozen made me cry. So did the latest Star Trek movie. And forget it if it’s a beloved movie from my childhood that I get to watch with my kid. Every time I watch Annie with my daughter, I can’t get through “Maybe,” the first song of the first act, without getting completely choked up. Dumb TV can make me lose it too. Like when Zack and Kelly broke up. Yep, I admit that was me reaching for the Kleenex. None of this makes me proud of myself. But for some reason, it seems to be more acceptable to be moved to tears through a reality competition dance-off than a ridiculous sitcom from the early 1990s. One is considered higher art and the other, definitely low. I say they’re the same. No one should be defining for us what’s supposed to be moving and what’s supposed to be trash, though I’m clearly doing that right now. By the way, Two and a Half Men? Crap. Grown Ups? Crap. Grown Ups 2? You get the picture. It’s really all just entertainment meant to help us decompress at the end of the day.
I love Mary Murphy. Sincerely. I think she belongs on the Hot Tamale Train. Dance is amazing entertainment, and I would never be capable of anything like what those dancers do every day. But I’m not going to cry over it.