November 28, 2007 Edition

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Life with a dance critic

Vivian Heyl
TD Staff

My mother loves watching "Dancing With The Stars" on ABC. She critiques each performance with complete disregard for anything approaching a genuine understanding of the intricacies of dance.

Her authority is derived from knowing what looks stupid and what doesn't. She watches intently as the dancers perform acrobatic maneuvers and then pronounces her verdict. Those people aren't dancing they're just gyrating around on the floor. Looking wise she will inform the rest of us, "Now Fred ~ Astaire he could dance. Ginger Rogers ~ she knew how to look graceful on a dance floor. These people don't know what dancing is."

She does seem to like Marie Osmond even though "she's getting old" (almost 50) and "she's a little fat." Mom is pushing 86 with all her might and her weight has never been ideal.

She was rooting for Cameron Mathison who plays Ryan Lavery on her favorite soap "All My Children." She didn't necessarily think that his dancing was all that great (he mostly just leaps around), but she apparently felt she owed him some loyalty because of his role on the soap.

She was concerned that he was going to hurt himself. "He's going to do that one time too many," she pronounced as Mathison leapt off a platform and sailed over the head of his dance partner. "Then he won't be walking let alone dancing."

When he was voted off she was a bit disappointed, but then she thinks the judges are a bit off in the upper story so there's no telling who will get to stay and who will get kicked off.

"I bet none of those people (the judges) can dance worth a flitter," she said last night as they passed judgment on the last three couples still in the competition. It's alright if she says their dancing is terrible, but let the judges make a disparaging remark and that is unacceptable.

As I write this (Tuesday) tonight will be the last night for the show. Mom will have to watch it by herself as I won't get home early enough to join her. I'm sure she will fill me in on how the show went.

She's pretty sure Marie isn't going to make it and she may be right. She doesn't enjoy the type of dancing that the other two contestants do. The dancers are a little bit too suggestive for her. Not how she would phrase it but I am being diplomatic.

Now if "Dancing With The Stars" could bring back Astaire or Rogers or maybe Danny Kaye, Judy Garland or Eleanor Powell she would be happy. I know she would sit in front of the TV and say with absolute conviction, "Now those people know how to dance."

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