Why Won’t Ballroom Dancing Catch Up With The Times?


As I discuss in this week’s column, Burn The Floor is the Broadway revue which aims to reinvent ballroom dancing for a new age. But there’s not one African American (or African) in all the international twirlers and whirlers onstage! Aren’t they supposed to have rhythm?

And the (admittedly entertaining) show consists exclusively of nonstop configurations of men and women! In the numbers, the guys are always chasing after the gals, or vice versa, and there’s one where a guy is actually “fishing” for women, who giddily line up on the hook. But they won’t even approach the idea of two men dancing together! Or even two women, an idea that straight men supposedly love! Would that be a nice, contemporary way to reinvent ballroom?

In one piece, two matadors approach each other with eyes flaring, and I thought maybe they would finally go there. But it turned out to be a rivalry dance, not a love tango, and the waxed guys were clinging onto their “fish” before you knew it.

Come on, ballroom. Grow up and make that step!

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 7, 2009

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