My turn

Local dancers need place to kick up feet

2014-03-12T00:00:00Z Local dancers need place to kick up feet Jennifer Pallay Times Columnist nwitimes.com
March 12, 2014 12:00 am  • 

ABC recently announced the new celebrity dancers who will compete on “Dancing with the Stars” and created a buzz like it does every season.

The reality dance show, entering its 18th season, still attracts viewers even after all these years on the air. The show’s liveliness combined with the chance to see celebrities act silly and wear skimpy outfits may be what keeps viewers coming back, but I also think it has something to do with Americans having a dreamy fascination with dancing. The show’s popularity inspired a variety of spinoffs on network television and locally.

Chicago has its own version of “Dancing with the Stars” where local celebrities compete and raise money to support breast cancer research. Northwest Indiana also has a version with famous Region residents called “Dancing with the Local Stars,” which benefits the Lake Area United Way. Clearly, we love to watch people show off their dancing skills.

Over the years, I heard my grandparents’ generation talk about going to dance ballrooms. I heard my mom talk about dancing at great Chicago hot spots. For my generation, it’s harder to come by a place like that.

There are dance clubs where you can twerk it like Miley Cyrus or listen to the bass booming all night while 20-somethings move to the music with each other, but I have never been to a local dance club where they take a few moments to play a slow song. I have never seen anyone in real life who knew how to fox trot or quick step, dance styles that DWTS has made familiar for many of us. The only real chance we have to “dance” like that is at weddings and special events.

I went to all 10 high school dances and loved them. It was always fun to dress up and spend the night dancing with dates and friends. The same has been true of attending friends’ weddings over the years. I’m not a great dancer but it is always fun to kick off my heels and get in there.

A few weeks ago, a high school friend suggested I write a column about why there are no mother and son dances.

There are daddy-daughter dances, she said, but nothing where a mom and her boy can get dressed up and spend time together. As the mother of three boys, I am sure she has done her research.

Her comment got me to thinking of another friend who is a leader at his local Knights of Columbus group and decided to start a series of dances at the hall. His first dance was February 2013 and was a daddy-daughter dance. He was excited to make it a success and have subsequent mother-son dances and other themed events.

The problem was that no one showed up for the daddy-daughter dance. He was not sure why there was such a low turnout but he wasn’t able to go ahead with his other tentative dances based on the failure of the first.

If we all feel nostalgia for dancing and love to watch stars doing it on TV, why are there so few community events with dancing involved? Would you like to see the old styles of dancing make a come back and how could event organizers make a profit while providing this type of entertainment? Do these types of events exist? Maybe this column will start the movement.

The opinions are those of the writer. She can be reached at jpallay14@gmail.com.

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