I know i can’t dance…
My sister ran home every day after school in the late fifties and until she graduated high school in 1963 to watch American Bandstand. Living in Philadelphia where it originated from, she knew a few of the regulars and would read about the ones she didn’t in “16” magazine, which chronicled who was dating whom. I trailed her by a half dozen years, but there was a fascination back then with watching other people dance on our small black and white screen and the high teen drama and angst played out on in the living room every afternoon that came along with it.
Throughout the mid-sixties, when Bandstand moved to Los Angeles and started broadcasting in color, there were a number of local dance shows on the air, and a few syndicated ones like Lloyd Thaxton and of course Soul Train. I watched…I admit it….but I have long since lost the desire or need.
My dance career lasted from about sixth grade to seventh…where I would do the twist, mashed potato, limbo and swim in our school cafeteria after lunch. The Beatles changed it all because from the first “yeah yeah yeah”, it was all about listening and less about moving. It seems that for many in my generation…or at least those of us who had the good sense to skip over the whole disco thing…organized dancing was just so “establishment”. Look back at footage from the Human Be-Ins, Fillmore or Woodstock days and you see very little dancing. Aided and abetted by electric kool-aid, it was more about individual swaying to and fro with eyes either shut or looking up to the skies.
So anyway…I became a wallflower by choice and still am. I don’t take the wife out dancing, don’t get out of my chair at weddings (except my own…but I was under the influence so it doesn’t count) and absolutely can’t stand the current round of TV shows that seem to be so popular.
To close out with the “everything new is old” theory, it turns out that “So You Think You Can Dance” comes from Dick Clark’s production company. A few years ago they were going to reprise American Bandstand and add in a national dance contest segment. That didn’t exactly work out…so we ended up with SYTYCD. Well…I don’t, I can’t, I won’t. What all this has to do with Americana you ask….not a damn thing I can think of.