Last Sunday, the Washington Post Style section explored the connection between dance and football (Leaps and Bounds by dance critic Sarah Kauffman). DC is a major NFL market, so on opening weekend the Post spreads its coverage to all conceivable sections (food, business, religion, you name it).
Few sports have more in common with the formality and artistry of a dance performance. ... In the most artful finish... our hero connects with a wide receiver, sending a whistling pass to a fleet Mercury who will rocket high with a half-spin and full extension, making the catch and keeping it inbounds by the tips of his exquisitely pointed toes.
Ugh. Calm down, lady. Yeah, it's factually correct that "fast and fancy footwork" is essential to success in either endeavor. Sure, you can improve your capabilities by broadening your skill set. It's called cross training, folks, and it ain't new. The Cleveland Browns famously pioneered this stuff in the 80s.
Is it any wonder that a few well-coordinated football players have done so well on "Dancing With the Stars"? That tap-dance quickness they practice, the control and balance they need for their game, can translate into sensational displays on the dance floor. Emmitt Smith waltzed off with the mirror-ball trophy in Season 3; Jerry Rice, Jason Taylor and even 300-pounder Warren Sapp have also swapped shoulder pads for sparkly tuxes and ballroom steps. Sapp, a retired defensive tackle, was as silky and light on his feet as Jackie Gleason.
Agreed. Professional athletes have already proven that they have above average strength, coordination, and timing. Plus, they get a boost in fan support for supposedly stepping out of their comfort zone. "Isn't he brave!" We'll, yeah. I've never denied that it takes major cojones to dance live for (and be judged by) millions of folks who may or may not be forgiving fans. And don't forget, DWTS is heavy with a gay/straight crossover vibe (anyone catch Tom DeLay shoot a smoldering glance and bootyshake in the direction of flame-o-riffic judge, Bruno?).
I'm sure they get ridiculed by a few, but I'd always rank pro jocks as favorites above actors in that format. Just common sense. But I guess my point is that there's no special connection between dance and football. So why do I detect a certain defensiveness coming from the dance side of this partnership? A dancer's perspective is no more essential or insightful than any other athlete's. Can't a quarterback learn valuable lessons in the physics of trajectory from a pro archer, for instance? Lineman from sumo wrestlers? There's no mystical, magical connection between the Bolshoi Ballet and the Buffalo Bills.
So, playfully emasculating professional football players will always work as pop culture theatrics. Tight end + tutu = comedy, right?
It's unexpected and incongruous. But it's not serious. Most of all, it's a worn out sit-com gag. If the cross training helps, keep up with it. But, in the end, dancing football players are a novelty... a distraction. And even gay-friendly Glee knows it.
Check out the clip below, where the football team's choreography training doesn't improve their skills, it only hypnotizes their opponents... and apparently the referees. Delay of game! (Skip to 2:15 if you only want to see the dance.)