1. Black Sheep

    Black Sheep New Member

    To hot shot dancers,
    There a saying in Show Business, "Be kinds to your colleagues on your way up, because you'll meet the same people on your way down".
    The complaints about rude 'hot hot' dancers are too common, ranging from refusing to dance with beginners to forming cliques, and black-balling dancers for whatever reason.
    This is a story that went beyond rudeness; I'll call it, "Backlash".
    In the summer of 1949, I was invited to a Teacher's Dance Exhibition night at the Capri night club in Beverly Hills. I was just two months out of a teacher's training class at Bill Williams Dance Studio on La Brea off Whilshire Blvd. The host and MC for that regular Monday night event was an Arthur Murray Supervisor, Rocky Mari. Rocky was physically built like myself with an energy level that was exuberance personified. Show time was a midnight affair after a full evening of dancing to the full variety of Ballroom dances to a live band. My date, Janine Shepherd was a fellow trainee graduate of two months. Although Janine had had some ballet training, I was a complete beginner when I entered the teacher's training class. Sitting with us at the same table was Lance Stevens and his wife Rae, our Training Class Instructors. The night club was loaded with 50-60 teachers from the various dance studious around Los Angeles. There were no students. This Monday night was strictly for professional teachers. And this was my first night club experience with my colleagues. When the Midnight Show started, each studio had at least one couple representing them with a different ballroom dance and the costumes were beautiful and the routines were all rehearsed close to perfection. Finally the last dance exhibition was ready to start which was always the privilege of the host, Rocky Mari. But in the semi darkened room, I heard the name Joe and Janine, and found our table suddenly bathed in a spot light directed from the band stand by Rocky Mari. Instead of his performing the last exhibition, he held up the show, insisting Janine and I do an exhibition Swing. Rocky's insistence lasted 3 or 5 minutes, before the cajoling of our training class teacher, Lance Stevens finally got us up front and center doing our very basic moves to a medium slow swing which was a very painful experience. When we finished our amateurish exhibition in front of the seasoned dancers, Rocky directed the spotlight as it followed us to our table with accompaniment by the polite scattered applause. Then suddenly, shocking words echoed through the night club as Rocky announced over the microphone, "Now I'll show you what the Swing should look like." What followed was an exceptionally well executed exciting flying Lindy routine by Rocky and his partner. Bummer!
    Ten summers later, I'm walking along Sunset Blvd in Hollywood with my second wife, Adele Kirkham, a very talented dancer. The banner sign fronting the Purple Onion reads, 'LATIN NIGHT'. We sit in a dark corner in the back of the room as Rocky Mari MC's the show. For the closing number Rocky does a Mambo that lacks any luster at all. As Rocky begins to end his show with compliments to the band and the dancers, the audience begins a chant, "We want Lanza! We want Lanza!" When the chant would not cease, Rocky finally spoke softly over the microphone in an exaggerated confidential tone, "You feel like dancing Joe?" That was the first time in ten years Rocky ever acknowledge my presence although we often frequented the same dance clubs. When Adele and I arrived at Rocky's microphone, he asked, "What would you like to dance?" I grabbed the mike and announced, "Rocky, now I'm going to show you how the Mambo should be done."
    A year later, Laure' Hale, an Arthur Murray Supervisor told me Rocky was selling lamp shades in New Mexico.

    Black Sheep
     
  2. dancedevine

    dancedevine New Member

    a surefire solution

    it's such a shame that some people need to slam someone in order to prove their own worth! What happened to you as a new teacher was beyond low!:snake:

    It would be so nice if we could offer our genuine encouragement and appreciation to budding and former bloom dancers instead of the far too frequent barrage of rapid fire rudeness! I think there is ample room for all of us and then some in this world of dance!

    So for all the mean people out there ... the snipers and sh*t-starters ... stop it! You're ruining it for everyone!!! Your caustic remarks toward your fellow dancers make it way too scary for many of us (would be dancers) to study or even try to dance ourselves, lest we fall victim to your cruel, personally humiliating remarks.

    So be nice fellow dancers...and let's see if this doesn't change things.
    Might our student lists expand?
    Our dance public demonstrations and exhibits increase? Our public school programs and opportunities rebirthed through generous public and private financial support?
    I have met too many people who are turned off of or afraid to dance because of the potential for redicule and humiliation for supposed mistakes as judged by the dance expert/self-appointed critic! :peace:
     

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