Dance Humor/Human Interest
I recently read that the chemicals that are released in the brain when
people laugh, are actually good for their health. So here are a few
dance-related anecdotess to give you a chuckle.
True story: I was teaching a Casino Rueda workshop to
beginners. We went over the first several basic moves
extensively, as many people were having trouble with
them. One of the students suddenly made a loud sneeze.
Another student immediately said, "Enchufla!"
This is another true story. I was at a club and a few
Rueda dancers were forming a circle. We needed one more
follower, so we looked around and asked a very strong
woman dancer if she'd mind stepping into the circle even
though she didn't have much Rueda background. She spoke
Spanish and had lots of Salsa experience; we figured the
leaders could get her through the steps. So we started
dancing and she was doing fine. Then the leader called "Beso"
and she suddenly ducked!!
Above: Casino Rueda Demo at First Night Annapolis,
I have a cartoon on my wall that depicts a
primitive-type cave man and woman in a tropical
paradise. They are in a tango-like dance position, and
the caption reads: I think you misunderstood.....I said
"I'd like a mango."
This is also a true story. I arranged for a few
advanced Rueda dancers to do a demo at a club some years
back. There were two couples and as is the custom, the
caller was making very sure that the other leader heard
the calls over the loud music. So the caller looked
right at the other lead, yelled the calls really loud
while gesturing the hand signals very broadly. After
the show, I asked the guy who wasn't leading what his
family thought, since they'd all come down to see us.
He said, "My mother liked the dancing, but she asked me
why the other guy was yelling at me the whole time!"
One day in my Catonsville class, I was teaching Kentucky
Complicado which is a very nice but pretty complicated
step. A guy in the class who is very funny commented
after mastering the move that in basic training for the
army, if someone did something against the rules, their
commanding officer could yell: "Give me 20 Kentucky
Here is a similar story: Students in my credit class at
the U. of Maryland were reviewing for a skills test.
One said to the other, "The move where you push her back
is Enchufla Doble." The classmate responded, "When I go
over the step names, I feel like I'm ordering off at
Taco Bell menu!"
I have Rueda de Casino dance friends in New York City
who complain that the "on 2" Salsa dancers there
predominate, and let it be known that they feel their
style of dancing Salsa is the best. The Rueda folks
feel a bit "put down" by this attitude. So I got an
email once that was addressed to a bunch of mostly New
York dancers, in which the writer was blowing off steam
about the matter. He said, "Do you ever wish that "on
2" remained in our language solely as a preposition, as
in "Get off the high horse you got ONTO"?!!
When I first began dancing Casino Rueda, I constructed a
"Rueda Trivia" quiz for someone's birthday. They were to
call out the questions and the dancers in a circle would
dance the answer. Here are some of the items:
|Home of a
|A very large hill
|A car gets ahead of
|A car weaves ahead
of several cars
|A swear word
|A swear word and a
||Dame con coca cola
|The fourth prime
|Used when a fencer
takes a jab
|Do this with a hot
|Bottles of beer on
the wall after 9
|Scant bathing suit
|First name of a
weight loss program
called her "Your
|Rueda step with an
obscene hand signal
|Wedding night fun
results in this
|Four of them make a
I have a fond memory of taking a family trip and one of
my boys got a book at a gift store where we were
visiting to read in the car. It was titled: The 776
Stupidest Things Ever Said. He sat in the back and
giggled for the rest of the trip. Periodically he'd read
one of the entries aloud to the rest of us and they
really were hilarious.
So when I was planning a road trip with some of my dance
friends, so we could collaborate with a Philadelphia
Rueda group, I threw a few books in the car to keep us
occupied. To my delight, one of my friends did exactly
what my son had done. He laughed and giggled reading the
book, and occasionally read some entries out loud.
So for your entertainment, here are a couple of them:
"There has been no exclusion. We have simply excluded
all the women." This was said by Nicolas Romanoff,
descendant of the last Czar of Russia to explain why no
women were invited to a meeting to form a family
Here is one Yogi Berra said, to explain why he didn't
want to go to a restaurant: "Nobody goes there anymore.
It's too crowded." (This could be said about some Salsa
Clubs, and everyone would know exactly what was meant!!)
I think this was our favorite: "Outside of the killings,
Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the
country." That was said by Mayor Marion Barry of D.C.
I saw a cute T-shirt at a Salsa Club. It said, "If
there's no Salsa in heaven, I'm not going!!"
And there was a picture of a devil below that.
10. I assembled a group to work on a routine and we were adding
body rolls and ripples in various places to Rueda moves. The group
consisted of one guy and several ladies. They guy left as we were
still going over the technique for these rolls. As he exited
through the door, he looked back and said, "Normally I have to pay for
this type of entertainment."
11. Check out these adorable videos of dancing dogs!!
12. Go to the link below and watch what the notes do. Try making really
fast circles with the mouse.
13. This is a dance-type video of guys on treadmills that is really
clever and hilarious. Don't miss tickling your funny bone with this
out this hilarous video titled the evolution of dance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMH0bHeiRNg&NR=1
15. I don't know if this qualifies as humor, but check out this
inspiring video with the same dance sequence repeated in countless
countries of the world by all the peoples of the world. I think it's
beautiful and heart-warming. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlfKdbWwruY&eurl=http://www.wherethehellismatt.com/?fbid=45iPb If
you like that video, don't miss the "outtakes"--clips that didn't make
it into the final cut of the main video. The outtakes are nice,
too, and funny!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tT8jA_pps3o&feature=user
And now, he has yet another wonderful video with similar theme. If
you have time to watch only one of these videos, make it this one: https://www.youtube.com/embed/Pwe-pA6TaZk?rel=0.
Matt has become a worldwide sensation, and he has now created a video
explaining how he got all the folks in the videos to dance with him in
so many countries: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue1GZ4IUFiU&feature=watch-vrec
He also has a lovely video on how children react to watching his video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNrsHhVTstU.
16. One of the students in my class is quite a wordsmith and
created a website for creative endings to letters. The list is in
the hundreds, and includes such choice endings as:
Who loves ya baby?, Type at you later; Until gossip do us part;
Rock on; Peace and blessings; May you have your best day
yet; May you live in interesting times; Love, laughter and
chocolate; Love ya like a sister (LYLAS); Love and light;
Love and more; Love and pizza; Love and unconditional
personal regard; Love endures; Live, laugh, love;
Later bro; Keeping it real; Ease on down the road of life;
and: Can’t believe you read the whole thing.
17. In October, 2009, I was asked to do something fun---judge a
"Dancing with the Professors" contest sponsored by the Ballroom at
Maryland group of the University of Maryland. Several professors
had agreed to working with a dance coach on a short ballroom routine and
the coaches were advanced ballroom students at the school (they did a
great job!) There were three judges; we all taught either in the
Dance Dept at the University or the Arts and Learning Center. I
sat next to Karen Bradley who not only taught dance but did analyses of
political figures after debates and other speeches, studying the way
they moved and what their body language indicated about them.
Karen sent me this link, on her TV and media work as I inquired about
Check it out; it's really interesting!!
18. Check out the link below. It's Malcolm Gladwell, author
of the ground-breaking book Blink giving
a talk. It's amusing and also very interesting!
ago, one of my colleagues, Victoria Hadar, who teaches Cuban Salsa in
NYC, told me about a modern/ballet choreographer named Emanuel Gat who
was very taken with Cuban Salsa. He saw it danced somewhere kind
of by accident. Anyway, this famous choreographer had his professional
dancers learn our style of Salsa and choreographed a modern dance using
the moves. It's danced to Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring," a famous, old
classical piece of music. Take a look at this video--I think it's
incredible! (Talk about fusions!!)
20. Here is a joke that, as a dance instructor, I like very much:
A man is walking in the streets of NY City and stops someone to ask,
"How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" The second person answers him,
"Practice, practice, practice!"
Malcolm Gladwell in his book "Outliers" says that practice makes
perfect. The best way to achieve the highest caliber of expertise
(leading potentially to international stardom), Malcolm asserts, is to
spend 10,000 hours honing your skills. I believe that is 20 hours
a week for 10 years---do the math and check me out on that! In
other words, endless hours of practice and drill make people good at
things. He exploded the myth that most of what we see in experts
in any field is due to innate talent. His point is that as people
practice, they develop the skill that can look like natural talent.
That is encouraging for dance students, as it is for students in any
field, as it suggests that expertise is within our grasp if we care
enough to work that hard at it!!
21. Ah! New York City---where you see everything!!
There was a video of a man dancing with a dummy in Times Square,
NY--with some acrobatic flourishes! The video was removed, but you
canwell imagine this scene in downtown
22. Check out this absolutely amazing video of "precision walking."
This is apparently a competitive sport in some places. Watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6o0lzaJ2Xrg
lovers will love this video which is also amazing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_CDLBTJD4M&feature=share
24. Check out this video on the funniest flight attendant who
makes great use of rhythm and rhyme:
25. Check out the dance humor below!
26. On Nov. 24, 2012, I went to see Tap Dogs, a fabulous group of
male tap dancers, perform at the Strathmore. Their show was
out of the world---one of the best i've seen in my lifetime. They
tap danced suspended by ropes upside down, on tilted floors, on beams
with empty spaces between, on a wet surface---splashing water into the
front rows of the audience, with basketballs to aid in making rhythmic
sounds, with footballs, etc etc. The show was so imaginative and
the skill so fantastic, I thought website readers might enjoy seeing
some of the performance clips...
dancing on beams
a short overview
27. This video shows life
size Michael Jackson puppets dancing. One Michael Jackson style
human dancer is dancing with the puppets to your favorite MJ songs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4MPKCbfVU4
28. Dancing often
brings laughter and expresses joy…. Check this out:
29. This is a very
creative use of dance and shadows: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STK7AZ_Zs_E
30. This was a short article in "The Week," a popular news magazine from
March 7, 2008.
"Twenty policement in Timisoara, Romania, are taking dance classes from
two former members of their city's ballet company to help them direct
traffic more effectively. The idea is to make the cops' signals clearer
and to help them catch the attention of drivers.... Instead of having
robots guiding the traffic, we can have very graceful agents doing the
movie named "Akeelah and the Bee" has a great deal to say about how we
learn. It is the story about a girl who enters a spelling bee
contest. At one point, she is stumped on a word. She had
studied a lot while jumping rope, saying the letters rhythmically with
the jumps. Akeelah decides to start spelling the word again, but this
time she pretends to have a jumprope in her hand and she jumps in rhythm
while saying the letters. The spelling then seems to flow
effortlessly from her, and she gets the word right.
This touches on an important point about learning. When a physical
action is paired with learning, engaging in the physical action helps
promote recall. And the same principle applies if what is being
learned is a physical skill itself. Doing the action the exact
same way it was practiced makes it easier to recall.
So, when a Salsa move is learned to a medium tempo music, it can be
harder to recall the move while dancing to very slow music. How
many dance teachers have you seen try to illustrate a move slowly
because that makes the action clearer, but then they pause and remark,
"I can't do it slowly"? In truth, sometimes the momentum of the
movement helps make the action possible. But in addition, slowing
something down, means to run it differently than the way it was
memorized. A dancer has to know a move very well to do that.
something is not an all or nothing proposition. Students often
make the mistake of thinking they know something after the first time
they do it correctly. But, particularly for physical skills, that
is just the first level of "knowing." The next week they may not
recall the dance move, and have to re-learn. And this happens many
times before something is learned really well---to the point where it
can be done cold with full recall, at any tempo, dancing with an
experienced dancer or a beginner, etc, etc. When a move can be
done in all those conditions, then it has really be learned.
This concept is helpful to understand in all endeavors. For one
thing, it keeps us humble. We know that whatever we learn can
generally be learned better, understood more deeply, and executed more
smoothly, with continued practice. And the willingness to drill
and practice a rote skill says something beautiful about the sheer joy
that is gained from the drills. This is what musicians who
practices playing scales are doing. The drill enhances our skill,
deepens our understanding, and ultimately is done for the sheer joy of
the practice. When someone learns something and can achieve this
outlook, they will become a master of their art.
I have to say that as a dance teacher who teaches by chanting the action
of a move rhythmically, Akeelah's "gimmick" of jumping and spelling in
rhythm, really moved me. The videos below are
32. This father-daughter wedding dance is great! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0u1FZhMA88g
33. Finding a way to have fun during hard times is a great
skill..... There was a video up that was removed, but it showed a woman
dancing wildly and joyfullly with the hospital staff right before she
was to go under anesthesia to have an operation to remove a cancerous
breast. It was inspiring--showing that courage and even joy can be
found in stressful situations.
34. And here is a wedding dance that is essentially the same as a
scene from Dirty Dancing with Patrick Swayze:
Routine Used in Protest March.....
In 2011, thousands of Chilean students demanding education reforms added
a dramatic touch to their protest. They did a mass reenactment of
Michael Jackson’s Thriller routine in front of the Chilean presidential
1. This Latin American channel explains the protest and has some
footage of the dance routine…
2. The video below captures a good shot of the Michael Jackson
character in front of the dance group:
36. Musical basketballs
This link has a series of funny videos that you can search through.
Keep going forward until you see the musical basketball video. It is
37. Babies and Children Dancing
38. Does How You Walk
Make You A Victim?
This shows babies moving to music http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgXPl3XM_NA and
this is a very talented little girl doing some serious hip hop: http://nanaitokyo.com/2014/01/05/funk-is-not-dead/ .
These are priceless.
On Nov 5th, an article came out linking how someone moves to
criminals' perception of how easy that person would be to victimize.
Criminals in prisons were asked to watch videos of people walking and
rate who would make an easy victim.... Professional dancers were then
asked to use the Laban Movement Analysis Method (a way of studying
movement) to determine how coordinated the people in the video were.
Those who moved slightly awkwardly were rated as easier targets of
crime---and more likely to be mugged!
39. Check out these amazing kids dancing!
40. Here is a video
showing a man putting his pants on with out using his hands…really
this video, we see how a dad manages his daughter’s hairstyle in 17
42. Parent Alert: Funny video about getting ready to go back to
43. A few funny videos:
cop’s driving test
effort to move athletes in a stretcher
is a hip hop video that is very cool
44. And here is another wedding dance, complete with videos from
the couple's coaching sessions!
45. Check out this incredible dance video on a subway platform.
It is amazing and unique:
45. Don't miss this hilarious video of TV personality Conan,
learning to do Cuban Salsa and Cuban Rumba on a visit to Cuba: