November 30, 2007

Battle of the Sexes

Posted in ballroom dance tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:18 pm by anythingthatglitters

Since Helio took home the ‘Dancing’ trophy, I’ve heard a lot of mixed reactions about the fact that he’s the fourth male in a row to win.  There was a lot of hope a girl would take home the trophy for the first time in 4 seasons.  Many people have argued that the guys have it easier, and the girls worked harder and therefore were more deserving of the title. 

I’m not sure how I feel about this.  All last year I constantly argued with my partner about whose role is more difficult.  I’ve gone back and forth with this one so many times I’m not even sure where I stand. 

On one hand, the guy has the essential responsibilities:

  • keep time

  • give proper leads

  • know each of the routines by heart

  • know all of his steps in addition to hers

  • maintain proper floor etiquette (i.e. don’t run into other couples) 

  • above all else: MAKE THE GIRL LOOK GOOD

On top of all that, the guy mustn’t ever look like he’s thinking.  Easier said than done!  My coach used to yell at my partner all the time for counting out loud, or looking (as she put it) “constipated.”  For all those reasons, I think guys have a pretty good case. 

On the other hand (and having been in the follower’s shoes) the ladies have the most important tasks:

  • know the routine, but forget it in a moment

  • follow your leader no matter what

  • smile, even if your feet are bleeding and a girl just smacked you in the face during her New Yorker (it’s actually happened to me)  


  • NEVER lead yourself 

  • above all else: SELL YOUR DANCE!

Let’s face it: the girl is the one who can make or break the performance.  In competitions you see it all the time; a girl can pull a weak guy all the way to the finals, but a guy can never pull a weak girl.  The girl is the show. 

What does this mean for DWTS?  Girls have a higher standard to meet than guys.  You know I love Helio, but since Melanie couldn’t sell her dance… Julianne helped Helio sell his.  I think a HUGE reason Helio won, is because Julianne is such a phenomenal performer.  Julianne pulled Helio to the finals.     

So to answer the question posed: is it any wonder that males have dominated the winner’s circle of Dancing with the Stars for the past four years? No.  And they will continue to do so until we finally get a female Star to reach those high standards. 

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  1. Katherine said,

    I think you make a great point. After watching DWTS over the past seasons, I always had mixed feelings about how the winner was choosen. I LOVE Helio and I am very pleased that he won! Julianne did help Helio sell his dance, which is why they won and why she won last year too. Ultimately, I think its great that the winner was a person that didn’t have a performing background. This show is about teaching stars without a dance background the art of ballroom dancing from scratch. Melanie was a dancer–there are higher standards for her because of that–not because she was a woman.

  2. Rico said,

    You left out a few of the guy’s responsibilities:

    – Wearing women’s clothing

    – Participating in the lamest “sport” ever

    – Pretending to be Richard Simmons

    I’m off to go SELL MY DANCE.

  3. Nathalie said,

    That’s a really interesting way to look at the situation of males having dominated the last few years. I actually never even thought about it. And it’s so true that if the woman is a phenomenal dancer (as is Julianne) it is much easier to overlook the fact that the man’s dancing is missing that “WOW” factor. I am mot sure if you wrote about this previously, but to me Sabrina Bryan was the the clear top contender out of all the females this season (and every season, actually). It’s seriously unfortunate that she did not have enough of a fan base to keep her around, but she definitely would have given Helio and Julianne a much bigger run for their money than Mel and Maks did.

  4. Katherine said,

    I definitely agree with Nathalie…I do think a strong dancer is a strong dancer and if Sabrina made it further, we may have seen a different winner–regardless of sex.

    I do pity Rico, however. He is obviously not cultured enough to realize that ballroom is both an art and a sport.

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