As part of my college curriculum I was require to take various athletic classes; bowling, tennis, archery, etc. etc. Many of these were elective and you could choose ala carte from a long list. The one class, however, that was NOT optional was modern dance.
To make matters worse, modern dance was held at 8 am on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays. I put off taking the class for as long as possible. My hope was that they would change the degree requirements by the time I eventually graduated, or that I could somehow talk myself out of it or fake a serious injury. Unfortunately none of that played out to my advantage and in my final semester I was forced to take the class.
Now the good thing was that pretty much all you had to do was show up. Interestingly, that happened to be the only bad thing about the class as well. Every morning I'd stumble in, go through out the lead series of stretches...Usually praying to god I didn't fart or shart myself. Then we'd have a series of ballet dance positions that we'd go through. Lastly we'd learn various dances. The class we composed of 12 people....9 women, most of whom had some experience dance...then there was some guy who could actually dance somewhat...then me and the 300 pound starting left guard for the university football team.
Two weeks into the class, the instructor informed the us that because of a conflict, the university dance team would not be able to represent the university at a state conference that we were all going to and she asked if anyone in the class would like to serve as our representative.
One girl in the class jumped at the chance. She was an experienced dancer and somewhat skilled....she was also very hot. As soon as she raised her hand, the one guy in our class who could dance raised his hand. He had been angling at getting together with this chick for a while and he obviously saw his opening.
So three days a week, about half way through class, when the rest of us were leanring the tango and crap like that...these two would be allowed to squirrel off together and practice their dance. I actually have to give the guy props for a smart move in getting the girl alone...and it appeared to be working to his favor.
About a month into the class and with about a week to go before the convention the teacher walked into the class in the morning with a very solemn look on her face. Instead of having us do our stretches, she had us sit in the chairs and made an announcement. " Brian ( the dancing dude in our class)....Brian was arrested last night. Apparently, he's been sneaking into women's bedrooms in the middle of the night and masturbating over girls while they slept. Last night a woman woke up while he was in the middle of his....well...you know...and he tripped over the pants around his ankles...and.....well.....the bad news is that it looks like he won't be dancing at the convention."
I suppose that's one wayt of looking at it.
She continued, now looking at me and the football player, " We need to carry on. The dance is all set. Will either of you gentlemen fill in the spot."
" No way.", there was no hesitation from either of us.
" If you do this, I'll give you an A.", she offered.
I countered with, " I'm already getting an A"
Then there was a long pause while all of us considered our impasse.
Finally the teacher broke the silence, " OK, here's the deal. If you do this for me, you never have to come to this class again. You show up the week, you dance at the convention, then you're done for the year. Stay home, sleep in, and you get an A."
" I'll take it !", I said.
So the hot chick and I squirreled off the the side studio and she bagan to teach me the dance. No big deal...waltz to the left, waltz to the right, this was going to be easy. I'm pretty sure that she was unimpressed with my foot work, but she was doing her best to tolerate me under the circumstances and being as encouraging as possible. I'm sure the fact that finding out that the dude who she had been dancing with...and who was trying to ( or maybe had) bone her, was now being held in county lock-up for being a freaky pervert was contributing to her agitated mood.
Then after getting down the first 30 second she told me, " here's where we do the lifts." and put my hands on her waist and hopped into the air. Now this girl couldn't have weighed more than 100 lbs....but I was a skinny ass cyclist...so I found lifting a brush up to comb my hair in the morning to be a struggle. I'm sure I looked like one of those Russian Olympic weightlifters with my eyes bulging and veins popped and I struggled to get this chick into the air. I got her about two feet off the ground, grunting and straining the whole time, before I finally collapsed with a groan and dropped her to the ground.
She stopped. Turned around. And stared me down with a disgusted, incredulous looked. " LIIIIIIIIIFT ME ! DON'T THROW ME ! LIFT ME INTO THE AIR !"
With great annoyance, she went through the dance steps again, turn away. put my hands on her waist again, hopped up and URGGGGGGGHHHHHHH....we both hit the deck with a thud.
I sat on the stage humiliated and watched as she walked over to the other studio. For the next 10 minutes I watched as a detached observer as the teacher and the dancer threw their arms in the air and argued red faced. Then I saw them both talking to the football player as she shook his head to the negative over and over. Finally the entire experience became too much for the poor chick and she walked out of the building in tears.
I found out later that the chick had even resorted to going to the dean and asking for a special dispensation to let the rapist come back, just for the convention, rather than have to dance with me.
We all showed up on Wednesday to find out that some sort of compromised had been reached. The football player was now in....but he was willing to ONLY do the lifts....he would not dance. I, obviously, was in for the dance but couldn't do the lifts. And the girls would modify the dance so that we could both be included. We had 3 days to work it all out.
The end result was some sort of scene where ( OH GAWD THIS IS STILL TRAUMATIC TO WRITE ABOUT 15 YEARS LATER)...so the deal was going to be that I would dance with the girls.....then the football player was to come out onto the stage, he and I were to have some sort of duel....he'd kill me....and he'd do the lifts with the chick ( the lifts were some sort of pre-requisite)...and we'd be out of there. It was all pretty contrived and hasty, but at this point all I was worried about was getting the thing over with and then never having to dance again.
Plus, I had been to the convention before. Everyone was really there for the drinking. I had never been to a dance session, but all the other sessions were thinly attended. I figured we'd be in there with a handful of other people in a similar situation as us, we'd do our little thing, then we'd be outer there home free.
To dress the thing up a bit, we borrowed some epees from the fencing team. I wasn't going to wear any dancing tights, but I did borrow a top from the theatre department and I figured I'd wear a pair of my cycling tights. All I had for tights were an old pair of black tights with a red stripe down the side and a hold in the knee, but at this point, what the hell.
Eventually the big day came. We got to the convention, checked in, then went over to the dance hall. Walking through the dance hall doors was a shock. The place was enormous. There was a huge stage. And worse than all of that was the fact that the pace was PACKED.....PACKED. Everywhere you looked there were dance troupes....like REAL dance teams, jazz dance ensembles, basketball half-time dance teams, real ballerina....and with all of them were their families, their friends, and a hell of a lot of video cameras.
" THIS is not what I signed on for" I thought to myself.
The football player immediately went for the door.
" NO FUCKING WAY ! You're not going anywhere " I shouted.
" Listen man, I'm gone. It aint happening." he told me.
The guy had me by 120 lbs and could have crushed my like a bug, but I wasn't going this alone, " Dude, you're staying. It's no big deal. Some of these people are obviously good and serious...but I'm sure that there are plenty of people just like us. Come on, we've come this far. In 10 minutes it will all be over and we're done"
I coaxed him back into the hall just as the first group of dancers hit the stage. 35 people filling the stage in perfect harmony, hitting back handsprings, and effectively recreating with great perfection every dance step in each of the videos from MTV's top 10 countdown.
In short, we were fucked.
Shortly, thank goodness, we were called to the stage.
Instead of this big production of up-tempo music...two figures walked out to the center of the enormous stage. This contrast caught the attention of the crowd and a hush fell over the auditorium. Quietly the classical music played throught the sound system and this brave young lady and myself began our waltz. 1...2....3.....1.....2.....3......I concentrated on my steps as the music began to build the tension.
Now the plan, back in our tiny studio, was for the football player to step out behind the curtain...the two of us would then ' duel' and then he would sort of stab me as I fell away behind the curtain. The trouble now was stepping out from behind the curtain left the football player a good 30 yards from the center of the stage.
We may have also overestimated how easily it would be for the crowd to understand the story line behind our little production.
So if you would be one of the lucky people who filmed what came next you'd be able to go back and watch the following (mind you that most of the audience is viewing this with the eyes of trained dancers who have probably been going to recitals since they were 5 years old).
The tapes starts and you see two people slowly dancing on the stage. Then when the music builds to a crescendo, some enormous monster of a man, with a pained and angry look on his face, comes lumbering across the stage from left to right. When he eventually gets to the center of the stage the male dancer...the one curiously wearing cycling tights with a hole in the knee, pulls out a epee, and the two men awkwardly recreated the knife fight scene from Michael Jackson's Beat It. Eventually, after the big one knocks the sword out of the little one's hands, the big one stabs the little one....or rather do a 3rd grade imitation of stabbing the little one. The little guy stumbles back.....falls to the ground....looks up and notices that he's still 20 yards away from the edge of the stage....he then improvises a death crawl/roll .....which gets him about another 10 yards away....then, defeated, he finally gives up and collapses still on the stage in a heap. The two other dancers, after watching to make sure that the fool is really dead and not going to try and crawl the last 10 yards begins a series of lifts. The big guy squats her, he deal lifts her, and then finally he clean-and-jerks her.
I watched the football player do the lifts from my spot on the right edge of the stage. When they were done, I popped up and trotted over to the other two so that we could do our little bow and courtesy. Despite it all I thought to myself....'hey that wasn't as bad as I thought it would go ! We might have pulled that off !".
As I started my bow, and for the first time since the music started, I dared to look out into the crowd. The place was gigantic....a sea of faces. And everywhere you looked was the same stunned expression of shocked disbelief. For what seemed like an eternity there wasn't a sound. The people just stared..... mouths agape.....in stunned silence. If someone had walked out onto the stage, dropped trousers and shit out a bowling ball and a pineapple I don't think they would have looked as disgusted and surprised.
Begrudgingly I heard a sympathetic clap or two which seemed to bring the crowd out of their trance. There was a fair amount of mumbling and as we existed the stage I heard a small, soft round of mercy applause. I think the silence was better.