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The Trouble With Rockstars

First of all, I have heard (and sometimes myself use) the word "Rockstar" to mean different things:
  1. A 'great' dancer who only dances with other 'great' dancers.
  2. Someone of general awesomeness.
  3. A highly caffeinated energy drink.
For the sake of this article, we will only be dealing with the first definition.

And if you've been social dancing for a while, then you know who I'm talking about. At just about every dance you go to, there are a bunch of people who all gravitate to one corner and only dance with each other. They are happiest when there is a crowd to watch them, and sadly the crowd sometimes gives them this. They are, generally speaking, awesome dancers.

And as far as I am concerned, they can go to hell.

Here's the thing. I have a belief that when people first begin dancing, and they get the dancing bug, they want to become great for one of two reasons. They either want to become great so they can dance with everyone, or they want to become great so they don't have to dance with everyone.

And the thing that those of you in second group are forgetting is that this is a social dance. Your chops, as far as I am concerned, are based on your ability to connect, to lead and follow. And your ability to lead and follow is not tested by your ability to dance well with another awesome dancer. I know it's fun, but if you aren't dancing with lower level dancers then you, it's because you can't.

Got that? It's where you are failing as a dancer.

But it's more important than that. The problem is that when you come to a dance, your contribution consists solely of being eye-candy. Maybe a little bit of inspiration to the other dancers. But that inspiration is blown the moment one of them comes to you and asks you to dance, only to get rejected.

In the end, my friend, you are a destructive force to our dance scene. You are damaging the thing that you supposedly love, and the thing that we definitely love - which is this social dance we have gathered for.

Which leaves me with my simple request for you.

Stay home

We don't need you, and we'd be better off without you. So get your small group of 'awesome' dance friends and dance in your house and leave the rest of us out of it, considering the fact that you clearly don't want to have anything to do with us.

Oh, but I understand. I understand why you come to our dances. (And they are our dances and not yours, because, again, it's a social dance). But I understand why you come, it's because we watch

And therein lies the problem. And therein also lies the fact that this article wasn't written for you, dear Rockstar. No, you probably won't listen anyways. The reality is that this paper is written for the rest of us, because it's up to us to end your nonsense behavior.

What can we do? Well, we can stop watching for one. Stop idolizing these people who are damaging our scene.

And we can also refuse to put up with it. This is our dance, not theirs, and we don't have to stand for it. I would love to see someone go up to a Rockstar, ask them to dance, and when rejected, ask, "Then why the hell are you here?"

Or set up a line of people, and have them ask one by one for a dance, until the Rockstar either gives in or leaves.

But most of all, the best thing you can do is to always accept that offer to dance. It's not an request, it's an offer, an offering of a gift. If you can't have fun with any dancer out there, then you need to head back to school, baby!

So, Rockstars, let it be known - we are coming for you.

Beginning Lead: "Would you like to dance?"
Rockstar Follow: "No."
Beginning Lead: "You misunderstood, I said you look fat in those pants."

David Ljung Madison, June 2009

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