A Resident’s Perspective – Just Go For It

Written by Panorama resident, Mike Turner. May 2014

I enjoy theatre, all kinds of theatre.  Along the way I have learned a few lessons about being an audience member.  One:  Don’t sit in the front row of a Gallagher concert unless you want to be sprayed by large chunks of watermelon and other fruit.  Two:  Don’t sit in the front row of an insult comic’s show unless you want to be publicly embarrassed.  Three:  Don’t sit in the front row for a magic show, because you will either end up on stage being hypnotized or as the butt of some “magic” joke.

I never thought I would make it to lesson Four, but it happened.  My new lesson Four is: Don’t sit in the front row of the Utah Ballroom Dance Troupe show unless you want to be up on stage dancing in front of 200 friends and neighbors.  I learned that one the  hard way.

During the April 25th performance of the Utah Ballroom Dance troupe I was sitting with friends in the third row, seemed safe at the time.  I did notice that most people don’t like sitting close to the stage so the row in front of us was pretty empty.  At one point the Director of the show talked about going to other locations, giving shows and sometimes teaching ballroom dance steps.  About that time I noticed three female dancers walking down into the audience.  My first thought was that they were going to do their next number and the dancers would be dancing in the aisles.  NOPE, that is definitely not why they were there.  They were there to choose three men to go on stage with them.  OK, now I’ve been in a number of plays and don’t have stage fright so that’s not an issue.  I have some level of rhythm so I can keep up with the music, you know tap my foot, move to the music.  Definitely not a dancer, but in my youth appeared on American Bandstand and some other local Los Angeles television dance shows, so a little movement with the girls was fine with me.  So because of all this I thought I was safe.  What more could they ask of us other than standing there while the girls danced around us or perhaps hold our hands while they did all the work.  And once again I was wrong.

They played three different kinds of music; pop, the chicken dance and gangnam style and we were to “show our best moves”.  OK even on my best day my “best move” is just below a 5 so I had these two thoughts rush through my mind.  One, just stand there like a ninny and do nothing like I couldn’t think of anything.  OR….Just go for it.  Just listen to the music and see what happens.

I chose number 2 and just went for it.  Whatever the music sounded like I just moved to it.  Didn’t care what it looked like and certainly did not think about how embarrassing it might be.  I guess it worked because after the three dances were over their was an audience applause vote.  I won!!  Now I must admit I did have my posse all in the third row who stood up, applauded, wolf whistled, and “who, who, who’d”.Mike - on stage

OK we’re done and are escorted off the stage.  Turn right, back to the audience, turn left, into the dressing room.  I chose right and back into the audience but was pulled into the dressing room by one of the female dancers and was told “Oh, you’re not done yet.  You are the star of the next number.”  You have got to be kidding??  Nope, they put a leather jacket on me and told me for the next number that three of the female dancers would take turns dancing with me and that I should just let my arms go limp and let them move me around.  OK, I can do that.

Mike - Dancing

Well, she forgot one part.  She missed the part where the next number began with the stage lights out and when they came up there I would be sitting center stage ALL ALONE.  Now I must say that got a response from the audience.  They thought they were done with my gyrations, but weren’t they surprised?  So I let the dancers do their thing with me with some of my added hip action and facial expressions to the audience.  When the song was over, we were (I mean I was) finally through and I returned to my seat none the worse for wear.

Mike - Dancing 2

Now why did I tell you about my little dancing adventure?  Just to reinforce the whole idea of JUST DO IT!  I could have refused to go up on stage, I could have just stood there on the stage and done nothing or just swayed to the music.  NOPE, I happily went up there, went all out and had a great time.  I think sometimes we don’t do or try things because we might not know how to do them, or we might be embarrassed, or what might people think.  In the bigger scheme of things, who cares!  Just Do It for yourself, to experience new things no matter your age or what misgivings you might have.  You might just have some fun and perhaps win a dance contest.

Mike Turner

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