Sunday, January 18, 2009

An Observation

A few days ago, I wrote about the Idol the So You Think You Can Dance shows. I was shocked and saddened when Thesha emailed to say that Canadian Idol has actually been cancelled. It had very high ratings, so it hasn't necessarily been shelved permanently, but it has been put on hold for this year at least. Reasons are vague, and I could speculate but won't bother.

However, until I hear otherwise, I will presume that So You Think You Can Dance will proceed, and that makes me think of last year's winners and something that I read in This Is your Brain On Music. It was a difficult book, more about the brain than music, but I slugged through it and understood a little: very little.

One of the ideas that did lodge in my brain, because it's an easy concept to grasp, is the relationship between music and dance. In modern times, we can easily separate the two, or at least we can seem to separate music from dance. We frequently sit in concert halls or living rooms and simply listen, perhaps even with not so much as a tapping of the toes, depending on the type of music. However, experts seem to believe that it was not ever thus.

The Author of This Is Your Brain on Music, Daniel J. Levitin, wrote that back in the mists of time the two were linked or almost always so; music was something to be danced to. He also contended that it was a way for males, particularly, to demonstrate their fitness and virility to the ladies. The guys who could dance best and longest would make a case for being the strongest, and that would enhance their chances of attracting the healthiest and/or most suitable mates.

Levitin seems to have impeccable credentials, so I won't contend with him, especially when I consider the results of both the American and Canadian versions of the show.

First: judging from three seasons of the American version and now one from Canada, males are almost a sure bet to win. Invariably, female viewers are more greatly drawn to the contest and will be the primary voters. I've never seen figures to prove this, but I don't think I have to; I think it's self-evident. In fact, I don't think the female contestants ever stood much of a chance although, by the rules and format, two had to remain until the end.

Second: in both shows, at least this past year (also the first year for Canada), it was the most rugged and macho male who won. At least from my male perspective this is true as the America winner, Joshua, was one very strong guy who could lift his partners high and long.

Also, look at the Canadian champion, Nico, below, and tell me that he doesn't exude machismo.

I don't dispute the results as these two likable guys both caught my eye from the get go, and there was no doubt in my untutored mind that they were both very good. However, I can't help but notice how, in 2008, at least, both shows seemed to support Levitin's contention almost perfectly.

Thank goodness, however, there are many other ways for males to demonstrate themselves fit to be partnered in life in civilized times. Otherwise, my two left feet and I would have lived a very unfulfilled life.

Note: having written this, I don't necessarily recommend that you go out and buy the book, for I found This Is your Brain On Music to be a very difficult book, mostly beyond me. While I realize that I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, I will say that for the most part it's technical and scientific. I loaned it to one friend who was very interested despite my caution, but she soon gave up and returned it to me. At least some background in psychology or neurology might prove helpful.

Note2: this is my understanding of both the book and the show, and I don't claim any expertise in either psychology or dance. So, feel free to disagree ... as if you wouldn't (smile).


Kila said...

I think I'll just stare at that last photo a while, whew...

Mara said...

Mmm, ah, mmm. Not too bad!

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I think you are taking these contrived shows far too seriously.:)

Anonymous said...

Canadian Idol canceled... Oh NO!!

jinksy said...

UK has just begun a new series of Dancing on Ice, which gives celebrities of all kinds a chance to find their feet( with a bit of luck)and learn a new skill. It amazes me how proficient many of them become by the end of the series. Jane Torvill and Christopher Dean are the the hardworking supervisors; I still gloat everytime I watch their Bolero routine on DVD. Wonder if you've ever seen them?

Mary said...


Jinksy's comment about Dancing on Ice appeals to me more than Canadian Idol, yet I know many people enjoyed Idol. I never expected it to be cancelled.

I am more likely to be found watching the History Channel. Tonight I watched a special on the assassination of Martin Luther King. It was interesting. Even today all the same questions are still being asked. I can't believe it's been 40 years.

Have a great week and be sure to stay warm. The deep freeze is back but I hope not for long.