News from Shakes Manor

As I’ve mentioned before, Mr. Shakes and I are addicted to So You Think You Can Dance, mainly because it’s got lots of just great, compelling, beautiful dancing on it by real dancers, but also because it provides us with the opportunity to guess how long it would take our graceless fat asses to learn each routine, and whether we’d actually die trying. It’s truly pathetic how much we love this show, and it has Mr. Shakes convinced—convinced!—that we are going to take dance lessons. He’s got it in his head that it would be tootally awesoome if we could whip out an unexpected paso doble at a wedding some day. Well, yeah, that would be awesome, but we’re both inelegant klutznutz, he’s got no rhythm, and I have nerve damage that’s left me with a numb foot. Walking is sustained performance art for me, and he wants me to samba. Sure.

Anyway, one thing about SYTYCD is that it has this ridiculous theme song that’s just the same little snippet of music played over and over and over. It’s played at the beginning of the show, while they’re introducing the dancers, going to commercial, coming back from commercial, and at the end of the show. Last night during the show, Mr. Shakes mentioned: “You knoo, they really need to get a loonger bit oof music instead oof joost repeating that wee jingle oontil I want to kill myself.” Which totally made me laugh, naturally.

Later, we’re lying in bed, and both of us are restless and not falling asleep, but we’re both trying to, and I couldn’t help myself: “Nah nah nah. Chooka chooka chooka. Nah nah nah. Chooka chooka chooka. Nah nah nah. Chooka chooka chooka.” (That sounded like the theme in real life, I swear.)

Mr. Shakes burst out laughing. “Soo you think you can dance!” he sung.

I said, “Don’t you mean: So you think you can DANCE!!!” hitting the last word with a loud, guttural, robot voice, just like it is on the show.

This sent us both into gales of giggles. I did it again: “So you think you can DANCE!!!”

Mr. Shakes started howling. “It’s like they’ve goot Charlootte Choorch singing the first bit, and then Napalm Death cooming in foor the big finish.” He put on the most angelic girly voice he could muster to sing: “So you think that you can—” Napalm Death voice: “DANCE!!!

I did the same: “So you believe that you have an ability to…DANCE!!!

Mr. Shakes again: “So you are informing me that you have a capacity for…DANCE!!!

Me again: “So to my understanding you are suffering from the misapprehension that you have a talent for…DANCE!!!

The entire bed shook with our laughter. “My throat hurt on that one,” I said.

“Mine hoorts, too,” said Mr. Shakes.

“Napalm is bad for the larynx,” I said.

Mr. Shakes guffawed. “I doon’t want to goo tae sleep. I want to stay oop talking to ye all night.”

“I know,” I said. “Stupid adulthood.”

“Too right.”

We said our goodnights, again, and endeavored to try to fall to sleep, again.

Both of us were still restless. I couldn’t help it.

“So you think you can DANCE!!!”


Filed under 01_shakespeares_sister

48 responses to “News from Shakes Manor

  1. Hahaha!

    “It’s like they’ve goot Charlootte Choorch singing the first bit, and then Napalm Death cooming in foor the big finish.”

    Hey, I know couples who have been dancing since college. Some people really love it, and over time, they get really good, even the klutzy folks.

  2. RachelPhilPa

    OMG-ddess, you two must be the happiest couple in Indiana!

    It’s exactly this kind of shared childlike humor that I treasure in a relationship.

  3. nobody can do
    like i do nobody can do the
    like i do nobody can do the
    like i do nobdy can do the
    like i do

    well i tell you there’s a fish i do
    ain’t nobody doin’ it but me babe! (nobody but me)

    well they’s a fish i do
    ain’t nobody doin’ it but me (nobody but me)

    let me tell ya nobody

    i haven’t been able to grab on to “so you think you can dance” but i must confess an embarrasing fondness for “dancing with the stars” which most other folks hate. i haven’t ever voted on any of the shows, i’d rather not vote and bitch about the outcomes. except. i did vote for jordin on “american idol.” didn’t fucking watch it, but i read in the local paper that jordin’s my homegirl. so i phoned. you can fucking sue me if you want to.

    blogwhoring break – – – leonard cohen sings, lorca provides the words

    and if you want the whole story thus far, use the labels to get all the posts about the superstition ride.

  4. lizvelrene

    I love this show. It’s the only reality show I can stand, because I love dancing and you can tell that the people who run the show love it too.

    Who do you two like this year, Shakes? I’m worried my boy Cedric is going to get the boot.. his partnership with Faina totally doesn’t work but on his own he’s just hypnotic. All of the dancers are actually really good this year so it will be hard to see any of them go.

    Now I’m going to giggle every time I hear that theme song.

  5. Melissa McEwan

    nobody can do
    like i do nobody can do the

    LOL. I forgot to mention that during the course of that conversation last night, Mr. Shakes told me to “ask Minstrel Boy if he wroote that jingle!” 🙂

  6. Melissa McEwan

    Who do you two like this year, Shakes?

    Our favorites are pretty much the ones I linked above: Sarah and Jesus, Lacey and Kameron, Jessi and Pasha, and Anya and Danny. And we like Sabra and Dominic, too. Really, there isn’t anyone we don’t like. Except, I’m sorry to say, Cedric–not because he’s a bad dancer, but because he’s a terrible partner. I hated when they were debating whether to put him in, and Nigel said, “Are you really willing to sacrifice one of the girls to put him in?” and Shane and Mia were like, “Yep!” Nice.

    Btw, speaking of Mia: Could she hate women more? I loathe the weeks she’s a judge, because she goes on and on about how fantastic the guys are and shits all over the girls, or, at best, ignores them completely. She is one of the worst woman-hating women I’ve ever seen.

  7. Angelos

    Erica and I take dance lessons in one of the Continuing Education programs offered through a local Community College.

    Lots of fun.

    We took private lessons with the teacher before our wedding, and did a full 3:30 routine to Sinatra doing “I Only Have Eyes For You.”

    NAILED it! Except I was so obviously counting and concentrating I looked a little constipated in the video.

    Really, take a group class. It’s much more casual than “lessons” and 90% or your class will be just as silly as you. Takes the pressure off. Even if it’s slower stuff like Waltz and Foxtrot. As for Latin, if you can walk, you can Merengue.

  8. Melissa McEwan

    It’s much more casual than “lessons” and 90% or your class will be just as silly as you.

    That’s really not a problem. Neither one of us is remotely shy about making an arse of ourselves. Hard to believe, I’m sure.

  9. Kevin

    That was one of the funniest “in bed” stories I’ve ever seen. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Lizard

    Oh, yay! We’re talking about So You Think You Can Dance!!!

    I, too, love this show, because it’s practically the only reality show that semi-consistently rewards preparation, training, and hard work rather than just “hotness” and/or the capacity to create drama. I watch American Idol, too, but it just drives me nuts, because I’m so hyper-aware of all the ways in which most of the contestants suck, and I grow furious and misanthropic when the good ones get sent home prematurely (see Doolittle, Melinda). SYTYCD, however, features people doing things I couldn’t do if you offered me a trillion dollars and George Bush’s head on a plate, so I can (mostly) just sit back and watch them in appreciation and admiration.

    Mia, however, is the pits. “Omigod I am like so loving you right now! I’m like….that was ammmmmazing…..I’m sitting here, like, whoa, last week I was sooooo not feeling you, but now you’re, like, ORGANIC and CRACKLING and SUCCULENT and PLURIPOTENT and it’s like…..omigod, I have tears in my eyes now…..” FOR THE LOVE OF ROGET, SHUT UP!!!

    I think Cedric and Shauna are toast tonight.

    Liss, when you learn your paso doble, please resist the urge to do it to “We Will Rock You.” My head, it is raw from all the scratching.

  11. Mama Shakes

    “So, you think you can DANCE?!”


    “So, you THINK you can DANCE?!”


    “So, you THINK YOU can DANCE?!”

    “I have pixshuresh, Alexsh.”

  12. Melissa McEwan

    I grow furious and misanthropic when the good ones get sent home prematurely (see Doolittle, Melinda)

    LOL! Totally.

    What SYTYCD also has on AI is that (barring Mia’s girl-hatred), it’s a much nicer show. AI gets to be such a drag sometimes, with all the useless snarking and stupid Ryan-Simon snipey banter. SYTYCD is just happier. Mr. Shakes and I have both commented to this effect numerous times. Nigel kicks Simon’s ass. And Cat is simply a delight! I. Love. Her.

    And Mary is completely annoying, but somehow endearing. I don’t know how she does it, because she should drive me bonkers, but I just think she’s swell.


    Seriously. I hate that she does such wonderful choreography, because otherwise SHE SUCKS!

    I think Cedric and Shauna are toast tonight.

    Those are my predictions also. I think (and hope) Nigel’s going to put his foot down re: Cedric this week. “Look, I gave you bitchez a chance with that kid, but he’s got as much partnering skill as a column of smoke. Time’s up. He’s outta here.”

  13. Melissa McEwan

    “I have pixshuresh, Alexsh.”

    Is that really Mama Shakes, or Lawrence Orbach?

  14. Constant Comment

    “Dancing with the Stars” is the only reality show I watch.
    I spent about 25 years of my life as a serious (though not professional) dancer (all kinds: mostly jazz but also ballet, tap, African-Caribbean). Sadly now, with my arthritic knees, I only dance in my dreams…

  15. Em

    I’ve always wanted to learn to break dance.

  16. Melissa McEwan

    “Dancing with the Stars” is the only reality show I watch.

    CC – You should try SYTYCD. At least watch a couple of the linked videos above just to test it out. I think you’d like it. 😉

  17. Mama Shakes

    OH, no! You’ve dixshovered my shecret identity. Now I hate to deshtroy you . . . with a racket from a shport with a racket.

  18. Mama Shakes

    Sorry. “I HAVE to deshtroy you.” much as I HATE to do it.

  19. Never seen teh show and I’m convinced it would not be half as fun to watch as this post was to read.

  20. God, I just imagine what your cats talk about when they have some time to chill and gossip.

    “Did you hear the two loons last night?!”

    “Oye, I thought they’d never stop.”

    You two are crazy and I say that with the deepest of affection.

  21. I gotta say that I had the hugest crush on Mia Michaels last season, mostly because her choreography gets to me in a very visceral way. But you’re right about her fawning over all the guys. As though they deserve special commendation for not tripping on their penises or something.

    I hate it when crushes are crushed. 😦

  22. Mr. Shakes told me to “ask Minstrel Boy if he wroote that jingle!”

    not guilty. i am more of a lunch pail kind of guy who plays (although i often score an arrangement of what has already been written) what someone else has written. my perfect world is one where i play banjo and you buy household cleanser and the corporate suits think its because i’m such a fucking virtuoso. (really, the best campaign in the world can’t sell you crap more than once to have a successful ad run you need to have a decent product) harp sells lots of jugs of california white wine.

    and technically a “jingle” is a tune that rides the soundtrack of a commercial (the real reason for all TV). what ya’ll was a humming were a “theme” although i’ve been guilty for a few of them too. just not lately. i played on several soundtracks for this last pilot season but it’s looking like none of them will even make “failure theatre” showings over the summer. rather than show the pilots which weren’t picked up like they used to do, they’ve decided that america would rather see shaq fuck with a bunch of fat kids.

  23. carovee

    Yaay, someone else is addicted to SYTYCD. I told my husband not to let me vote but I don’t think it will be an issue because I really like all the dancers. The main reason I love the show is because dancing is one form of entertainment that, unless you can afford tickets to a live performance, there just aren’t that many opportunities to see it. The second reason I love the show is, as noted above, everyone is actually nice to each other. The judges seem to genuinely care about the contestants and wish them well. How novel!

  24. Melissa McEwan

    her choreography gets to me in a very visceral way

    Me, too. I loved her choreography on this one for Heidi and Travis last year so much. I just wish they’d keep her out of the judging.

    Last night, there wasn’t a single one of the nine couples where the guy did not receive either disproportionately effusive praise (and always framed in such a nasty way: “I didn’t even notice her!”) or have his foibles explained away by Mia while she railed on or ignored the girls. Even when a girl gave a great performance in her own specialty (e.g. Sabra doing contemporary), Mia manages to make, “You’re always brilliant” sound dismissive and perfunctory and not a compliment. She makes me grit my teeth.

  25. Melissa McEwan

    what ya’ll was a humming were a “theme”

    I know–but it’s such a short bit of music just repeated endlessly that we refer to the single bit of music as the “jingle.” 🙂

  26. Jay in Oregon

    What’s hilarious about this story is that I watched the YouTube link for the SYTYCD theme song, and the first two videos it suggested I might want to watch next were Charlotte Church and Napalm Death.

    I swear to God I’m not making this up; I had to take a screenshot so I could convince myself I wasn’t imagining things.

    Perhaps YouTube has a “people who have watched this video also watch…” algorithm that’s being massaged by the hits from this article?

  27. katecontinued

    Walking is sustained performance art for me, and he wants me to samba. Sure.

    Nobody writes like Melissa . . .or listens like Mr. Shakes. What an ear he has.

  28. Mellisa, I was a professional ballet dancer until I was 21 and have continued to teach so let me impart my expertise on all things dance to you…OF COURSE you should take lessons! My favorite classes have always been the ones that I teach to “non-dancers” like actors, football players, ice skaters. To see people just get all excited when they realize that all dancing is is listening and then letting your body do it. If you don’t tell yourself you can’t you can. I’m not saying you’re going to be dancing the lead in Giselle for ABT but you will be quite the dancer at a wedding as long as you have no fear and do what feels good. You have to practice but trust your body.

    You should record an episode and try to emulate some of the bits just to give yourselves enough confidence to take a class.

    Oh the fauning over men thing. Women in dance tend to do that because its REALLY hard to hold onto good ones. The ratio of women to men is ridiculous so if you find one that you like you do everything you can to hold onto them and men in dance start to get used to being treated like prizes. Women also start treating them extra nice very young because we’re always trying to counter all the fag, sissy, gay boy comments they get in the world outside the studio.

  29. Yay! I love SYTYCD! Maeve asked me why I’ll watch that and not American Idol, and my answer is that I know how to sing, but I can’t dance because of my gimpy leg, so I can enjoy the performances and not be overly critical. Also, on AI, they are interpreting songs I already know, and often don’t do do as well as another recording, whereas the dances on SYTYCD are original week to week (…except Wade Robson, who borrows heavily from the Bob Fosse dance vocabulary).

  30. Melissa McEwan

    What’s hilarious about this story is that I watched the YouTube link for the SYTYCD theme song, and the first two videos it suggested I might want to watch next were Charlotte Church and Napalm Death.

    That’s happening to me now, too! LOL – Weird.

  31. Melissa McEwan

    If you don’t tell yourself you can’t you can.

    Oh, it isn’t that, really. I danced onstage in high school musicals even though I was total crap–but I enjoyed it. It’s just not nearly as easy to do now with the injury, is all.

    Gimpiness is another thing Maurinsky and I share in common. 😉

  32. Ah…the piece for Travis and Heidi is where my crush started.

    One would expect, based on her crunchy, earthy persona, that she’d be quite woman-friendly. That she’s not is a big disappointment.

    And can I say something mean? What the eff is with that hair?

  33. I fell in love with Travis when he busted out with that “Heidi-ho!” last season.

    Me: “Gosh, y’all smell all nice and flow’ry.”

    I’m with y’all on Cedric — he’s an amazing solo performer, but he dances like he doesn’t have a partner at all. He doesn’t seem to care if his partner looks like a jackass or not.

  34. One fun class I got teach once was to kids who were injured or ill and had amputations or were in wheel chairs when they were in rehab. I know that’s not exactly what you’re talking about here but it was fun to pair up “compatible” disablitites. Like a girl with no leg with a girl without an arm and do dances that used the strengths and weaknesses to play off of each other. They were so awesome and braver than alot of fully bodied dancers about lifts and falls and things. But I’m on a tangent. But I thought the word gimpy was funny cause it sounds like something one of the kids said to be at the beginning of class about them being the Gimp squad.

  35. I never got much into the reality competition movement so I don’t know much about SYTYCD beyond the calls for a boycott I keep seeing on MySpace. Normally I’d be sympathetic given that its over their treatment of fat dancers, but honestly nothing sounded any different than what shows up on American Idol so I just can’t muster up much outrage. I think AI just gets a pass because they ultimately do let some non-thin people into the full competition.

    All the same, I share the fantasies about busting out an elaborate dance routine at a wedding one day. Though I lack any natural feel for dance, I took choreography better than most. On top of that, my girlfriend has been training to dance for much of the last year. Admittedly, both our experience would be in jazz/musical theater styles which might not necessarily be the skills to bust out at a wedding.

  36. Even though my left hip has extremely limited movement, I’ve danced on stage quite a bit. When I did Chess several years ago, the choreographer (a tiny Scottish spitfire, I love her to death) gave me a featured dance. If I wasn’t so gimpy,, I think I’d be a pretty great dancer. And I do a mean time-step.

  37. Kate217

    DAMN, but I love you two.

    Remember, nobody shimmies like sistah kate…

  38. Have you guys ever heard of Big Dance? It’s a troupe of larger women? They are awesome and totally kill the whole only stick figures of women can dance and be light on their feet crap. And their choreographer is wonderful! I think the term they use to describe themselves is Rubinesque (sp?) I’m SO glad I get to talk dance with people for a while. Since I stopped teaching a few years ago I usually don’t get to talk about it much.

  39. Misty


    I’d love to try the viennese waltz. Or the pasa doble. But damned if I’m the least graceless person on Earth. LOL You would never know I danced for over 10 years (and went en pointe). I seriously lack grace & any sense of rythym. LOL

    Anya and Danny are my front runners so far. Pasha and Lacey (? is it Lacey?) too.

  40. I’ve never seen Big Dance, but there is an organization in Boston (and SF and NYC) called Big Moves that is a performing and service organization promoting size diversity in dance. (Indeed, that’s what my girlfriend has been training for)

  41. Oh, I don’t know them and Boston is a lot closer to me. Do they have a touring troupe? I’m going to have to look them up.

    When I was dancing size was in issue for me not because I was “heavy” being 5′ 9″ and 115. But I was an amazon in a lot of companies because they have to build around their men and on pointe I’m 6′ 5″. It made getting work very hard. Most companies I couldn’t even audition because I could pass the height test.

  42. Melissa McEwan

    Normally I’d be sympathetic given that its over their treatment of fat dancers

    I don’t actually think their treatment of fat dancers is bad. They give everyone a fair shake. And while I think Shane Sparks was a bit unnecessarily rude to a very fat girl who tried out this season, I didn’t think it was because she was fat but because he was deeply embarrassed for her* and he handled that emotion in a very immature way.

    Last season there was a bigger dancer (who was fat by comparison, but not empirically fat), Donyelle, who made it to the final, and the only time anything was said about her size after the original auditions was when Nigel commented toward the end of the season (paraphrasing): “You said during the auditions that you had trouble getting work because of your size, and I think you’ve shown how silly that is, because no one thinks about your size–they think about what a good dancer you are.”


    * Also not just because she was fat, but because she was quite stupid, a mess generally, couldn’t dance, and was convinced she could because she’d spent a lot of money on a dance camp which was clearly a scam where she was told she was teh awesome.

  43. I have a giant girl-crush on Cat Deely! I love Anya and Lauren and Sara and Jesus.

    I don’t like most of the contemporary stuff though. I think it usually looks like a lot of hair flicking and rolling around on the floor. I like Mia’s choreography because it doesn’t involve the hair flicking crap, but could she be any more awful as a judge?

  44. I think one of the two anecdotes I heard about was probably the woman you mention, though it suggested she was told that the reason she shouldn’t be there was how she looked first and only mentioned her dancing ability second. The other involved a male contestant who did a routine which elicited applause that was shouted down by a judge who scolded the crowd for applauding and deemed it patronizing and went on to make a snide remark about the dancer’s health. I never saw it, mind you, but while it sounds harsh it also sounds very par for the course for this sort of show and nothing worthy of special offense. I mean, I watch plenty of shows and movies that I felt were insulting in their treatment of fat characters. Its our culture, not the individual producers, sometimes.

    Anyway, Big Moves does do some touring, but its limited. They are doing a big show in the fall that will probably play in Boston, some areas in northern and Western Massachusetts, and then New York City. They also do spring revues that do a similar tour. They just got back from the Montreal Fringe Festival, too. In addition, they’ve got dances classes in Boston every Thursday (or at least they have for a couple of months) and I believe NYC runs regular workshops, too.

  45. Melissa McEwan

    though it suggested she was told that the reason she shouldn’t be there was how she looked first and only mentioned her dancing ability second

    Well, sort of. But, see, Shane Sparks had just been really cool with another quite genuinely fat female dancer, going on about how she totally ruled and her size didn’t matter and so forth, and then he got kind of mean with this other girl. The second girl was heavier, but the biggest difference was that she was terrible and completely clueless. I got the distinct impression he lashed out because of his own embarrassment for her than because she was fat. Which isn’t an excuse; it was still mean. But within the context of the whole show, I certainly wouldn’t say that SYTYCD treats fat dancers badly. I’ve never seen any of the judges behave as rudely as Simon Cowell has toward fatties on AI, that’s for sure.

  46. SAP

    We said our goodnights, again, and endeavored to try to fall to sleep, again.

    Both of us were still restless. I couldn’t help it.

    “So you think you can DANCE!!!”

    You kids crack me up. 😀

  47. I’d rather listen to that jingle a thousand times than hear that awful, awful remix of “We Will Rock You” on the last song on last night’s show. I mean, really, there’s no reason to have that playing when you’re doing a Paso Doble.

  48. Yay Chess!!!! I LOVE that musical, though I tend to prefer the European version. The US version is a little too “Rah Rah USA”.

    Who were you, Maurinsky?

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