The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

GEARHEAD GLISSADE
gliding toward the pits
Strange things brewing around NASCAR these days. First, they deem the word "redneck" to be incompatible with their product and audience. Now, the Roanoke Ballet Theatre is reaching out to the stock car faithful by producing the "NASCAR Ballet", complete with dancers wrapped in colorful spandex meant to evoke racecar paint jobs.

I have a strong feeling that we've found something here that tops the famous "caddy synchronized swimming" number from Caddyshack.

It's amazing how they've adapted the racetrack experience to the dance stage:
At one of her rehearsals, dancers in purple, blue, yellow, green, orange, pink, red and silver jumpsuits whirl around the track, in lifts and leaps. They need to build enough stamina to keep this up for a 90-minute show.

After a few revolutions, a dancer in silver falls to the floor. It's a crash -- a choreographed one this time -- and a pit crew of teenage girls meets him in the center. He's lifted, then rotated off stage as the crew log rolls underneath. The race continues. After jockeying for position, the cars are off again.
ESPN's Mike Massaro, for one, doesn't think there's a proper synergy between structured dance and motorized racing:
Seriously, NASCAR Ballet? Honestly, there should be separation of dance and motorsports. A couple of examples why immediately come to mind. Darrell Waltrip's Icky Shuffle after winning the 1989 Daytona 500 truly was icky. And Mike Bliss' victory dance, truly pathetic.