From teen celebrity, to art school dropout, loser misfit, and rebel-clown choreographer; my dance talents, for better or worse, have yanked me through life.

PART 1: Blame the 1980s

As a shy little Oregon boy, literally living on a dead end, in the middle of a forest, just off a pissant town, I was completely hidden from the world. When not quietly making friends with local trees, I was hungrily consuming movies that dared me to live large... by performing.

Flashdance (1983)

These films weren't just entertaining. Their greasy hands reached through the screen, pressed into my soft skull, and told me that performance (especially dance) could...

...make me the life of the party.

Footloose (1984)

...help me find love.

Dirty Dancing (1987)

...get me into a good school.

Flashdance (1983)

...gift me with a career.

Stayin' Alive (1983)

...rescue a god-fearing town, through my angry dancing in a warehouse.

Footloose (1984)

Funny, as I put this together, I see that they were almost right, if you get super loose on what "career" means (and ok the warehouse thing was a joke, though if only...).

When you can't fully invest in dance classes, gyms, unions, head shots, and a completely flexible, good paying day-job, you're immediately screwed. And even if you do manage all that, you're hoping to book gigs that still pay less than most professions. Insult to injury, it's best to get in sync with some cult of dance style by your mid-twenties, because you're already getting over that proverbial hill. Do most early twenty-somethings have anything figured out? I sure as hell didn't.

Readers Chime in with their Dance Media Influences

 Photo by Whitney Browne

Photo by Whitney Browne

"in elementary school, my Grandma often babysat me and loved old movie musicals. And in turn, I learned to love them as well.Many films and TV shows influenced me wanting to dance and perform. . . this duet from Singin' in the Rain and this short duet choreographed by Bob Fosse in Kiss Me Kate."  -Trina Mannino, Dancer / Choreographer / Writer

You can't put all the blame on dance movies either. My parents (hopefully) still have video of me screaming my toddler mind out at the original Muppets TV show (which I guess must have been in heavy syndication). Those felt and furry f**kers were friends and lovers putting on the ritz everyday, and having a blast with their celebrity guests.

Muppets TV Show (1975-81)

Those saccharine SOBs at Kids Incorporated didn't help either. They were my age and booking gigs left and right. And I'm -of course- just as cute and talented as they are right?! So surely, if THEY could do it...

Kids Incorporated (1983-92)

While I'm just wildly smearing blame around, the Winter Olympics did me in too. It's not really their fault, but it did a number on me all the same.

These iconic seedlings planted the viral thought in my vulnerable vessel that I could perform my way to love, success and happiness. I was flash-dancing with my treehouse rope swing, acting out the television show Moonlighting with barbies and action figures, doing axle jumps in the living room, and all with the inescapable idea that I was destined to drama-it-up on stage and screen someday.

Moonlighting (1985-89)

But, maybe this has always been the case. Was it worse for a particular generation? You tell me.

Hey millennials, can you blame your dance and performance bugs on...

The Step Up Franchise?

Step Up (2006-14)

Hey everyone of any age. Can you blame your performance bug on...

Mickey Mouse Club?

Mickey Mouse Club (1955-)

Is this need to perform a sickness? Has the technological capacity to self produce our own performance content enabled this need to be seen and heard? Personally, though I can be considered part of the problem,  I absolutely (internally) roll my eyes when I meet a bright-eyed young actor or dancer.

Do you Perform? (or Wish You Did?)

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Tell me how you think you caught the the performance bug. How sick are you to perform? How are you coping with it (or not)? Is it an incurable disease for you or a valuable coping outlet for the horror show that is adult life?

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