Ballroom dancing and the allure of intimacy

The season finale of “Dancing with the Stars” — the hit TV show that pairs professional dancers with celebrities in a dance competition — drew close to 20 million viewers, and is currently moving along in its 13th season. Suffice it to say, it’s a hit. But maybe not just because it offers an opportunity to catch glimpses of celebs-of-times-past (Mel B. from the Spice Girls, Ricki Lake, etc) butchering the samba or stumbling shamefully through the foxtrot.

According to Temple University sociologist Julia Ericksen, audiences are drawn to the romantic connection on display between partners – and the appeal of ballroom dancing as a whole lies in its offer of “instant intimacy.”

“In the modern world, many people don’t always have time to develop relationships and make long-term commitments, and the thing about dancing is you get all the warmth and intimacy and connection without having to make the commitment,” Ericksen said.

For her new book, Dance with Me: Ballroom Dancing and the Appeal of Instant IntimacyJulia Ericksen interviewed 60 dancers from all levels and backgrounds to explore new depths within the world of competitive ballroom dance. Check out the video below, as the author takes a dance lesson and talks about her work, including some surprising findings.

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Read the full article by Kim Fischer here.

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