STRICTLY COME DANCING (Romancing)
Just browsing through my OK magazine today and couldn’t help but write my latest celebrity blog on this autumn/winters latest contestants for Strictly Come Dancing. Should it not be renamed as Strictly Come Romancing…after the dancing. The battle of the ballroom and chemistry between the professional dancers and reality stars and celebrities will absorb ou every cognition for sofa nights in, pizzas and popcorn and passion.
But how do these wannabees really impress the judges. Is it really all about the finely honed choreography highly skilled footwork and muscle wrestling stamina? One might ask does the posture or “chemistry” between the couples really influence the judges decision? Dr.Peter Lovett Pychologist and Dancer has carried much research on the scientific aspects of dancing from a psychological angle. He was invited onto the British version of “Strictly Come Dancing :It Takes Two” to talk about pro – celebrity couples during their training. Peter was interested in how they worked together. What I also found interesting as a celebrity Psychologist, was the fact that the celebs had to come out from their comfort zones and after months of high intensity physical training and diet, they were undergoing the formation of new social bonding and relationships.
Psychological Functions during Strictly Come Dancing Training
The physical proximity necessitates long sessions of not only being taught how to perform the skilled dance movements, but rising to meet the high expectations of the professional dancers. I can vividly recall the effervescent Ann Widdicombe MP being swung like a Merry Go Round children’s chair across the dance floor. Anne shone full of sequins sparkling under the mirror balls erupting in places like a mini volcano as she held fast to her routine before she had a fall on her posterior, strewn across the floor but arose with great alacrity to the applause of the audience. This is after all a reality Tv show and the contestants do it for pure entertainment and also to brighten our dark winter nights and lift our mood states.
The intense training Peter noted involves complex power dynamics where there is so much to talk about as we psychologists dissect the mindset of both professional dancers and in particular the celebrity dancers. Each eek the professional dancer teaches the celebrity a new ballroom dance movement.. ie Foxtrot, Waltz, Quickstep and so on. Once the show goes live there is a huge audience who will be evaluating your performance in front of four judges. It could be argued that this is more nerve wrecking as the power of social media and keyboard warriors will voice their opinions focusing on the celebrities socially perceived flaws and discrepancies and this presents unwanted psychological challenges and health anxieties.
The celebrities chosen by the producers are well respected celebs in their own right having achieved as Tv presenters, athletes, soap stars, reality tv stars and so on. Being a celebrity on the strictly Dance floor is all about playing to camera, and also being able to focus intensely on the training you acquired over previous few months. Each celebrity is rich in diversity of personality traits and this is where they can be utilized to their best advantage. Three things stand out, how to integrate intense concentration on footwork skills and body language, winning the audience and judges votes and maximizing your natural personality type before millions of viewers.
Having spent well over a decade studying reality tv shows and celebrities onscreen behaviour, Im always reminded of the psychological pressures of appearing on telly and its impact on performance anxiety. Can they cope effectively with the aftermath of their performance, the negativity of viewers reactions and not being able to control them.
The Irresistibility of Beauty in Strictly Come Dancing
Beauty is the greatest recommendation than any letter of introduction : Aristotle
We all love beauty health and fitness and spend billions of pounds every year on botox, lip fillers teeth whitening and cosmetic surgery all to create a first impression in the hope the we will appear more attractive to others. In my job as a celebrity psychologist, I spend time trying to explain to entertainers and reality tv stars that personality is not really suitable for cosmetic surgery. However, get the right psych and they can do a “personality makeover” that could last for years. Its no quick fix but its all about changing what personality traits, attitudes to self and others, besides one’s psychological health, and that can be reshaped to reflect positive psychological health.
As viewers we become captivated by the beauty of the dancers their allure and the infatuation with those reality tv stars who are pretty. We live now in a culture where social comparison dictates how we present ourselves to the real world . That is pure reality. Can we truly find the motives to present an authentic self and avoid the fakeness that saturates our contemporary society? There is much appeal in watching TV reality shows. They become part of our addictions and to some extent voyeurism that feeds our daily dose of social media feeds. From I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here Now.. to Hollywood Housewives of Beverly Hills, to Geordie Shore, Celebs Go dating….. to TOWIE the list is endless. But we can attribute some degree of “respect” for Strictly as a family entertainment show with no bed hopping antics , albeit the fact that many off screen romances have been formed between several previous years couples that were no more than a quick fling for a few months before reality set in. Beauty and sexual attractiveness comes with high risk and potential damage to at home spouses and partners and children. Lust rather than love will always be present between professional dancers and attractive dance partners. Emotions determine their social behaviours and socializing after training sessions and post show affiliations.
My Take on Reality TV and Voyeurism
What is it you may ask? Closely related to our necessity for entertainment is our craving for novelty and curiosity. We crave stimulation and knowing what is gong on in the world around us, at the moment the news we hear each day ought to come with a government health warning a its a drip feed of reality infused with depressive triggers. Of course we can switch cannels or get onto our obsessively dependent upon smartphones only to be negatively reinforced by more depressive news. Roll on Instagram to lift our mood states and the abundance of You Tubers as young celebrities and reality stars in the making,
Basically we are a very nosey generation as its built into our genetic predisposition We crave the limelight and the wealth that is associated with being on Strictly Come Dancing and other high profile Tv reality shows. We want to be like them, we become idolatrous craving their mansions cars and exotic holidays. We become full time voyeurs forensically searching for the misdemeanours and celebrity intimacies that satiate our desires. In many ways we are all voyeurs as knowing what is going on around us has survival value. Watching “Strictly” can provide us with not only survival value but as a distraction from daily psychological pressures and work stresses and endless arguments with bosses and colleagues. Our excitement comes when we refocus on scandals between celebrities and politicians and other high profile individuals` Take the likes of the Jeremy Kyle show, the Dr Phil Show and many others . Viewers obtain exposure to peoples intimate and very private lives and feel justified in doing so just because they pay a Tv licence or don’t.
The truth of the matter is that these people become Reality Tv stars because not because of any high level talent they have, but because they were seen or had the luxury of a brilliant PR person acting on their behalf. TV reality shows is the springboard to celebrity success and a world of being exposed to the vultures of cranky viewers full of derision and malice. It’s about being known for being a contestant on the high profile show and becoming the production and consumption of celebrity status.
Everything in this world of reality and celebrity is relative and comparing ourselves to reality stars is not psychologically healthy . Seeing what the Jones’s are up to is their business and keeping up with them is futile. They may never make Hollywood but at least they might make Borehamwood.
STRICTLY COME DANCING (Romancing)