You had two sets of two boys competing on the stage, the boys on the right and left hand side of the dance floor. The two sets are actually two sides of the same person, but the audience believes that his physical appearance is the same, because a lot of people look up and they see this body that looks identical for two people. The audience and the dancers believe they are dancing the same exact thing, and this is why the flappers had such success and why so many of them died.”
How did the two sides of the competition differ? The flappers’ show was more physically attractive than the men’s, according to the author, but men’s dancing would be seen as superior because men’s dances were considered to create greater arousal. The women were asked to play the role of the opposite sex and perform the opposite physical activity, and the audience believed that both men and women were dancing the same, regardless of the physical aspect of the act.
“What is attractive is one thing — but what people perceive as attractive is totally different,” said Tamm. “And people perceive as attractiveness, they judge the opposite sex as better dancers. Women who look at men dancing in their underwear are, you know, they’re thinking, ‘Ah, they’re going to get the woman.’ ”
“It’s not just about how attractive a woman is or is not,” said Tamm. “It’s also how well they’re holding up their partner or their partner’s partner. When they dance and they see people dancing and they see a man or a woman do the same stuff but not being able to show their partner how they’re doing, they’re thinking, ‘Ah, it doesn’t work.’ ”
When these couples did try their own moves at dance competitions, they would perform for a very limited audience.
“The first stage,” said Tamm, “is that they have very different goals.” The man or woman who is watching or listening or trying to make a move would not be able to tell whether any of the couples were competing against each other as a group. “That’s kind of the first stage for us,” he added. “The second stage starts from here. It’s not just one person dancing by himself. He’s not just dancing with his own partner, he’s also dancing with another person. And we can see, by the visual evidence — the dance looks very different to them. It’s just a different way to hold the partner. There’s a very distinct physical
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