He started the personal computing revolution, co-founded Apple Computers, survived a plane crash, taught fifth grade, AND was a featured speaker at The UP Experience 2008. Now, Steve Wozniak, a.k.a. “The Woz,” billionaire and genius can add to his resumé yet again: contestant on Dancing With The Stars!
OK, he’s not a great dancer. However, I have seen much worse. I have danced my whole life with non-dancers, and TRUST ME — in the “real world” of social dancing, the Woz is a dreamboat. Granted, in the ultra-competitive ballroom dance world, it’s a surprise that he’s there at all. What he lacks in technique, he more than makes up in joyfulness, positive attitude, and nascent showmanship.
Woz also has a loyal, yea fanatical fan base of geeks and those who love them. Twitter has a chat room for Dancing With The Stars, (#DWTS) and it has been burning up during the show. Geeks are cheering him on with protective devotion. Some have spent their entire allotment of votes over the past 2 weeks to keep him on the show. Tonight, the first night of elimination, The Woz and former GoGo Belinda Carlisle were in the dreaded bottom two couples. Having tied in the dance-off, the audience vote was added. Who would get the axe? Good-bye, Belinda — Woz gets to stay another week!
Who cares about such fluff? DWTS isn’t finding a solution for global warming, pioneering biomedical research, or exploring the cosmos. I would argue that DWTS is an oasis in contemporary culture.
At last year’s UP Experience, Malcolm Gladwell spoke about the dangers of valuing the prodigy, the wunderkind, the immediate payoff, to the exclusion of the late-bloomer. He stated that if Matisse or Fleetwood Mac were getting started today, no investor or producer would have the patience to allow them to grow into greatness. Their work would have been lost to us, because they weren’t “overnight successes.” Leap back to DWTS, the program that showcases hard work, high standards, and the ability to learn and improve.
Steve Wozniak started ballroom dancing five weeks ago. He’s had two weeks of competition. He is a beginner, and he is a fast learner. Having made some footwork mistakes on Monday night, he analyzed the problem, perceived the pattern, and was able to correct it. The studio audience gave him a standing ovation, and Twitter went wild. Dancers and audience members alike learn, over the course of the season, to make ever finer distinctions. Even though the back-stories can be a little cheesy and often seem like unnecessary padding in the bloated show, they allow us to witness the personal growth of the contestants. Real growth and development. That’s extraordinary, especially in prime time. Everyone learns, and the American Public learns to appreciate the process and the plain old hard work behind the scenes that leads to excellence and ultimately, to the best possible performance. Who knew that Dancing With The Stars would demonstrate — DEPTH?
Interesting lessons often hide in unexpected places. So, I’ll be rooting for Steven Wozniak for as long as he can stay in the dancing game. I’ll bet on a learner any day.
posted by MaryBeth Smith
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- The Woz Triumphs on Dancing With the Stars Just by Showing Up (gawker.com)
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