Monday, November 29, 2010

"Down-and-out Detroiters Dance"

You're stressed from the weekend. Stressed from going back to work. Or not having any work to go back to.

That can only mean one thing.

Time for a cha-cha break, baby. Because Hey, Daddy, it's just like what Steve Martin used to say about playing the banjo. You can't be sad listening/ dancing to cha-cha.

Not to mention some people find it a little sexy.

And it's that sass, that sex that drives my people in "International Latin," the play-turned TV show. They may be unemployed, hopelessly in love, running from their past, wanting a baby or dealing with daddy issues - but they let it all out on that dance floor:

excerpt from the television pilot
copr. 2010 Amy J. Parrent


The irresistible driving force of HOT LATIN POP MUSIC: BONGOS and CONGAS and TIMBALES, saucy tenor TRUMPETS, a clinking syncopated PIANO running wild up and down.

Glimpses of gyrating HIPS. Trim TUMMIES and tight BUTTS. A FLASH OF SHOULDERS, a SWIRL OF HAIR.


A BRIGHTLY LIGHTED DANCE SPACE. Surrounded by hazy dimness.

As if the sideline is just a dream and the golden dance floor the only reality.

And in that hot-white light SEVERAL PAIRS OF DANCERS peacock with all they’ve got. Strutting. Pulsating. Posing.

While JUDGES on the fringes eye them intently -- Like bow-tied and evening-gowned lions looking for the weakest gazelles to fell.

A SMALL AUDIENCE ON THE SIDELINES, alert to the ballroom bacchanalia before them.


MICHAEL POWERS and LALANA CHASE PATEL. HIM: 18, your average suburban white boy dancing ballroom. HER: A divalicious 20-year-old, half South Asian-/half African-American.

FRANK TITAN and KAROLE MARKER. FRANK: Around 30. One big tight top and snug pair of pants, showing off a still-fit jock bod.

KAROLE: Early 30s. Less pizazz than the others. Dress a Saturday Night Fever reject. But works what she has. Perhaps a vague resemblance hints that they’re cousins.

SASHA SARKOV and NATALIA DUBANSKAYA (aka NATALIE HUNTER). Sparkliest of all, top of the game. Pelvises like Slinky toys.

NATALIE an elegant mid-30s. Legs up to here match a dress slit down to there. SASHA’S shirt opens even closer to the earth’s core. He’s slim, hanging on to late 20s, moody Slavic good looks.

They’ll speak with RUSSIAN INFLECTION, though her accent fluctuates.

Each couple winds their way around the floor. Marking their territory.

Frank, alpha-male-gone-wild, guides Karole too close for comfort to the Russians.

Sasha won’t back down. Two objects fighting to occupy the same space at the same time.

It’s Natalie who saves the day from a sequin-and-satin disaster. She whirls, and with a quick, sparkly flaunt, parades away, Sasha stalking after her.

In the front row ARNIE TYLER, a slim 70-year-old black man, smiles, whispers to his young seatmates, CAITLIN LAKE and BEN RYAN. The boy’s in tiny tails, the girl Ginger Rogers, Jr.

THE SONG ENDS. The dancers move to sidelines. Judges confer.

Photo: Slavik Kryklyvyy & Karina Smirnoff