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  • Paul Davidson

Today’s Prognosis On Back Handsprings

Are all of us really that bored?

I was at the Hollywood Bowl last night seeing a wonderful little musical and about halfway through the performance there was a dance number. The dancers, fitted with sparkling happy little outfits, spun and danced their choreographed dance number with complicated dance steps and movements. And then came the final climax of the number…

And two people starting doing back handsprings across the stage.

Hands to feet to hands to feet to hand to feet to hands to feet, and then they disappear off stage right. It’s a very circus-y move that people have been doing for as long as people could balance on their two hands and flip over onto their two feet and flip back over onto their two hands and flip back over onto their two feet while wearing sequins and lots of other moving, flashy objects.

Don’t you think the time of back handsprings is over?

We have lived in a world with back handsprings for so long now, that just watching people do them makes me feel like someone isn’t fully taking the time to do their job in a show like that. I envision some choreographer tired and fatigued from a day of planning the ultimate end sequence, looking at the clock, then asking everyone in the room, “Who can do back handsprings? Oh, you can? Well, that’s how we’re going to end this amazing musical number!! The two of you, man and woman, crossing eachother at the stage’s center — doing back handsprings!! Be sure to wear your sparkly outfits, too!”

I feel like we’re being taken. Hoodwinked. Scammed. Because back handsprings are sort of like the phonograph of modern digital music. The back handspring is old, not so impressive (anymore) and really, sort of insulting.

If you’re going to end a musical number with something amazing that will cause the audience to open their eyes in wonder — why not suspend dancers from the ceiling? Have them fly like Peter Pan into and above the audience, while blindfolded and eating a canoli? We’ve never seen dancers floating above an audience, making movements in tune and rhythm with the orchestra, blindfolded and eating italian desserts? See, I’m not even a choreographer and look what creative instincts I have? Why can’t the people at The Hollywood Bowl and even, oh I don’t know…Broadway, come up with something like this?

Instead, they regress to the back handspring, and insult the musical intelligence of paying customers worldwide.

I don’t want to see the back handspring anymore. I don’t want to see silly flipping by people who spend their weekends honing their skills by flipping around at parks and birthday parties. Flipping people is not impressive. I had friends in college who could flip. Flipping is not a career. It does not make me say wow. Back handsprings must be excised from all public performances, ASAP.

To those reading this who are professional back handspringers I say this: You have more talent and more ability than this. If all you do are back handsprings, you will soon be known for such (and only such). Even if you have aspirations for singing in the chorus or being a supporting player, you will never reach such lofty aspirations. You will always be, in their eyes, a back handspringer. I don’t care if you were a gymnast or a martial arts teacher — the back handspring is going to be your undoing. Stop immediately, and thank me later for such career advice.

Thank you. I feel much better now.

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