Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Electric Sham

I still have a problem with people doing my choreography incorrectly, but we're working through that and I now have a great lawyer who's helping me control this.

--Richard Silver, Electric Slide creator
This is one of those stories that will benefit from the least possible attention, as we don't wish to encourage people like Mr. Silver, but I still feel compelled to share it with the uninitiated.

Way back in the mid-70s, at the dawn of the Disco era, a time perhaps best forgotten in terms of what it gave us in the way of dance, Richard Silver invented and copyrighted a 22-step jig he came to call the "Electric Slide," and it has been his life's passion ever since to preserve all 22 steps of the dance for posterity and ego.

But Richard's has been a tough row to hoe of late, given the number of heathens who are bastardizing his dance by doing it incorrectly, using 18 steps in place of the requisite 22, not kicking with enough flourish, not sliding with sufficient emotion, and what have you. Richard laments in an interview with CNET
Yeah, my choreography was 22 steps because my birthday is January 22. I wanted something that was uniquely mine, and so I created a dance with 22 steps. And the dances that are being portrayed on YouTube and MySpace and wherever are doing an 18-step dance instead of a 22-step dance. I fought for the last 28 years trying to get it not done as an 18-step dance, and now with all this being presented on the Internet, I had a problem with it....

The only harm is that choreography is being presented incorrectly. By people watching it and learning it from them incorrectly. And prolonging what I've been fighting for for the last 30 years since I created the dance. Every night that I taught the dance I had a dream that someone was going to leave my class and teach it incorrectly and it was going to go around the world incorrectly and I was going to spend the rest of my life trying to correct it. And that is exactly what has happened.
Which is it, Richard? A 28- or a 30-year struggle for the sanctity of your Electric Slide? Perhaps it's just me but I think it's a sign of the End Times that one can copyright a 22-step dance (or a dance of any length for that matter), and enforce that copyright even when the dance has been changed. Is the 18-step dance the same as the original 22-step version? What about an 11-step copy? Where does the madness end?


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