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At the Dance

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Florence06
Written by Joe Raposo
Date 1975
Source The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence
Publisher Jonico Music Inc
At the Dance (s&v)

Kermit and a female whatnot in a "Sex and Violence" installment of At the Dance.

Pigsdance

Miss Piggy and a whatnot pig in a first season installment of At The Dance.

At the Dance was a recurring sketch seen frequently during the first season of The Muppet Show, and less regularly in subsequent seasons. The segment featured an elegant ballroom with pairs of Muppets dancing and exchanging gags.

History

"At the Dance" was similar to the Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In cocktail party segments. Its Muppet antecedents can be traced to the ball sequence in the special Hey Cinderella!, where the main characters told jokes with their partners. "At the Dance" was first featured in The Muppet Show: Sex and Violence where the show cut to the dance sequence four times during the program.

The dance segment appeared in all five seasons of the show, but was used with decreasing frequency each year. The main theme for "At the Dance" was composed by Joe Raposo for the show. A tango arrangement of the theme was heard in several instances; including episodes 114, 115 and 515. A disco variation, provided by M.A.M.M.A., was heard in episode 407.

Over time, the set changed from a blue ballroom to a pink ballroom. The ballroom featured a chandelier, which would then fade into the dancers at the start of each sketch. After the first season, it was also common to see the ceiling of the ballroom. Episode 515 revolved around a dance marathon, with "At The Dance"-style jokes and situations throughout. In that episode, a more detailed set was used.

Two musical numbers, "I Won't Dance" and "Won't Somebody Dance with Me", used the "At the Dance" setting and even opened with the "At the Dance" music.

The Muppet Show 2 featured a newly recorded At the Dance segment, with some of the jokes revolving around the fact that the sketch was heard on a record album.

The sketch's decreasing appearances were at the decision of Jerry Juhl, who wanted to phase out the segment to due a lack of interest from both the writers and performers, citing it as merely a spot "pointless one-liners."[1]

Joke Style

During the first season, many of the "At the Dance" sketches were generic with assorted jokes and random gags.

Examples:
Mildred: I come from a very old family.
George: Mine's older.
Mildred: Oh, really? How old?
George: My family's so old it's been condemned.
Whatnot Woman: You know, I have a bone to pick with you.
Rowlf: Too late. I just buried it.
Woman: You know what really bothers me?
Blue Frackle: What?
Woman: Your temper; you're always blowing your top!
Blue Frackle: Oh yeah? (His head explodes)

After the first season, it became more common for each individual skit to have a theme, in which all or most of the jokes revolve around a similar topic (such as tennis jokes or "there's fly in my soup" jokes).

Examples:
Male Whatnot: So, I says to the waiter, I says "Waiter, there's a fly in my soup" and the waiter says "Shhh, not so loud! Everybody will be wanting one!"
Marvin: So, I said to the waiter, I said "Waiter, there's a fly in my soup" and the waiter said "What's the matter? You ordered a mosquito?"
Kermit: So, I said to the waiter, I said "Waiter, what's this fly doing in my alphabet soup?" and the waiter said "Standing in for the apostrophe".

Each dancing pair was performed by a single performer (with one puppet on each of their hands). Occasionally the voices would be dubbed by another performer afterwards. George and Mildred ended up as dancing partners in many "At the Dance" segments early on. Frank Oz enjoyed upstaging the other performers with Mildred and George's dancing which got wilder as the first season progressed.[2]

Mildred: George, do you like circuses?
George: Oh, I love 'em!
Mildred: Then, you must love Ringling.
George: I don't know. I never ringled!
Mildred: You know, when I was in London, I saw them changing the guards.
George: Why? Were they dirty?

Common couples

Mildred and George

During the first season, "At the Dance" would, with few exceptions, feature the same couples every week:

Segment Appearances

Recastrichard

Richard Hunt performs Zoot and Janice.

Sources

  1. Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones, page 241.
  2. The Muppet Show: Season One, Muppet Morsels

See also



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