by The Urban Blabbermouth
Tony Manero always danced. He would walk through the rooms of his home twitching some bodily part to the tat tat tat taaa beat pulsing in his head. Sometimes he would meet his mom in the living room and he would grab her hand and dance around her while she stood there and laugh at him. At the moment, Tony's biggest dream, in fact his only known ambition, was to be the Dance King of Brooklyn.
His plan was to first win the monthly disco dance competition at his local dance hall, Club 2001 Odyssey. For months now, Tony came in second to someone better.
To improve and to win, Tony would visit other dance clubs to see what other dancers were doing and what exciting choreography he could pick up from them. Once, he made the effort to go into Manhattan to the famed Studio 54 club. He did not learn any new moves from there but he did catch a quick glimpse of the infamous owner, Steve Rubell.
In desperation, Tony would to go into black dance clubs. It was a risky adventure as white Italian boys were not so welcomed by the Black patrons. He did understand their animosity towards him as a stranger, an intruder, and as a white man among them. This was their refuge from the travails of the world and here he was, a white man, invading it and bringing all the reminders of a harsher reality into their fantasy room. Tony wanted to win his dance competition and if that meant taking a risk, braving their hostility, the assault of looks, words, or fists, then so be it.
Tony did learn from his excursion into the black clubs how skilled and creative the black dancers were. He hurried home to practice and the next day, rushed to the Phillips Dance Studio to continue his workout. Despite the hours and all the effort, Tony could not emulate the black dancers.
One evening while practicing in his room, Tony cried out in frustration, “I can’t, I can’t. I wish I could but I can't. I wish I could dance like a black man.”