Top 10 Dancing Characters in Fiction We’d Like to See on “Dancing with the Stars”

Nastia Liukin, a Gold Medal-winning Olympic gymnast, and Derek Hugh, semifinals, spring 2015.

Nastia Liukin, a Gold Medal-winning Olympic gymnast, and Derek Hugh, semifinals, Spring 2015.

I am a fan of Dancing With the Stars.  In my favorite season, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the Olympic Gold Medal-winning ice-dancers, competed for the Mirror Ball Trophy. (Meryl won.)

This fall the show was lacklustre, possibly because two women dropped out with health emergencies. After Tamar Braxton was hospitalized for blood clots, there was Bindi, the plucky teenager whom the judges and interviewers deemed “the nicest girl in the world,” “inspiring,” “my favorite person,” and “the person whose best friend I’d like to be if I were younger.” Guess who won?  Bindi!  And she was an elegant dancer, but didn’t have much competition at the end.  Or any!  I rooted for Carlos, but he was eliminated in the semi-finals.

Here is my solution to the slump:  a list of the Top 10 Dancing Literary Characters I’d like to see on DWTS. The mechanics of bringing them to life would be difficult, but it’s Hollywood!


1 Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice.  He is  “hot” (sorry, I got that horrible word from DWTS), but he is also snobbish.  After Darcy rejects the Bennet girls at a dance and deems Jane a gold digger, he notices Lizzie’s grace and intelligence. But it is too late:  Lizzie is prejudiced.   Eventually they fall in love.  Well, he was kind to her, but she also likes his mansion and  estate. So wouldn’t we like to see Darcy dancing?  Yes!  He is so proud.  How about the Samba?

2. Prince Turveydrop in Dickens’s Bleak House. I adore the harried Prince Turveydrop who runs a dancing school to support his father, Mr. Turveydrop, a model of “deportment.” And Prince is engaged to Caddy Jellyby, my favorite sulky character in literature.  Her philanthropist mother turns her into a secretary-drone, but she secretly learns housekeeping skills from Miss Flite, a sweet but addled old woman who spends her days trying to settle an imaginary lawsuit in Chancery.  Prince needs some fun:  let him do the Jive!

3. Natasha in War and Peace is the belle of the ball, and she also does a lively folk dance. She’s got passion:  let’s see her do the Paso Doble!

4. At a dance, Jo in Little Women burns the back of her dress while standing too close to the fire. Her neighbor, Laurie, rescues her,  and they dance and romp in the hallway.  What would this tomboy dance on DWTS?   Something athletic, possibly the Quick Step!

5.  Eugene Onegin in Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin.   Eugene doesn’t have much pep.  He is one of those languorous Byronic heroes.  So let’s see him dance.  How about the Cha-Cha-Cha!

6. Glencora Palliser in Trollope’s Palliser series. In Can You Forgive Her? Glencora, an heiress, is in love with Burgo Fitzgerald, an  impecunious aristocrat.  They have a dance or two, though she doesn’t marry him.  Can’t we see Glencora doing the Viennese waltz?  (Preferably with Burgo.)

7.  Donald Farfrae fiddles at a dance in Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge  when he’s not reversing spoiled grain by science or marrying the Mayor’s girlfriend.  Let’s get him on DWTS:  how about  the rumba?

8.  In Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love, Linda Radlett, the charming daughter of an eccentric lord, can’t wait for her first dance.  But the dance given by the Radletts is stodgy, until the neighbor Lord Merlin brings his fashionable house guests.  Let Linda do the Charleston!  It’s her era.

9.  In Pamela Hansford Johnson’s The Last Resort,  Celia, a businesswoman who is in love with a married man, takes her happily married novelist friend Christine to a club where they dance with professional dance partners–for money!  Christine isn’t keen on it.  Let’s get Celia on the show so she doesn’t make the terrible marriage she chooses as the last resort!  Give her Contemporary!  She needs to express her feelings.

10.  In Carolina De Robertis’s new novel, The Gods of Tango, the heroine, Leda, disguises herself as a man so she can play violin in a tango band at clubs in Argentina when the tango is a new dance.  Eventually she falls in love with a woman who thinks she is a man who turns out to be a lesbian who knew she was a lesbian….  But before that there is quite a lot of tangoing. And so give her the Argentine tango)!

I would ask you for your favorite dancing literary characters, but I’ve turned off my comments!