Kirstie Alley Did Not Fall Down

I’ve had literally twelve people e-mail me to ask me what I thought about Kirstie Alley’s fall on Dancing with the Stars (video at the end).  So here it is:

She didn’t fall – he dropped her.  Stated a different way, he fell when he suffered an injury and she went down with him.  Based on my viewing it looked to me like he pulled a muscle as he shifted the weight to change direction and finish the move.  His strength didn’t go out as if she were too heavy to hold- he clearly pulled or strained a muscle which could also have to do with how much he warmed up, how hydrated he was, previous injuries etc.  In the interview after she kept saying “We did it a thousand times”.  This move does require the gentlemen to take on a lot of the lady’s weight but there is a lot of physics involved  and I can’t imagine they would have risked it if it didn’t go well in practice.  Injuries happen to dancers and men drop their thin partners- I’ve seen it happen. Go to YouTube and search for ballroom dance bloopers and you can see thin woman after thin woman get dropped on her ass, her knees, her head, and her pride.

Still, I would be lying if I didn’t say that this sort of scenario terrifies me.  My dance coach is incredibly strong and can absolutely hold me up but if one of the things that caused one of those thousands of YouTube blooper moments happen (the floor is too slick, he slips on an errant rhinestone, he gets a cramp etc.) I’m just a fat girl falling down.

And fat girls falling down are apparently more hilarious than other people falling down.  They sell shirts that say “If a fat girl falls down in the woods, do the trees laugh?”  (No, of course I’m not linking to it here so don’t ask!) And really the only response that I have to that is bite me.

I’m actually quite used to falling down. On the dance floor people often comment on my grace.  Off the dance floor I can be a serious klutz. My ankles are double jointed so sometimes they just roll and I fall down out of no where.  I’m frequently thinking of three or four things while walking around I just run into things.  Big, stationary object things.  It has nothing to do with my weight – I was like this at my lightest weight, I’m like this now.  Today I fell UP some stairs.  I’ve got skills in this area is what I’m saying.

It happened to me at the National Championships.  I was waltzing and I don’t know what happened but my right ankle folded in half (the inside of my food touched the inside of my leg) and I landed hard on my left knee.  When I got up the knee hurt only slightly more than the ankle which was in excruciating pain and I limped my way through two days of competition (there are parts of it I can’t even remember, but I do remember doing East Coast Swing – a really bouncy fast dance that uses a lot of knee and ankle – and  thinking “Can you die from pain?…Shut up brain, we have to dance now.. come on Ragen, get it together and keep smiling”)  But the trees didn’t laugh.  Nobody laughed.  Everybody cheered when I got up and kept dancing and I went on to win a Couple’s National Title. Kirstie got up as well and danced a kick ass routine under a lot of pressure – and that’s what I wish the story was.  Not “fat girl falls down” but “Dancer Rises Up”

I guess my point in all this is to say that people who are laughing at her for “falling” are people who 1. don’t know anything about dancing and 2. would probably wear that shirt about fat girls in the woods.  And who really cares what these people think?  I hope Kirstie doesn’t.

So watch the video and see for yourself, but I think it’s a crime that people watched the fall over and over again instead of watching the trick at 1:00, because that’s bad ass, and her footwork throughout is beautiful.

Published in: on April 7, 2011 at 8:41 am  Comments (27)  

27 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I am following your blog from Germany and I absolutely love it. Kirstie’s “fall” even made it on TV over here – of course with nasty comments. When I saw it I already looked forward to your blog about what clearly was to happen afterwards, i.e. everybody who doesn’t know anything about dancing and/or being fat blaming her and completely ignoring the fact that it was actually him, not her, that suffered an injury and fell. By the way, I think Kirstie looks and dances great so I don’t get what people are bitching about anyway!

    • Hi Petra,

      Awesome – I love hearing from International readers :) Glad that you like the blog and I absolutely agree with you that she looks and dances great. I heard so much about it before I saw the video and everyone was saying that she fell down, so I was really confused when I saw that it was him.

      Danke!

      ~Ragen

  2. Kirstie Alley is gorgeous there! Stunningly gorgeous!

    xo Susie

  3. I am fat myself and naturally clumsy, and I can laugh at myself. But it really pisses me off when people laugh at large women who fall. Never large men. why is that? Regardless of the Kristie Alley dance debacle, I am glad that you brought up this issue. I’m sick of people who have shirts that say “no fat chicks” and the type of people who laugh at fat women who fall. They are just mean.

    • Laura,

      I am right there with you. The no fat chicks shirt is a whole ‘nother blog buI’m always surprised that the guys in these shirts are so certain a fat girl would want them.

      ~Ragen

  4. When I was watching this on television I kept thinking, “Was that planned? No way!” The emotional connection between the two of them became so strong– I think it carried them through and improved the dance.
    I was once doing floorwork, got my skirt wrapped around my ankle, and almost couldn’t get up gracefully–it also twisted the ankle a bit. You can’t tell on the video.
    I think Kirstie is finally realizing that Bruno was right when he said something along the lines of talent has nothing to do with a person’s weight.

    • Laurie,

      I agree – I was really pleased with the way that he got her through the routine and took care of her afterward – specifically saying that it had nothing to do with her. He had told her earlier that his thin partners had the exact same problems that she was having and that it wasn’t her weight which made me really happy.

      ~Ragen

  5. On the dance floor people often comment on my grace. Off the dance floor I can be a serious klutz.

    I’ve heard this a few times now, about good dancers, I wonder what is the source of it.

    • I can’t speak for other dancers but for me I think that it has to do with not paying attention – my mind is usually on a few different things at once (Q2 financial reporting, choreographing a chair dance for my cabaret group, and whether or not my cha cha will be ready for the next competition) and then I just fall over stuff or run into things.

      ~Ragen

      • But when you’re dancing, dancing is all you’re doing. I think that may be the key to mental health right there–having something that when you do it, it’s the only thing you’re doing.

    • Well, there are fewer obstacles on dance floors BUT I think Skyfire is close. Those of us who truly are dancers are in the throes of expression and exploration when we dance, so we’re on a much higher plane, so to speak. Every fiber of our being–including the physical–is at attention because no portion gets to sit it out. When we’re just going about daily tasks, so much of ourselves is put on auto-pilot. Not only do large portions get to “take 5″ but we’re not expressing anything, either. There’s a…slackness to being “turned off.”

      Glad to meet other daily klutz’s!

  6. Well I guess I have “rubber ankles” too, bcz between ‘em & my knees buckling these days, I seem to go around w/permanently skinned knees! It’s like being 12 yrs old (a clumsy pre-teen) all over again, only wearing size 18 instead of 7 ;-)…
    It still hurts me to see my boy’s bumps & bruises; I’d rather take ‘em myself! My heart was in my throat when he climbed a tree yesterday, but I was the same sort of reckless daredevil when I was his age…

  7. That dance was nothing less than beautiful and amazing and it’s quite obvious (to anyone with a properly functioning brain) that it had zero to do with her size because he had no problem holding her during that super low dip. It’s unfortunate that people can’t appreciate the beauty and grace of her performance because of one *tiny* mistake that they recovered from as if it had never happened. I’ve seen thin professional dancers do worse.

  8. Ok, 1) I’m your klutz twin apparently. I fell UP the stairs yesterday myself. Granted it’s because I wasn’t wearing shoes and my toe caught the hem of my pants and I tripped from that. Got myself a nice little “badge of honor” (re: Huge bump and a nasty bruise) out of the deal too. 2) If you ask me Kirstie didn’t fall, she was pulled down. Not dropped, not a fall, she was pulled. Even to a non-dancer (professional or otherwise unless jamming in my living room counts) I was able to see that he had injured his leg somehow. Heck, he even said that was the issue later on. Luckily I don’t think she took it as a “fat girls fall” thing because of two things. 1) She said that the song was chosen because of triumph over adversity. To me that adversity is all the nastiness even though she seems to be doing a great job for not being a professional dancer. 2) She went out to get a tattoo afterwards that said “Unbroken”. I just hope she lets that carry her through, that she is unbroken by a slip that was not her fault and she is unbroken by those who try to tear her down.

  9. I don’t even watch this show but have been following Kirstie’s journey on the show via blogs. It looks to me, an untrained eye, that the fumble was on him, not anything due to her or her weight. But of course our society being what it is, will try to pin it on her. I’m glad there are blogs like yours to speak the truth!

  10. Hey there,

    Excellent blog! I follow Maura on Twitter and was delighted to read this from someone who understands dance.

    I’m going to link you in a lil something I’m writing on my own blog. This was perfect inspiration.

    Thanks,
    Ami

    • Hi Ami,

      Welcome to the blog and thanks for the link love! You keep good company – Maura is awesome!

      ~Ragen

  11. Excellent post that illuminates the ways in which we treat different body sizes differently depending on what we think is acceptable to say about them. I included this in my weekly links roundup, fyi!: http://www.the-beheld.com/2011/04/whats-going-on-in-beauty-this-week-from.html

    As ever, thank you for rewriting the story to make it what it *should* be.

  12. Gosh Kirstie Alley is a beautiful dancer! And such a beautiful woman. No wonder some small people are jealous of her and look for stuff to bitch about!

  13. Oh yeah, she did not fall at all, HE went down and she went with him. He didn’t even have her weight fully on him when he started to go.

    But of course, it’s ALWAYS “coz you’re fat”, blargh.

  14. Lovely post! Kirstie did a wonderful job as did her partner. He was obviously in pain, and it really looked like a pulled muscle to me too. His stance looked strong until suddenly down he went.

    I have a lot of respect for her partner because he said it wasn’t the fault of her weight. I love that he jumped out there and made sure to say it wasn’t about her weight that it happens sometimes no matter the dancers involved.

  15. Indeed Kirstie did not fall. Anyone who REALLY watched that show/clip will clearly hear him say his thigh went out and he pulled her down with him. He clearly stands up, stops and indicates a moment with his finger. As he recovers and starts to dance again you can see him wince and take a deep breath as if to strengthen himself to continue. Then at the end he dips her almost all the way to the floor very gracefully and without incident. if it had been Kirstie’s weight, he wouldn’t have been able to do that.

    Personally, I think she is doing amazingly well- given her age and fitness level at the beginning of the show. (Please note I said fitness level not weight- the two are very distinct and different) *gets down off her soap box and grins*

    GO KIRSTIE!!!! (G-MAK)

  16. Yeah, I saw the same thing. It was a couple second process, even, and he was still holding her up for a second or two after his leg gave out. There’s a lot of motion involved in that move that’s very hard on the knees and thighs of both parties. I was actually very impressed with how they picked the dance back up, because once you’ve learned and rehearsed choreography, it can be difficult to change or adapt it in the middle. And, you’re right, Kirstie Alley’s footwork was beautiful, and she danced incredibly well.
    I’m also incredibly impressed with Maks. Going on after an injury like that, especially in the amount of pain it looked like he was in, while on national television, certainly doesn’t sound like my idea of a good time. That’s got to be all of the professional dancers’ nightmare, that they’re supposed to be the anchor of the team, and an injury catches them in the middle of performance. I was pleased that Maks recovered as well as he did, and that Kirstie supported him as well as he did her.

  17. I say that the true measure of any performer is in how well they recover from glitches like that and Kirstie’s lost shoe a week after this fall…and, by those standards, Kirstie is a real trouper. And so is Maks, but we knew that already. Thankfully, no mishaps this week, and they’re still right in the thick of the competition!

    • You are so very right! I’m very happy that she is kicking ass :)

      ~Ragen

  18. I am totally with you. I think that it’s terrible that anyone would make this mishap bigger than what it is. Maks is a strong man and he had a physical issue that caused HIM to drop Kirstie. Enough trying to turn this into an opportunity for late night comedians to pad their opening monologues.


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