Here in Georgia they have their own version of “Dancing with the Stars.” It seems to be pretty popular. As with many such competition shows, I don’t care much for it, but this week’s episode featured a performance which really warmed my heart.
That’s right, he danced to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” in blackface. Of course, it’s not enough merely to apply the shoe polish and do a minstrel soft-shoe. No, he even wields a spear as he surprises a woman with a Victorian dress and parasol. Lawdy, dis sho am good!
The gentleman’s name is Otar Tatishvili. He is the celebrity of the duo (the professional dancer’s name is Mzia Orvelashvili), having starred in several Georgian sitcoms. Born in the Jewish ghetto of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, he left for Georgia as a teenager because of pressure from his father to carry on the family tradition of becoming a cantor in the synagogue.