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Dance Fever (Syndicated 1979-1987, Deney Terrio, Adrian Zmed)

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Shows combining popular music and dance have been popular since the early days of television, and like television itself, these shows have changed to keep up with the times. In the late 1970’s, disco was the ruling music trend, and television got into the game with Dance Fever. This program successfully mixed the hottest dance music of the day with all the audiovisual thrills of a good spin on the dance floor to become a sizable syndication success. It also managed to outlive the death of disco to enjoy continued success well into the 1980’s.

Dance Fever was hosted by Deney Terrio, a disco legend who earned his fame by teaching John Travolta how to do the famous dance moves he used in Saturday Night Fever. Terrio presided over the dance action as a stream of amateur disco enthusiasts hit the floor to impress a panel of three celebrity judges with their hottest steps. The winning couple would get to return for higher-level competitions that built up to a final competition for a $25,000 grand prize. Terrio would also take the occasional spin on the floor himself, usually with a pair of female dancers credited as ‘Motion.’

The surefire mixture of dance contests and pulsating disco music made Dance Fever an instant success in syndication. Disco as a national trend died out shortly after the show’s early success, but Dance Fever managed to survive this shift in taste by expanding its musical format to include other types of danceable pop music. The show also attracted an interesting array of celebrities, including such luminaries as Barbara Eden, Rick Springfield and Adrian Zmed. The latter guest was doubly notable, because he took over as Dance Fever’s host when Deney Terrio stepped down in 1985.

Dance Fever continued to be a syndicated television favorite through most of the 1980’s before finally ending its run in 1987. It is not seen very often on television today, but the show is fondly remembered by plenty of dance-music fans for bringing the latest tunes and dance steps into their homes on a weekly basis. As long as people have fond memories of the days of ‘boogie shoes,’ there will always be a fond spot in the hearts of many for Dance Fever.

production details
USA | Syndicated | x30 minutes | Broadcast 1979-1987

Creator: Merv Griffin

cast
Deney Terrio as Host (1979-85)
Adrian Zmed as Host (1985-87)
Renee Gentry as Dancer
Janet Jones as Dancer
Freeman King as Regular