I admit, I’m in the minority of people who are sad to see Microsoft stop support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. I spent so many years with that OS, it’s almost like a security blanket. Before its official passing, I’d like to take a moment to remember a little-known part of Windows XP: Windows Dancer.
This inexplicable “feature” was included with Microsoft XP Media Center Edition, as part of the Microsoft Plus! Digital Media Edition. You could choose from a library of “dancers” that animated along with the music you were inevitably playing through Windows Media Player, because you hadn’t discovered Winamp yet. The dancers ranged from real people and skilled dancers to video game and cartoon characters, replete in their rudimentary 1990s computer animation.
Each of these dancers had an extensive biography, available from the right-click menu when Windows Dancer was enabled. Let’s meet Amanda, the default dancer:
Amanda (default dancer)
General dance style: House
This 19-year-old, full-time college student is also a dancer, coach, choreographer, instructor, business owner, and part-time travel consultant. She has been dancing competitively and professionally for 14 years, with formal training in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, step, cheer, and hip-hop.
Amanda, who started teaching dance at age 14, is currently a co-owner and artistic director for a dance studio. She is also a dance choreographer for several award-winning, competitive cheerleading teams. Amanda was a member of the dance group for a professional basketball team during the 2001-2002 season.
Where are you now, Amanda? Did you ever get to dance full time, and not just on right click? Did you train other Windows Dancers in your studio? I’d like to think now that you’re one of the illustrious Dance Moms, pushing your daughter to work harder, “I was dancing on computers at your age!”
I doubt very many people will be sad to see this go. All it really did was hog resources and get in the way of whatever it was we did on computers in 2002, use AOL Instant Messenger and Napster? Microsoft has moved on to bigger and better things – like Cortana. Windows Dancer, you’ll always hold a special place in my heart with other terrible software, right next to Bonzi Buddy.
Watch Amanda in action here: