Looking at videos listed under “dance contests” on YouTube, I expected to find a lot of teenagers showing off their moves in local contests. And I did--with lots of different types of dancing and different communities of audiences. In these settings, I imagined that technical virtuosity would take a back seat to style, panache, and plain old chutzpah. But, every once in a while, one of the contestants somewhere would make my jaw drop not just with their overall performance, but with their extraordinary technique. This got me to thinking about finding virtuosity in unexpected places and the sense of amazement that that can produce. Coincidentally, last week a friend in New York forwarded this video to me. It was a clip of Snowball the Cockatiel, dancing to the Back Street Boys singing his favorite song. No one taught him to dance, says the bird rescue website that he represents—he just did it spontaneously himself. Stunningly, Snowball produces many of the hallmarks we associate with a lot of popular dancing in the U.S. today—rhythmic movement, patterned repetitions, accented beats, movement through space, and, in the hip hop mode, stepping, stomping, and complex alternating footwork. It’s all there, accompanied by a screeching shout out right in time with the beat. My jaw dropped and my heart beat a little faster. Was Snowball really “dancing?” And what might it mean if he was? Unexpected virtuosity is all the more stunning because we are unprepared for it, and don’t require it, whereas expected virtuosity (in the professional dance realm, for example) merely confirms what we have come to expect--it pleases but does not amaze. I didn’t expect to find virtuosic dancing (human and otherwise) that would amaze me on YouTube, but I did.