Quantum Leap

Season 3 Episode 14

Private Dancer

Aired Friday 12:00 AM Mar 20, 1991 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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out of 10
54 votes
  • Sam leaps into a popular Chippendale dancer working at a disco nightclub. He must help a deaf waitress, living in her van, become a successful dancer or else, out of desperation, she will become a prostitute and eventually die of AIDS.


    Another great episode that successfully combines well written social commentary with the required objective that Sam has to fix in order to leap.

    Set in the late 1970s, complete with decadent, disco fever, Sam leaps into a handsome male dancer whose gig involves making cool moves on the dance floor for female customers at a trendy nightclub, run by a sleazy man.

    One of his co-workers at the nightclub is a desperate, but talented, waitress who is deaf. She could easily become a professional dancer, but struggles to be given a fair chance because of her disability.

    In the original history, this talented young woman was never discovered and was forced to take the one job that she can get in the Big Apple: prostitution. She is arrested several times before dying of AIDS in the early 1980s.

    Luckily, Sam is able to set right, what once went wrong and the struggling dancer has a successful, legitimate career with a major jazz production company.

    The main social commentary focuses on disability discrimination, but their is also secondary issue raised in the episode about poverty and the role that it plays in pushing desperate people into prostitution.

    This is also the first episode in the series to even mention the AIDS-HIV pandemic.

    While it is probably historically realistic that prostitutes were some of the early victims of the pandemic, it would have been nice if the series had at some point, dealt with the pandemic more extensively.

    Here it is mentioned once and then never again. Heck, they do not even establish what progress, if any, was made against the pandemic in the Quantum Leap universe.

    When Sam leaps into Dr. Ruth he does mention the pandemic again, but its a brief line that is quickly forgotten about.

    OK, maybe it is a small complaint, but I would have liked the series to have dealt with the global pandemic beyond a few bits of dialogue.