I remember judge Len Goodman telling a winner in DWTS, once upon a time "I like to see flowers and I like to see the lawn. Your dancing was all flowers and no lawn." DWTS non-professionals have weak basic foundations simply because it takes years to develop. On that foundation, they put a rather fancy building with a heavy roof. I don't mean to be bashful, they simply don't have an option to spend a year or two on training or to dance basic steps on national TV.
"Exhibition dancers may believe that on the great canvas of time, they will
create their own masterpiece even if it lasts for only a moment."
I'm not trying to take away the fact that they really do work hard. The dancing looks so good on TV partly because half of the couple is a top notch professional, partly because the choreography is designed to work well for the partnership.So yes, a lot of that dancing is "flashy trash". Maybe 30% of the basic dance is still there. They dance advanced choreography that is normally danced in your 3rd - 6th year of competitive ballroom training.
"How Will I Know" by Whitney Houston (1985)
Some of it is never danced, as some of the moves are not allowed in ballroom as has pointed out many times. You are more likely to learn the same exact stuff if you take "theater arts" ballroom classes. But those are usually private classes, that is, instructor is working with only one person/couple, that would be you. That's very expensive and not very effective if you don't have any training. If you go to regular ballroom classes you will have a lot of fun even if you don't learn the DWTS moves.
"I try to contain my crazy but the lid keeps popping off."