Buddy

Where Should Dance Go ?

49 posts in this topic

Sandik, after watching Gil Isoart’s Baroque solo all day, I went to this. Start at 3:30.

Added later:
I've taken this video down because of some statement that came up after my posting stating that the owner has removed it. It looked okay in that respect when I posted it.

It can still be found on YouTube -- "Fred Astaire Cuts Loose At The Oscars" (starting at 3:30)

I'll see if I can find something else. Check back here later.

Added Added:

He was 70 years old when he did this! I would say that it's an excellent example of how artistry can grow with age.

Okay, this Fred Astaire overview is posted by Turner Classic Movies itself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVK3q69Yfm4

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I found a link to the Oscar performance that's marked "official," for whatever that's worth.

After watching that, I saw this -- the visuals are from Astaire's performance of Putting on the Ritz, but some clever person has added a mix of Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal. Astaire was a big fan of Jackson, especially after seeing this performance at the Motown 25th anniversary show, where he made such an impression with the moonwalk. (this clip is long -- the solo stuff starts around 9:00)

Both Astaire and Jackson play very skillfully with control and abandon -- it's about timing (suspension and quickness) and force (delicacy and strength). Astaire comes from a tap and theater dance background that's influenced by swing music and its use of the upbeat, while Jackson has a stronger connection to funk -- that's part of the difference in the way they attack a downbeat.

In some ways, I think the sustained moments in Gil Isoart's performance have more of a resemblance to Jackson's approach than to Astaire's.

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Okay, the dance challenge is on !

While waiting for Kathleen to hopefully point us in her Celestial direction, I’ll bring these guys back. It’s as good as I’ve seen them. Thanks for the Michael Jackson material, sandik. I’ve never seen this before and I’m really impressed. By the way the Billie Jean dancing starts at 9:15.

It's The JabbaWockeeZ !

JabbaWockeeZ

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JAPAN! My family lived there for three years when I was in my early teens. (During the Johnson administration - i.e, roughly a bazillion years ago ...) I still miss it.

First, something charming: Bon Odori. Bon Odori are folk dances performed during the summer Bon festival, when the spirits of the dead come back to visit their families. (Why they come back when it's steaming hot rather than in the far lovelier Japanese spring or fall is beyond me.) You welcome them home with happy Bon Odori -- Bon festival dances. Each region has its own flavor of Bon dance. (One of the famous ones is from a coal mining region. Follow along in the little video player in the upper left corner on this page.) Amateur dance troupes organized by workplaces, schools, or neighborhood associations perform the Bon Odori on a raised platform called a yagura, or, if the platform's only big enough for the drummers, around it. The onlookers join in and circle the platform performing the Bon dance at the same time. I don't know where this video was shot, but the scene is pretty typical. Some Bon Odori groups perform in the streets, like these folks.

The internet being what it is, there is of course a Bon Odori cat video. And Bon Odori Gangnam style ...

sandik: they do Bon Odori in Seattle, so you can go join in the fun ... The US Army Garrison in Japan (!) has posted a few training videos to help you get ready. Here's Tanko-bushi (the coal mining dance) and Sakura Ondo (the one the cat's doing).

PS: Pina Bausch's "Seasons" march always reminds me of Bon Odori!

PPS: In case you're wondering, the Bon Odori Gangnam style video was shot in Brazil ... Google "Bon matsuri" and you'll see that there are Bon festivals everywhere ...

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After watching that, I saw this -- the visuals are from Astaire's performance of Putting on the Ritz, but some clever person has added a mix of Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal. Astaire was a big fan of Jackson, especially after seeing this performance at the Motown 25th anniversary show, where he made such an impression with the moonwalk. (this clip is long -- the solo stuff starts around 9:00)

HA! I'll raise you with Japanese dance done to Dave Brubeck's Take Five.

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Buddy - Have you seen the documentary Planet B-Boy? If not, and if you're interested in some hip-hop dance lore, you should check it out. You can watch it on YouTube here. Different style from JabbaWokeeZ, but totally dedicated to their art.

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For something a little more celestial than Bon Odori, we can look to the renowned onnagata, Tamasaburo Bando. (Onnagata are Kabuki actors who specialize in female roles. When women were banned from the Kabuki stage in the 17th century, men eventually took on their roles.) Kabuki is very stylized, but it started as a popular form of dance-drama -- i.e., it's not a court style, like Bugaku.

Tamasaburo is in his mid-sixties, and has pretty much retired from the Kabuki stage. He is now the AD of Kodo. I was lucky enough to get to see him perform when the Grand Kabuki came to NY in the early 80's. He was bigger than a rock star.

These videos show him in one of his most famous roles, the Heron Maiden. Quick synopsis: a mysterious beauty shows up on the banks of a winter lake. She is really a heron. The narrator will fill you in on the rest. This particular dance is famous for the character's sudden transformations through on-stage costume changes and the skill required to portray the various stages of womanhood, and eventually, creature-hood. At some point, be sure to check out this interview of Tamasaburo in which he explains his art.

Part 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q1MPwD7zCI

Part 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kP4TdEMrNuo

Part 3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6O7KFCCEdU

PS: The end of Part 2 overlaps with the beginning of Part 3 -- you get to see the big costume change twice ...

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HA! I'll raise you with Japanese dance done to Dave Brubeck's Take Five.

Now you're talking! happy.png

It's way past my bedtime in Europe, so I'll try to catch up with everyone tomorrow.

Domo Arigato. -- "Take Five"

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Tamasaburo is in his mid-sixties, and has pretty much retired from the Kabuki stage. He is now the AD of Kodo. I was lucky enough to get to see him perform when the Grand Kabuki came to NY in the early 80's. He was bigger than a rock star.

One of the greatest things I've ever seen in the theater.

He did an interesting collaboration with YoYo Ma as part of the Bach cello suites series "Inspired by Bach."

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The internet being what it is, there is of course a Bon Odori cat video. And Bon Odori Gangnam style ...

PS: Pina Bausch's "Seasons" march always reminds me of Bon Odori!

Damn, I've been bon dancing for years, but I've never seen a cat. I obviously don't go to the right festival...

And yes, the Bausch does look very like!

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Buddy - Have you seen the documentary Planet B-Boy? If not, and if you're interested in some hip-hop dance lore, you should check it out. You can watch it on YouTube here. Different style from JabbaWokeeZ, but totally dedicated to their art.

I love that film!

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Please delete because of double posting.

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Buddy - Have you seen the documentary Planet B-Boy? If not, and if you're interested in some hip-hop dance lore, you should check it out. You can watch it on YouTube here. Different style from JabbaWokeeZ, but totally dedicated to their art.

I love that film!

I’ve watched the first half hour and am really enjoying it. I think that when I was their age I would have broken in half just thinking about what they can do. Whenever I’m walking around in a city it’s these guys and the street musicians that are almost guaranteed to make me feel good. Thanks also, sandik, for your stylistic comparisons, such as those between Gil Isoart, Fred Astaire and Michael Jackson. I still haven’t looked up “upbeat” and “downbeat” but I’m getting there.

“ HA! I'll raise you with Japanese dance done to Dave Brubeck's

. “ — Kathleen.

“ Where Should Dance Go ? “

Do You Believe In Magic

In A Young Girl’s Heart

How The Music Can Free Her

Whenever It Starts

(lyrics by John Sebastian)

I’m hopefully off to the countryside this afternoon to see a different kind of dance.

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Oh, I envy the chance for Northern Lights. I've only seen them once, a very weak showing, but it was one of the most astonishing things I've ever experienced.

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Oh, I envy the chance for Northern Lights. I've only seen them once, a very weak showing, but it was one of the most astonishing things I've ever experienced.

Then you’ve been a lot more fortunate than me, sandik. I only used this video as an example of nature’s beautiful ‘dance’. I tried for the Northern Lights once in Scotland. We do have a small waterfall here. Waterfalls have great personality and are great dancers. My favorites, though, are probably waves. When there is a ballet performance in Costa Mesa, I drive in and try to get to the beach before, at sunset. Front row seats for this amazing ‘dance’ are always available.

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Can’t resist this one. B-Boys, JabbaWokeeZ, Stand Back !

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One of the things that I like very much about Fred Astaire is that his feet seem to be ‘street virtuoso’ while his shoulders, arms, etc. are almost ‘high art,’ ballet, etc. George Balanchine apparently appreciated this, having worked in similar waters from a ballet orientation, and supposed considered Fred Astaire to be his favorite male dancer. It's this combination of 'natural' and 'ethereal' that I keep coming back to and like so much.

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“ Where Should Dance Go ? “ and Where is it already ? Possibilities ? Desirabilities ? Quite a few.


Let’s revisit some old friends for a moment.


Worlds Unite. "Somehow we have slipped through time" (Whitey) (Anna Pavlova and Whitey)




Dance is Fun ! (Dance with Matt)




Added: Matt 2008 video above -- 47,398,934 views !


(Added Added: Highly recommend clicking on 2012 also. May as well throw in 2006 and hold your breath at 3:07)

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No fair -- Where's Matt At always makes me cry.

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No fair -- Where's Matt At always makes me cry.

Could you please elaborate ?

Added: If you're talking about tears of happiness, me too !

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I'm always very touched by the enthusiasm he brings to this project, and thrilled by the wonderful response that he's had.

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My next entry in enchanting not-ballet.

Thai Khon dance — a court style dramatizing episodes from the Thai version of the Ramayana — is pretty darn enchanting. But Thai choreographer Pichet Klunchun’s stripped-down version of Khon can be as beguiling as the original, if not more so. (And let me stress the “can”; some of Klunchun’s stuff is pointedly unlovely and disruptive. He reminds me of William Forsythe in any number of ways.)

First, some samples of full-dress Khon.

This is a performance of a famous solo, “Chui Chai Phram.” The webpage where the video has been posted will give you a synopsis of the story. (Apparently this solo was originally performed by a male dancer; eventually it became the province of female dancers, but here it is once again performed by a man.)

Here’s a little primer on “Chui Chai” solos generally, taken from a journal article by Paritta Chalermpow Koanantakool (On line here: Life History of Chui Chai Phram: How a Siamese Dance is Remembered or Forgotten. In: Aséanie 12, 2003. pp. 105-122.)

Chui Chai Phram is one among many Chui Chai dances in Thai dramatic and dance repertoire. In general the word chui chai is an adverb following the word doen (to walk), meaning a style of strolling, or gait, that celebrates the grace and attractiveness of the walker — a narcissistic type of expression, so to speak.

...

Chui Chai dances in these stories elaborate episodes of transfiguration, the transformation of one person to assume the appearance of another. In these stories, certain characters who are embodiments of divine or magical power, or assisted by divine intervention, or given a body mask, transform themselves into other characters, usually more beautiful and more attractive than before. After the transformation, the character performs a Chui Chai dance to mark the successful disguise and celebrate the new, more adorned self.

The purpose of the transfiguration is often to deceive enemies, or to lure, attract, or persuade others to change their earlier intention.

Here’s some more on Chui Chai from Pichet Klunchun’s website.

Now, here’s some Klunchun:

A solo from Pichet Klunchun and Myself by Jerome Bel, presented at Dance Theater Workshop in 2007. Note that it’s performed in silence.

An all-too-short clip of Klunchun dancing a duet with a member of his company. She wears a Khon costume, he doesn’t. I saw them do this a few years ago as part of the Lincoln Center Festival. It was stunning.

Klunchun dancing a site-specific solo on Middelgrundsfortet, a sea-fortress that protects Copenhagen harbor. As you may have figured out by now, Klunchun makes an art of super slo-mo. Check out this clip of a company rehearsal: if we can trust Google Translate, this is something they do when it’s really, really hot.

An extract from a group work that looks to be a re-imagining of a battle scene from the Ramayana.

Finally, some of the unlovely stuff. I’m guessing you had to be there. Clearly the man has powerful feelings about contemporary Thai culture. Here's lovely and unlovely bundled together in Ganesh, which I gather is a three-part work spread out over three separate venues. K-Pop shows up at the end ...

PS: for some full-lenghth Khon, go to this YouTube playlist. Or this one. This one has videos of more Chui Chai solos.

PPS: Here are two versions of Chui Chai Benyakai (she's a demon maiden taking on the guise of Rama's wife Sita. Long story ...) One. Two.

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Kathleen, thank you very much for your latest post of dance from Thailand. I hope to enjoy this as thoroughly as possible.


My first real interest in ‘beautiful’ dance was kindled about thirty years ago when I saw an excellent travel documentary about Burma. I would think that there are a lot of similarities. One segment showed a woman dancing in ‘classical’ style, which was as beautiful as I’ve ever seen. I’ve not viewed anything quite like it since. Her hands were so lovely. Her fingers weren’t quite as flexed backward as I’ve noticed in other Far East dancers. I would guess that they were also beautifully expressive and meaningful, which I like so much, and they were so wonderfully sculptured.


Sometime, would you care to give ‘Western’ dance a try ?


Added:



I find this comment about Ruth St. Denis, from the Amazon book description that sandik previously referred to, as being rather intriguing. Aside from her being very religious, which is perhaps another matter, there is a lot of other interest here.


“Ruth St. Denis (1878^-1968), called Miss Ruth by her students and admirers, is credited with creating modern dance in America, and, without question, inspired generations of dancers, including Martha Graham. A woman far ahead of her time, she challenged Victorian mores with her worship of beauty and the eloquence of the body and by dancing freely in revealing costumes to celebrate the sensual as well as the spiritual. Miss Ruth also wrote essays and poetry expressing, as editor Miller explains, her "philosophy of sacred dance, her belief in the role of women in peace-making, her innate love of the earth, and her ever-present connection to the divine.””


Also sandik’s description of her is quite interesting. She is possibly someone to note in any discussion that we might have about ‘Western’ dance.



"St Denis was one of the foundational generation of American modern dance, but her work generally used dance material from other cultures (both actual and speculative) to create works that were often described as "exotic." Some of her choreography was more abstract (less narrative or figurative), especially the work she did in music visualization, but her most influential choreography was primarily narrative and character-based, creating a simulacrum of ethnic dances. In a way, her work created the same kind of fascination with "the other" in the US that Diaghilev's ensemble had in Europe.



Although she had some training in ballet, any actual resemblance was more coincidental than intentional.



(She and her husband Ted Shawn choreographed the dance sequences in Cecil deMille's Intolerance, and performed in the big temple scene)



Suzanne Shelton's biography "Divine Dancer" is a very readable work."



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This is perhaps another case for a form of ballet related dance that wouldn’t require the physicality that ballet and other dance requires, but instead would focus on artistry. This video was posted in 2010, a year before Delphine Moussin had to retire from the Paris Opera Ballet because of its mandatory retirement age of 42. Her beautiful and continuing artistic development could possibly keep her dancing wonderfully for another ten years if another dance form existed for her.



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