Getting Your Groove On…As a Couch Potato

July 6, 2011 § 3 Comments

It’s far too hot to do much dancing in the summer. Thankfully, we have air conditioned theaters and TVs to enjoy others working up a sweat for the sake of art.

1. I don’t watch a lot of reality TV (such drama!), but the quality and variety of choreography and performers in So You Think You Can Dance amazes me each time. There are too many favorite pieces I’d like to share, but the one below from last season particularly deserves a shout out. For one reason, it’s a piece choreographed for two guys, which is a bit rarer among so many guy/girl romantic routines.

Secondly, it’s unique in that this dance captures a specific social issue–the interaction of wealth and poverty and our fumbling efforts to fix it. It doesn’t preach any ‘do this or that’ moral in regard to poverty; it’s a snapshot of the way things are and I think leaves us questioning that as good art should do. I like the rigidity and formality of the businessman contrasted with the wild and out of control movements of the homeless dancer. And of course it’s set to Gary Jules’ cover of Mad World (yes, Donnie Darko was creepy, but this song is crazy good on its own.)

2. Krump. B-Boying. Dramatic storytelling. Superpowers. A world in danger. Enter The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers or LXD. With its third season scheduled to come out this fall, LXD webisodes celebrate street dancing culture in superhero form. The first season tells how several members of the Legion discover their superpower in dancing while the second season sets up the villains they will fight. It’s amazing to me not just the variety of dance styles featured in each webisode (tricking, roboting, contemporary, ballet, jazz, popping), but how the same style of dance can portray both beauty and darkness.

It sounds crazy and dramatic, and it is. But the dancing is phenomenonal. Since the webisodes are only available through hulu, I can’t feature a clip here, but I recommend checking out I Seen a Man (a great tap and spoken word mash up), The Greater of Two Evils (umbrellas on the dance floor!) and Duet (a lovely use of the split screen for storytelling).

As much as I enjoy the dance in context of the story, the live performance below shows just how fast these guys move and how in synch they are–the film doesn’t need to edit them to make them look good. They are good. I also like that this piece is set to Vitamin String Quartet’s cover of Coldplay’s Yellow. It shows that hip hop and break dancing are as beautifully fluid as cellos and violins.

3. The Axis Dance Company is a group of dancers and choreographers with and without disabilities, bridging contemporary dance with physically integrated dance. They’ve worked hard to show they aren’t just dance therapy, but truly innovative, professional, and unique because of how they use disabilities. They’ve come to invent their own lines of movement and body language. The moves they are able to do using wheelchairs as props and leverage, for example, impresses me as much as the B Boy moves in LXD.

There may be more dance gushing in the future. It’s hard to stop.

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§ 3 Responses to Getting Your Groove On…As a Couch Potato

  • e says:

    I Seen a Man is amazing. The solo tap dancer before the other guys come in is wow! I love the strings in the background. Tap + spoken word = <3

    The LXD one to Yellow is addicting. That's a beautiful cover to that song!

    I love how emotive the Axis Dance Company is.

  • Leah says:

    Couch potatoes=second best kind of potatoes!

    I saw the tap/word, can’t wait to watch the rest of these tonight. I still remember our first email exchange re: SYTYCD and the Hummingbird. Love.

  • Carolyn says:

    Wow! Thanks for sharing.

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