Ballet changed one Jewel at a time

Neoclassical ballet now known as contemporary ballet will help spark interest into the dance world for non dancers. Neoclassical ballet is a ballet style that uses traditional ballet vocabulary but it shies away from the story line and plots of classical ballet and it focuses on the structure and lines.  It usually uses extreme tempos and has more complex movement; the spacing is usually more modern or complex than in classical ballet.

George Balanchine used flexed hands and feet, turned-in legs, off-centered positions and non-classical costumes such as leotards and tunics instead of tutus. That helped to distance himself from the classical and romantic ballet traditions. What is left is the dance itself, sophisticated but sleekly modern, retaining the pointe shoe aesthetic, but eschewing the well-upholstered drama and mime of the full length story ballet.

google images- (Balanchine ballet)

George Balanchine first neo classical ballet choreographed was Apollo in 1928. He choreographed other neo classical ballets such as Agon 1957 and Jewels in 1967. Jewels is an award-winning ballet in three parts created for New York City Ballet by George Balanchine. Jewels was called the first full-length abstract ballet. It can also be seen as three separate ballets, linked by their jewel-colored costumes. The dance has nothing to do with jewels; the dancers are just dressed like jewels. Rubies, to me is the most neo classical section in the ballet. It has high kicks, turned in legs, flexed feet, undulations and pelvic movement

Erik Jacobs from The New York Times

Here is the link to a video performance of Rubies http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FixT33wXqk8

Non traditional or classical ballet will keep an audience attention who is use to watching So You Think You Can Dance, which has very entertaining dance pieces with lots of tricks. Story ballets are slow and less exciting there may be a moment or two but not very many. They are pretty and are great for young children. It is important to keep the arts alive and that starts with the younger generation.

Privateer Day and Pyrate Invasion Fells Point

Dance falls in two different categories, art and entertainment. Occasionally sometimes it is combined. When dance falls as an art it tends to be brought upon a deep or abstract inspiration. When dance falls as entertainment it comes from everything ranging from a dance about butterflies to creation of the world. It’s all about the performance.

Fantasy is huge in pop culture right now thanks to Harry Potter, Twilight and yes of course Disney.  Disney’s Peter Pan is a timeless classic it captured family’s hearts globally. It had everything; song, dance, pirates and sword fights. Peter Pan went on Broadway and took the story to a whole new level with new dances, tricks, songs and special effects.

Baltimore celebrated the 8th annual Privateer Day and Pyrate Invasion in Fells Point this past Saturday. There were live sword fights with the Valhalla’s Pirates, music from the Salty Dog and plenty of children’s activities. The live performances were very entertaining and the sword fight kept my attention the whole time.

Looking at the sword fight you realize it’s a dance with simple steps.  The sword fight looks like it was based on traditional modern with under curves, turns, leaps and pelvic shifts. If you got rid of the pirate costume and swords you would have a battle motif that would cross genres in to ballet, jazz and hip hop.

Today people who are not familiar with dance like to watch entertaining performances like sword fighting pirates, Dancing With The Stars and So You Think You Can Dance.  There is nothing wrong with dance as a form of entertainment. I think its great. I wish there was a way for all dancers to combine technique and performance together.

Michael Jackson, More than Dance.

Great performers are hard to come by , but dancers who inspire other people to dance are rare. That is one of the major problems in the current dance world. Michael Jackson, a great performer and dancer help shaped our dance culture. Today he is still inspiring people to dance. Michael Jackson used ballroom styled moves in his dancing along with a fusion of break dancing moves. He combined both styles to give him the swag we know him to have today. The move Michael Jackson is most famous for is known as the Moon Walk.

[Google Images ]

Michael Peters was Michael Jackson’s choreographer and he had a specific style of movement. He choreographed to the sounds of the instruments he didn’t use established dance steps or rhythms. Together the pair would create and popularize other dance moves seen in today’s culture. Beat It 1983 introduced a new dance the Worm, also choreographed by Michael Peters. It is not the traditional worm we say today that break-dancers do, which is an undulating movement on the ground on your stomach creating wave-like movement, but a standing undulating movement that travels backward. Which you can see at 3:57 in the video below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRdxUFDoQe0&ob=av2e

In his music video Beat It you can also see jazz dance influences, like fan kicks, Ballroom styled movement, which you see him effortlessly glide along the floor and break dancing movement where he balances on the tips of his toes. That pose became one of the many symbols that represent Michael Jackson and dance.

Michael Peters most famous choreographed piece for Michael Jackson was the dance in Thriller. Each movement Michael and the zombies dance to is on the sound of the instrument the very basic steps forward with the head tilting is on the sound of the drum which is emphasized. Thriller incorporated so many different styles of movement that it created the perfect blend. It has hip rolls, glides, fan kicks, spins, toe stands and the famous crotch grab all combined into sharp clear movement.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOnqjkJTMaA&ob=av2n

Michael Jackson was a large force in the popularization of break-dancing and dance. He has influenced many generations and his legacy lives on today though his music videos, movies and even his dancing game the Michael Jackson Experience. Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009.  He has left the torch to everyone waiting on someone to pick it up and influence the dance world. Who is up to the challenge?

One Bump and Grind Too Far

Social dancing through the generations has changed and not for the better! Today when you walk into a nightclub, school dance or party all you see is bumping and grinding. Bumping and grinding has changed since 1990’s. Dance has always represented cultural and societal issues like oppression, women’s rights and sexuality.

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( Google Images – Freak Dance)

Throughout the decades generations have been more open and comfortable with their sexuality and the dances have been increasing sexually. We went from the Charleston in the 1920’s, to Swing in the 1950’s moving into Disco in the 1970’s to back to front dancing in the 1990’s. Since then dancing back to front has shifted about 180 degrees. The only difference between sex and what is occurring on the dance floor is that they have clothes on, barely.

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(Google Images- Grinding Dance) 

It is not okay, it is not cute and it is disrespectful. What is responsible for this? First society and media then lastly the latter part of hip hop movement. Society has been making women sexual objects in history for a long time. Media used women and promoted them as sexual objects to sell products and that influenced society’s views.

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(Google Images -1950’s Ads)

Rappers today use women as sexual objects and belittle them by calling them vulgar names like bitch and hoe. To top it off their music videos are full of women in thongs and tiny bras shaking their butt in all different type of position. What message does that send to the youth? It lowers girl’s self-esteem and sense of worth. It causes young women to think that they need to dress and dance like that to get attention. It tells young men that it is okay to treat women that way and that shapes their expectation.

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(Google Images – Nikki Minaj)

 

 

 

 

 

In order to change these views we must take a stand. Stand up for yourself and demand respect. It is not respectful and no good names can be attached to a person when dancing like that. Make the change; make society change their views, change dance for the better. 

Dance and the Media

Dance is the new black and everyone is watching it. TV shows like Dance Moms and So You Think You Can Dance are changing society’s view on dance. Dance began as a social movement full of expression and technique but today it’s a competition with lots of tricks and lack of emotion on television. In dance as a child you take technique classes in Ballet, because it’s said that it is the foundation for all forms.

Dance Moms shows the competition side of dance at an early age. It follows six young dancers who battle it out every week in new competitions across the country competing in solos and group pieces for the Abby Lee Miller Dance Company. The girls are learning a multitude of styles and tricks for each genre of dance. You can hear Abby screaming about technique and creating technically sound dancers but where is the passion? How can one find the passion behind the tricks and the flashy costumes.

Image(Google Images- Dance Moms)

Dance Moms is preparing the girls to go on to So You Think You Can Dance. I love the show, however it’s becoming more about the tricks you can do and less about the technique and quality of the movement. I think it’s great that the show makes everyone dance in multiple styles that they usually wouldn’t get, but if it’s a competition let’s make it one, lets take out the dance form “contemporary.” Most of the dancers getting picked to go into the top 20 are jazz or contemporary dancers. Lets challenge them take out contemporary and add African or better yet, take it back to the foundation lets add a Ballet pas de deux.   

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(Google Images – So You Think You Can Dance Lauren)

The issue is dance is more than tricks and flashy costumes. It is a creative and artistic outlet for expression, that serves a deeper meaning. Classical dance forms like Ballet and Modern are being overlooked. Dance on television is just entertainment, it’s the glamourous side. Dance is not glamourous there are many struggles, one has to be determined and passionate to do it. Media should show both sides.  

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(Google Images- Misty Copeland Pas De Deux)