The sound, style, and look of Janelle Monae’s video for “Tightrope” references a lot of classic pop/art culture: OutKast and Metropolis, certainly, James Brown and Michael Jackson, but also classic R&B performers like Jackie Wilson and avant-garde film like Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon.
It also reminded me, faintly but insistently, of this classic video of Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers, from the movie Stormy Weather. (What is it with economic depression => dancing in tuxedos?)
I still think this is the easily most amazing display of deliberate human physicality in dance I’ve ever seen. Maybe anywhere. (Hit Twitter at @kottke or @tcarmody if you think you’ve got a better candidate.)