kottke.org posts about dance
Rosie Perez on Soul Train Sep 14 2015
At 19 (so, around 1983 or 1984) Rosie Perez moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles to help a cousin with her children and go to college for biochemistry. Then she was recruited to be a dancer on Soul Train.
In her line dance solos, you can see early versions of many of the moves that would be immortalized in the opening credits of Do the Right Thing.
You also see a lot of what Perez calls "face dancing." "Face dance means you don't know what the hell the rest of your body was doing but your face is fierce. That's face dancing."
According to this Esquire article, Don Cornelius was dead set on packaging Perez as part of a girl group of hip-hop/R&B dancer-singers. Perez was uncertain and wouldn't sign the contract. This led to a confrontation where Cornelius grabbed Perez, and in response, she threw a box of chicken at him.
That fight ended Perez's time on Soul Train, but she soon had jobs choreographing Bobby Brown, The Fly Girls on In Living Color, and more. Arguably nobody did more to bring hip-hop dance to mainstream attention than Rosie Perez.
Tree of Codes contemporary ballet performance Jun 03 2015
Director and choreographer Wayne McGregor, artist Olafur Eliasson, music producer Jamie XX (new album!), and dancers from the Paris Opera Ballet are collaborating on a contemporary ballet performance based on Jonathan Safran Foer's Tree of Codes.
Award-winning choreographer Wayne McGregor's groundbreaking practice embraces dance, science, film, music, and technology to generate intriguing, expansive works. For Tree of Codes, McGregor is collaborating with artist Olafur Eliasson and producer/composer Jamie xx to create a contemporary ballet. Eliasson's large-scale projects, including The New York City Waterfalls and The weather project at the Tate Modern, have captured the attention of audiences worldwide. Mercury Prize-winning Jamie xx blurs the boundaries between artist and audience in sonic environments like the one he created with his band, The xx, at the Armory in 2014.
Triggered by Jonathan Safran Foer's Tree of Codes (an artwork in the form of a book which was in turn inspired by Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz), this new, evening-length work features a company of soloists and dancers from the Paris Opera Ballet and Company Wayne McGregor.
Pixel, a dancing light show Jan 06 2015
Pixel is a dance show that premiered in November at Maison des Arts de Créteil in France. The dancers are synced cleverly with an elaborate light show that makes it seem as though the two are interacting in real time. The effect is very convincing:
Old school hip-hop dancing Nov 24 2014
Dancers from legendary Bay Area hip-hop dance crews in the 1970s and 80s reminisce about the old days and show that they still have the moves.
Wonderful. There's no school like the old school. (via waxy)
Ballet stories Nov 06 2014
city.ballet is a video series about the workings of the New York City Ballet. The twelve episodes of season two cover everything from apprentice dancers to injuries to the sacrifices the dancers make to pursue their onstage dreams.
Imagine a city unto itself -- a place where 16 year olds are professionals, 18 year olds are revered and many 30 year olds are retirees. Imagine a world so insular that nearly every one of these virtuosos has trained together in an academy since childhood, their lives forever intertwined by work, play, competition, friendship and love. Imagine a world in which the bottom line standard is to be, simply, the best on the planet, and where each night, an empty stage, in front of thousands, beckons with a challenge. This enclave has a name -- New York City Ballet -- and you are invited into this world, one that has never opened up to the outside before.
On pointe Oct 30 2014
Three dancers from The Australian Ballet share their prep routines for their pointe shoes.
Take-aways: Ballerinas' feet are really not attractive, they soup up their shoes in all sorts of unusual ways, but the end result is beautiful. (thx, fiona)
Dancebot 2014 Sep 12 2014
This guy Fik Shun? He knows how to dance.
The thing he starts doing with his chest around 2:10 is some Exorcist-level shit. (via digg)
Difficult ballet moves in slow motion May 29 2014
Professional dancers from the Washington Ballet show off their most difficult moves, filmed in slow motion.
The Heather Project May 04 2014
Heather Ogden is a principal dancer for the National Ballet of Canada and The Heather Project is a series of short videos shot by Christopher Wahl that shows how beautiful and demanding ballet can be. (via cup of jo)
Folk dancing sorts Apr 24 2014
Programming sorting techniques visualized through Eastern European folk dancing. For instance, here's the bubble sort with Hungarian dancing:
The origins of the moonwalk Apr 23 2014
We all know Michael Jackson invented the moonwalk on-stage during a performance of Billie Jean at the Motown 25th Anniversary show. What this video presupposes is, maybe he didn't?
What the video shows is that as early as the 1930s, performers such as Fred Astaire, Bill Bailey, Cab Calloway, and Sammy Davis Jr. were doing something like the moonwalk. Now, Jackson didn't get the move from any of these sources, not directly anyway. As Jackson's choreographer Jeffrey Daniel explains, he got the moves from The Electric Boogaloos street dance crew and, according to LaToya Jackson, instructed Michael Jackson.
The A-to-Z of dance Apr 07 2014
Super-cool video from i-D of dance styles for each letter of the alphabet.
Tractor square dancing Jan 31 2014
Nothing is more American than tractor square dancing.
The act is exactly what it sounds like. Four seated couples maneuver vintage tractors into daisy chains and do-si-dos in front of a live audience. It would be hard to squeeze more nostalgia into a performance that combines made-in-America machines with our "National Folk Dance."
Click through and check out the embedded video...that is some damn fine precision tractor driving.
Amazing new robot dances to dubstep Nov 01 2013
Looks similar to Atlas or Petman, but way more advanced...how did they pack all of the circuitry and power supplies into such a small yet realistic-looking housing? (via devour)
How to learn how to dance in a year Jul 10 2013
Karen Cheng learned to dance in a year. Here's a video of her progress, from just a few days in to her final number:
Here's my secret: I practiced everywhere. At bus stops. In line at the grocery store. At work -- Using the mouse with my right hand and practicing drills with my left hand. You don't have to train hardcore for years to become a dancer. But you must be willing to practice and you better be hungry.
This isn't a story about dancing, though. It's about having a dream and not knowing how to get there -- but starting anyway. Maybe you're a musician dreaming of writing an original song. You're an entrepreneur dying to start your first venture. You're an athlete but you just haven't left the chair yet.
The interesting thing is, Cheng basically did the same thing in her professional life as well.
I decided to become a designer, but I had no design skills. I thought about going back to school for design, but the time and money commitment was too big a risk for a career choice I wasn't totally sure of.
So I taught myself -- everyday I would do my day job in record time and rush home to learn design. Super talented people go to RISD for 4 years and learn design properly. I hacked together my piecemeal design education in 6 months -- there was no way I was ready to become a designer. But I was so ready to leave Microsoft. So I started the job search and got rejected a few times. Then I got the job at Exec.
The first few weeks were rough. Everyday I sat in front of my computer trying my damnedest and thinking it wasn't good enough. But everyday I got a little bit better.
(via hacker news)
Ken Crosgrove dancing + Daft Punk May 23 2013
[SORTA MAD MEN SPOILERS! but not really] I don't know if Ken Crosgrove dancing on the latest episode of Mad Men is the best thing that's ever been on the show, but it's definitely in the top 10. And it might be even better with a little Daft Punk.
And it might be best with the Crazy in Love cover from Gatsby...just load up that this YT video while watching the animated GIF and you're all set. (This is how Millennials watch TV, BTW...it's all animated GIFs with YouTube video soundtracks. Civilization is gonna be juuuuuuust fine.)
Crazy dancing Aug 16 2012
Excuse the dubstep if you must, but Marquese Scott is amazing. Previously.
(via the high definite)
Dubstep tap dancing May 04 2012
"TapTronic is a progressive fusion of Irish dance and electronic music." Dancing starts at 40 seconds.
(via The Daily What)
Tron dance party Mar 15 2012
A dance crew performs while wearing Tron-like outfits in total darkness. It's like a wearable laser light show.
Holy Jesus, look at what this ballerina can do! Jan 11 2012
I have rarely in my life seen something as physically impressive as this performance of Swan Lake:
It's not just what she does, it's how rock-still she is while doing it. Just, wow. (via ★interesting)
Girl Walk // All Day online for free Jan 10 2012
Thanks to Gothamist, you can watch the entirety of Jacob Krupnick's Girl Walk // All Day online. GWAD is a feature-length music video set to Girl Talk's All Day.
Long-toed cowboy boots Jan 10 2012
Last year, Vice travelled to Matehuala, Mexico in search of dance crews who wear extremely pointy cowboy boots called botas vaqueras exóticas.
In Matehuala, guarachero has become an unlikely style of music where a bunch of people who in theory should not get along come together and get along. It's also the music preferred by the men and boys in the long and pointed boots.
Participants in these dance contests spend the days and weeks prior choreographing intricate footwork routines and fabricating their own outfits with cheap paint and fabric. The grand prize, beyond the enthusiastic crowd's affection, is either a bottle of whiskey or a few bucks.
Shufflin' grandpa Dec 20 2011
One of my favorite things on the internet is footage of old styles of dancing set to contemporary music. Like this:
Girl Walk // All Day NYC premiere Nov 29 2011
Girl Walk // All Day is a feature-length dance music video set in NYC...the soundtrack is Girl Talk's All Day. Kickstarter is hosting a premiere for the film (+ dance party) on December 8 at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple...and it's free (you just need to RSVP). Here's the trailer:
Sword dancing Nov 03 2011
Dancing skills + sword fighting skills + old lady sitting motionless in a chair skills + huge boom box skills + dog almost gets beheaded skills + it gets magical around 52 seconds =
100 years of East London fashion Aug 30 2011
A couple dances their way through 100 years of fashion, from 1911 to 2011.
Les Twins Jul 18 2011
I've seen other more formal on-stage performances by these amazing French twin dancers, but I like this one the best...even fooling around, their precision is impressive.
Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Campbell? Aug 17 2010
Ladies and gentlemen, a friendly reminder: Pete Campbell's happy dance.
Makes you 9 foot tall when you're 4 foot 5 Aug 10 2010
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.)
Turf dancing in the rain Jul 28 2010
Turf dancing is similar to krumping and poppin' & lockin' in that they're all basically break dancing 2.0. This is a particularly fine exhibition of the form:
Every time I see someone glide around, from Michael Jackson's 1983 Motown Moonwalk on up to David Elsewhere, I think no one can get any better at skimming around on their feet like they're weightless. Then four kids dancing on a rainy street corner up the ante and once more shift what Stuart Kauffman calls the adjacent possible. (via snarkmarket)
Dancers among us Apr 29 2010
19th century movie in color Sep 28 2009
Each frame of this 19th century film by the Lumière brothers was hand-colored to create an early color moving picture. The color-shifting effect of the dress looks quite modern.
The dancing was inspired by Loie Fuller, a modern dance pioneer.
Dance, Pete Campbell, dance! Aug 20 2009
I could watch Pete Campbell dance all the day long. Pitch perfect acting by Vincent Kartheiser. (via this recording)
Paris is Burning Aug 04 2009
Smashing Telly found the entirety of a documentary called Paris is Burning on YouTube.
This is a documentary about vogueing, and the extremely refined and detailed aesthetic sensibilities it reflects, shot in New York City around Chelsea, the Meatpacking District, and Harlem in the mid- to late-80s. The city has changed in dramatic ways since then, to say the least. The characters of the film are complete outsiders with, at the same time, a deep understanding of the world they are outside of.
Check out a recent example of vogue dancing.
Eternal Moonwalk Jul 11 2009
This is pretty awesome: a bunch of videos strung together to make it seem like one long moonwalk. In tribute to Michael Jackson, of course. What's amazing is that for the 4-5 minutes I watched, there was not a single decent moonwalk...just people shuffling backwards. (via vsl)
Update: Matt Zoller Seitz analyzes Eternal Moonwalk and finds much to love about it.
Eternal Moonwalk is also an incidental tutorial in the basic properties of cinema. It returns motion pictures to their origin point, when the medium's core appeal was the chance to watch strangers performing, their bodies moving from Point A to Point B, their familiar or amusing actions serving as an emotional connection point, a reminder that we're members of the same species inhabiting the same small world.
Gene Kelly tap dancing on roller skates Apr 30 2009
The good stuff starts around 2:00. As David says, "putting Kelly on roller skates is like adding polish to wax".
Old school breakdancing Feb 12 2009
Soviet Army dance ensemble + Run DMC = the invention of breakdancing in the mid-1900s.
Here's the same thing mixed with Fatboy Slim's Weapon of Choice. Reminds me of the previously featured but still awesome video of Al Minns and Leon James doing the Charleston to Daft Punk. Here are two more videos that track the origins and breakdancing and hip-hop dancing in a slightly more formal manner: one, two.
John McCain vs Barack Obama dance-off Oct 28 2008
I don't know if this has been linked around everywhere or not, but this surprisingly realistic video of a dance-off between Barack Obama and John McCain tickled every last bone in my body. I watched it at least four times.
Intimidating cultural appropriation Oct 07 2008
The high school football team in Euless, TX (population 52,900) starts their games by performing the haka, a chanting dance used to intimidating effect by New Zealand's All Blacks rugby team. What's odd/interesting about this is that the Maori chant was appropriated by the team's contingent of Tongan players -- whose parents moved to the town to work at DFW airport -- and has led to a greater sense of acceptance of the Tongans into the larger community. How's that for multiculturalism?
Swing dancing in Washington Square Park Sep 03 2008
Shot this video of some swing dancing in Washington Square Park while out and about the other day.
You know, typical New York stroll in the park.
This video makes me irrationally happy...I Apr 09 2008
This video makes me irrationally happy...I watched it four times in a row just now.
It was the freshest move I've ever seen, like he was floating on air.
Update: Vimeo erased the video because it was not original content so I pointed to one on YouTube. They also erased all but one video on Kanye's account...I guess they were all videos by other people.
Legendary mime Marcel Marceau died Saturday at Sep 23 2007
Michael Jackson borrowed his famous "moonwalk" from a Marceau sketch, "Walking Against the Wind."
I tried to find video of that sketch but came up empty.
Update: Here's some video of Marceau teaching wind walking to a class...and miming with Michael Jackson. (thx, andy & mike)
Update: Here's a better video of Marceau doing his wind walk, from a Mel Brooks movie no less. (thx, manuel)
Denis Darzacq's photos of dancers, caught in mid-flight. (thx, david)
Video of some fellows doing The Charleston Feb 01 2007
Update: The two fellows are Al Minns and Leon James...here's the original video. In the final 30 seconds or so of the video, they almost look like they're poppin' and lockin'. (thx, paul)
Doin' the robot has never looked so Jan 17 2007
Patented Michael Jackson moves Jun 13 2006
You know that patented move that Michael Jackson does in the Smooth Criminal video where he leans and looks like he's going to tip over but then he doesn't? Turns out Jackson actually did patent that method back in 1993. The drawings are pretty funny.
BIRD FLU DANCE WATCH! A bird flu " Jun 07 2006
BIRD FLU DANCE WATCH! A bird flu "riddim" from January 2006 from a student in South Africa (originally from Botswana). Not sure how this ties into either version of the flu dance (a third strain?).
Bird flu dance Jun 05 2006
New crazy bird flu dance is all the rage in the Ivory Coast. "If we kill all our chickens and poultry, our cousins in the village will become poor. So I created the bird flu dance to put joy back into our hearts." Article comes with a complimentary Funky Chicken joke...but not with a "this dance is sick, yo" joke.
Sony Aibo dances to a Daft Punk song Jun 23 2005
Sony Aibo dances to a Daft Punk song.
Researching quantum honeybees Jun 14 2005
Researching quantum honeybees. Can bees detect quantum fields and use them to find food?