Rebel Ballet: How Pop Music is reinventing the dance

I always thought of Ballet as something you see associated with affluent, preppy and pompous members of society over gymnastics. Although I find the complexity of the dance form incredible, it wasn’t something I can relate to as a creative person. What usually grab my attention are unconventional, iconoclast and breath-taking physical movements and people. From chopping boards in martial arts to scoring impressive far away shots in both soccer and basketball, I am automatically drawn to the technicalities and effort of what athletes can do. However, I was proven wrong about ballet recently, thanks to a few game changers, especially in pop music.

If you heard Sia’s hit song Chandelier, you are drawn to Sia’s incredible vocal performance and can relate to the melancholic theme of the “party girl”. However, the dance performance of twelve year old dancer, Maggie Ziegler made the music video what it is, while wearing the iconic blonde Sia wig.  Directed by both Sia and Daniel Askill and choreographed by Ryan Heffington, Ziegler’s flexibility and athleticism complemented with her uncanny facial expressions and movement.

Sia writes:

“I like the whole dance. It was really different and weird for me, because I usually don’t, you know, be a crazy person every time. It was so fun to do and it was really out of the box and it expanded me a lot, because I’m used to competition dances where you’re like, ‘Point your legs!’ But this time it was like, you just need to let go and feel it.”

For a talented young dancer vividly expresses the actual meaning behind the video, she continues to blow us away with Sia’s latest video “Elastic Heart”.

Going back to my adoration of unconventional, iconoclast and breath-taking movements and people, recently ballet has become in the spotlight, thanks to Ukrainian ballet prodigy, Sergei Polunin who was featured in David LaChappelle’s music video remake of the international hit, “Take Me to Church” by the band Hozier.  The soulful and bluesy song (not to mention powerfully known as the anti-gay oppression anthem) accompanied   Polunin’s raw and explosive ballet performance and was choreographed by Jaade Hale-Christofi.

Polunin destroys the conventionality of the typical ballet dancer as he graciously dances through a sun-light building with black tattoos noticeably inked across his body. As he spends more time in the air than the ground with his jaw-dropping spins and kicks, his skill and artistry during his video in combination of the video’s illuminated environment expresses freedom over incarceration and fear that society allows. All in all, I strongly believe that the body is one of the most creative aspects of art because of movement, especially dance. Just because ballet has been done a certain protocol for decades, creativity is constantly transforming, whether we are ready or not.

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