elliejane: storyteller girl (drug of choice)
[personal profile] elliejane
The link I have posted here is of a dance routine from So You Think You Can Dance in the States. I'm posting it more as a reminder for me, so I don't lose it! I found it surfing friends of friends, and clicked on it because they squeed about it.

It is two guys dancing contemporary style and although the title says "Best Friends" dance it reads more like the broken up end of a love affair.

It is just beautiful! Full of passion and sadness and just achingly, painfully beautiful. Couldn't embed it for some reason thusly we just have the link. Click if you want to be moved. Btw, they also had this vid up in the SYTYCD website at FOX but I couldn't make it play. Don't know if that's because I'm in the UK?

(Edited to update the link; previous vid not available now.)

Date: 2010-08-16 10:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] troyswann.livejournal.com
That was a very lovely number. Travis did some amazing work this season. He kinda wears his heart on his sleeve as a choreographer, building routines out of stuff that's going on in his life. Sometimes that can be a little uncomfortable in a competition show (like, how could you vote against a dance about his mom's illness, right?), but always, always beautiful. It makes me wish that there were more opportunities to see dance in a popular space that isn't about competition so that we could really engage with what he does.

I'm generally not a fan of contemporary (too much beseeeeeeeeeeeching), but Travis Wall is an exception (and his faaaaaaaaaaaace whenever they show him in the audience. I just want to take him home and give him soup and pat his hair). And the new format in the American show gave them the opportunity to stage m/m and f/f partnerships, which they didn't really do before. I'm all for it. It leads to creative things like the dance you've posted here.

Oh hai, I've clearly been wanting to talk about Travis Wall. Who knew? :)

Date: 2010-08-16 11:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elliejane.livejournal.com
I have had very little exposure to contemporary dance so this was, I think, only the second time I've really been aware of it and the style, and it was a bit of a revelation. I don't generally watch competition shows in the UK, and the only dance one I'm really aware of is our version of "Dancing with the Stars" (Strictly Come Dancing) and of course, the general talent show ones. I don't know if we even have a UK version of SYTYCD. "Strictly..." is all ballroom and latin, with a bit of swing and jive thrown in sometimes.

I think the first time I saw anything contemporary, was coincidentally, when you posted a Teddy Tedholm vid, and I adored that. For a while I had forgotten his name and on seeing this need routine wondered if he had actually been Travis, but no, obviously.

I saw the routine about his mother, and yes, all sorts of beauty there, as well. I'll have to try and find some more, to see if they become too similar if I see them en mass, or if I always find something new and satisfying about the style.

Because, especially with this routine, I found it hit me in places normally reserved for other things - art, words, some music. Something about the whole thing had a sense of rightness and balance, and I've already watched it several times.

And this is going to sound flippant, but it was like someone had thrown the emotional content of Aeryn Sun and John Crichton's relationship up there on the screen. I know it was two guys and it was supposed to be Friends, but it came across raw and painful, being supported and being crushed just like they used to be. I read somewhere that although they framed it as "Best Friends", it was possibly more about Travis's personal experience with a relationship. And, from what you've said about him, it sounds like it could easily be so.

(Heck, that dance could have been a visual interpretation of some *fics* I've read!)

I love the idea of m/m and f/f pairings in dance and I shall probably go looking for more. And I would definitely like to see a show (a stage show) where I could appreciate this dance form. Although, it is nice having the camera follow them around and catch close ups of moves!

And wow, yes, apparently I needed to talk about this, too!

(Oh, also?? Travis's little face reminds me of the chappy from Southland! And I am slowly catching up with Southland! I am enjoying it so far and will carry on watching. I don't know whether it will make me loooove it, though, as it is a leetle bit too "real lifey" for swooning on my part. What may be the deciding factor is the angst level. I can usually cope with angst if it is offset with distracting spaceships and the like. Generally, if I find I hurt too much on the characters behalf and I don't have aliens to take my mind off it, I do often end up a casual viewer only. But I shall persevere, and as I am watching it online I can do so at my own pace :)
Edited Date: 2010-08-16 11:51 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-08-17 12:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] troyswann.livejournal.com
*rolls up sleeves* First, there is in fact a SYTYCD UK. I was hanging with [livejournal.com profile] elishavah a while ago and she showed me some numbers and there's also SYTYCD Canada (\o/) and Australia.

Second, the thing about SYTYCD is that you get dancers from all genres and one of the things that they are judged on is their versatility, and their ability to master genres other than their own. So you get to see a real variety of styles, more so in the Canadian one than the American one (I've not seen enough UK or AUS to say). The Canadian one gives us House and Dancehall and Afro-Jazz, things that are being picked up now on the US show--Bollywood is a staple now, for instance. And if you get good guest judges, they will actually explain the underlying concepts of the different dances so that you can learn stuff as well as seeing a range of styles, getting introduced to choreographers (omg, SEAN CHEESMAN ILU!), and seeing dedicated, talented, passionate young people working their asses off. (I have such a soft-spot for dedicated, talented, passionate young people--comes from the teaching thing, I think--and watching them working so hard to do something that means so much to them makes me so happy). So, I'm not a reality show person at all but I love this particular one. I could do without the competition and I tend to just think of it in terms of a showcase.

to see if they become too similar if I see them en mass,

See, that's the problem I have with most contemporary stuff--too generic with the beseeeeeeeeeching. And that's why the new format on the US show was such a revelation because the choreographers had to break from the old "this is a story about a relationship between a man and woman and it's breaking up" etc yadda yadda sameoldstorycakes.

that dance could have been a visual interpretation of some *fics* I've read!

*nod nod* When a choreographer is handed two men to work with or two women (Mia Michaels' top 3 girls, SYTYCD Canada S2 is BRILLIANT) in a popular venue like this, they can actually do some of that stuff that we usually only get to see if we are lucky enough to have an ensemble performing nearby (no, I'm not bitter about living in a dance wasteland, at all). They can break from the old hetero model and explore other types of things, like Travis did in this number. And slash or not, it gets to the depth and rawness of love and loss that m-m relationships are capable of and that is definitely something we often only see in fic--so right on, Travis Wall.

I can totally see your John/Aeryn angle there. Yeah, it really opens up some interesting narratives. And both Kent (who was the teenybopper favourite and so. very. young. but MAAAAAAAAAAAAN, could he do beautiful things if given the right choreography--he'll be amaaaaaaazing as he matures if this experience doesn't make his head too big) and Neil did a wonderful job. I find that contemporary (at least as we see it on this show) tends to be mostly about the angst. And Travis, with his little wooby face, is not afraid to gut himself for his art. It's almost too much sometimes, like you're watching his heart break--look away! look away!

omg so wordy--need another comment window!

Date: 2010-08-18 11:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elliejane.livejournal.com
*rolls up sleeves*

Lol! Who knew contemporary dance, of all things, would produce such lengthy postings!

I did not know that there was a British version! I shall have to keep an eye out for it, and also see if the US and/or any other versions are broadcast over here - I know some shows like American Idol are.

And I did not know of the variety of dance styles involved, and the young people learning and growing, and the enthusiasm! I love to watch things where people do things well and with passion! And this was the first time I had realised what a big part choreographers play. I'm tempted to say the choreographers should get awards and votes, just as much as the dancers!

I must admit, that in my lack of knowledge, I had thought SYTYCD would be random sort-of famous folks whom I don't know, dancing together or *trying* to dance and failing. I realise, now, that I had cross-bred it with Strictly, and decided I wouldn't like it.

Although, for the record, I do like *parts* of the Strictly format, but those parts are the bits where the dances are actually being danced and danced reasonably well (the ones who are clunky remind me too much of my own days trying to do Ballroom and Latin). In addition, I get all wriggly and uncomfortable watching the interviews and training bits.

I could do without the competition and I tend to just think of it in terms of a showcase.

Yes, that's what I tend to do with the rare reality shows that I watch. They do a series of shows over here where singers audition to star in an Andrew Lloyd Webber West End musical. I tend to tune in when things have been weeded out a bit, and then turn the sound down on the chit chat - I am such a wimp - chit chat can make me cringe! In cases like that you basically know you are going to get some cracking good singers and performances. The judges are looking for the BEST, and people who get discarded on the way for being simply VERY GOOD have still put on excellent turns.

Thank you so much for the links that you provided! They were excellent! Yes, the morgue one WAS macabre, lol, but still executed (ahem) fantastically! Just wow and seriously, how do you even judge dances like these when the choreography is so amazing and unexpected! And the mad girlfriend one was so full of emotion. Some of these routines I can watch over and over again. I have to say that from your links I skipped and clicked and watched at a load more examples. Seriously, this is worse than LOLCats!

I do begin to see what you mean about the beseeeching, however. There has been a good bit of that. I don't know why contemporary seems to lend itself to that, so much - maybe it is simply because it is so expressive, and a good bit of heartwrenching is always entertaining! I haven't reached my fill yet, generally though, so we shall see. I am trying to discover if we have any contemporary dance stage shows over here, that I can get to/afford. Although, at the moment, I seem to be very fulfilled by watching YouTube and pressing REPLAY every 3 minutes.

And Travis, with his little wooby face, is not afraid to gut himself for his art.

Damn, it's enough to make you want to write fic!

Date: 2010-08-17 12:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] troyswann.livejournal.com
Travis's little face reminds me of the chappy from Southland! And I am slowly catching up with Southland!

Yes! I was thinking that just the other day! He does totally remind me of Ben Sherman (Ben McKenzie) on SL who also is all about the faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace and whom I also want to give soup and pet his hair. I'm glad to hear you're giving SL a try. It gets so good in S2 (see me in email if you, you know). There are three eps in a row that just rock in such a subtle and meaningful way--Cooper and Sherman ftw. I think that there's enough humanity between them to balance the angst. The angst is very lightly played and balanced by these really nice, subtle moments of trust and compassion. But I get what you mean about the way that the realness of it can sort of mess with the ability to go for it in terms of investment. I'm glad you're giving it a go.

There's only 13 eps, so it's not like FS where, if you want to do a run through the series you're in for a solid month of wallowing and roller-coastering--as I was the summer I watched the entire FS shebang from soup to nuts in practically one sitting. I ended up some evenings lying on the floor, exhausted, with tears leaking into my ears shouting "I hate you, show, for making me love you!" :)

Date: 2010-08-18 11:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elliejane.livejournal.com
I am definitely continuing with Southland. And, that being so, I'm glad it's not going to be four seasons of stomping on my heart repeatedly. I can't believe you mainlined FS in basically a month. Did you need therapy afterwards, because damn. I have trouble rewatching episodes and there are still one or two I haven't watched all the way through properly because of the annnngggst. I had to watch the Season 4 finale sitting on the floor clutching a table leg so that I didn't switch off and spare myself the potential agony.

And you'd think that after all these years I'd get some perspective, but no, John Crichton's wet eyes still try and break me.
Edited Date: 2010-08-18 11:18 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-08-17 12:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] troyswann.livejournal.com
Hi, okay, going now, but just wanted to leave you with these, one a bit heart-wrenching and one rather macabre and quirky, from SYTYCD Canada

Tara-Jean and Vincent contemporary ETA choreo by Stacey Tookey (now also a staple at the US show and a real rising star):


A kooky jazz-theatre number by my fave SEAN CHEESMAN (also a Canadian who is a staple at the US show) with Kim and Everett (my leetle tapdancing tv boyfriend). He does some afro jazz numbers that make my heart full of joy.


He does some afro jazz numbers that make my heart full of joy. Like this one with Robert and Courtney from the latest US series.


Okay, I hope the links work. Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Edited Date: 2010-08-17 01:08 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-08-18 11:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elliejane.livejournal.com
Yay, links! Have already thanked you for these above, but still, yay!!!

The way the dancers just fling themselves through the air in such a gravity defying way. It is breath taking, to see people using their whole bodies to express emotion in this way, and not just some facial expressions and hand gestures. I swear, I sort of want to draw and paint them but I don't think I could ever catch the essense of the movements.
Edited Date: 2010-08-18 11:25 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-08-17 08:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theplaidsheep.livejournal.com
Ellie love, thank you for posting that. I honestly haven't really watched contemporary dance, but this was amazing, the movement and the emotion was incredible.

But thank you Troyswann for posting the video of Tara-Jean and Vincent. My gods I've never seen a woman dance so completely into her role, I was almost weeping along with the judges, the subject matter aside, the strength of her performance was incredible and Vincent seamlessly enhanced it. Beautiful.

Date: 2010-08-18 11:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elliejane.livejournal.com
Heya, Bec! Me, too. I don't think I had even really watched contemporary dance, and it was just astonishing to me. I keep hearing the song in my head and keep re-watching it.

And Tara-Jean and Vincent, so just.....there begin to be no words.


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