Our parents figured that their generation saw the end of “real” dancing. You know, they tell you that they danced artistically and romantically and that we have pioneered a tasteless substitute for sex. I’m embarrassed to say that I was starting to believe the hype, but this was before I paid attention to our generation of choreographers. Never has there been such a style that is so sensitive to both music and lyrics as that of our young people of color. Artists such as Ian Eastwood, Kenzo Alvares and Pat Cruz represent a new heritage of dance that brings the body, as an object of creative contortion, to the incomplete music of Hip Hop and R&B.
There I said it: their dance pieces make the song better than its original form. A lot of people forget that Hip Hop imported the idea that music cannot be experienced without the attention of all the senses. Surely, one could argue that a song has implicit associations with the other senses aside from listening. Yet they would not be able to claim that the implicit experience is the same as watching the automaton motions of Ian Eastwood.
Instead of the presence of a movie, his choreography informs us of the social world at the level of body. For instance, the rhythm of “Love Crimes” by Frank Ocean compels the singer’s verbal grammar—to use soft language with interrupted breathing. The rhythm also, however, as any rhythm would, inspirits the movement of the body that in the day-to-day comes across as abstract. For sure, the snare of Love Crimes distributes meaning in the form of Ian and Nick Demoura’s sexy knee-snap and lock (19s-22s) and we the audience respond positively to it.
These prominent corporeal interpreters of music ground distinct artistic endeavors by virtue of movement alone. Challenging their ability to communicate with the unprecedented manipulations of their own bodies, they represent the artistic progress and wonder of the humyn body. In other words, dance in Hip Hop transcends mere self-expression, it immerses the collective body into its rightfully thorough experience of the world.
Oh yeah p.s., Happy Thanksgiving! I’m especially thankful for all the people that have been reading me every week, liking my post on facebook and retweeting.