I am so impressed by the recent work I have seen of Zoe Jakes, Kami Liddle, Liz Strong, and Rose Harden.
Yeah, yeah… one or two posts before this I bemoan the over-use of youtube. But here, I am attempting to use youtube correctly — not as a way to waste three hours but as a chance to analyze talented dancers like I would analyze a beautiful painting, a great piece of literature, or any other art.
So here’s what I’m trying… every week or so I am going to post a video that I think is pretty rad that may not be as well known as say, a BDSS clip or a Tribal Fest clip. I am going to analyze it to hopefully glean insights and ideas that we can all take and try out in our own dance.
This week, check out the incredible Aubre (if you haven’t already) in her Fosse number to Beats Antique’s Break Me:
— First of all, this woman’s muscular control is jaw-dropping. What I like is that every movement, from her toes to her fingertips, has a muscular contraction behind it. For this piece, it works very well and brings a whole lot of energy. Since this music takes a minute or two to really hit its stride, the muscular control kept me interested even when the music was slow or when she wasn’t moving a whole lot or doing any super-complicated movements. It’s easy to forget that something as simple as a maya (or up-to-down figure 8 ) with a pretty framing arm can be just as powerful as a flurry of complicated movements. I know not everyone digs the super-muscular look, but there’s no denying it packs a whole lotta energy that can be read from an audience member in any seat in the theater.
— It’s belly dance first, fusion second. And fuse she does! I loved the mix of tribal-esque movements with cabaret patterns. I was happy that it was accurately labeled. Sometimes when you see a label like “Fosse,” all you get in the video is someone doing a normal tribal routine in a top hat. I think Aubre really did channel the Fosse element with her spins, fan kicks, leg placement, and general feel of the piece.
— The arms. Even though VERY few times the elbows/hands droop a bit, the arms throughout are active and flow organically from one position to the next. Often in dance (I see this in myself, too) the arms are either forgotten or jerk from one position to the next. One of my favorite things to do with youtube videos: try watching the video a second time, and just watch the arms.
— Variation. She listens to the music and allows for her movements to speed up and slow down with the music. I think it’s easy to get in a mode where you just stay in super-fast mode after you’ve gradually built up to it, but it’s nice to see that she builds it up and slows it down again where appropriate.
— The tricks. Obviously, this woman is capable of some pretty jaw-dropping tricks, and I have a feeling she only pulled out a fraction of her tricks in her tool bag. I feel that Aubre did an excellent job throwing in just the right amount of “spice,” so to speak. I, for one, feel this odd obligation (or maybe desperation) to squeeze a layback or Turkish Drop into every piece I dance. I worry that the audience is bored, so I feel this compulsion to throw in as many tricks as possible to get their attention. I’m trying to change this, and watching a master like Aubre helps me know how and when to use the tricks.
Click here to learn more about Aubre Hill.