Thursday, November 6, 2008

The coalition between dance and television has escalated to new heights over the years. Dance has always been a form of art and entertainment that is expressed through abstraction, literal statements, significance, or just to amuse an audience. What determines the definition of a choreographer’s purpose and what determines whether dance is to be considered commercial versus artistic.

Currently, a person could turn on their television and find shows such as So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Top Dance Crew, and Dancing with the Stars, shows that revolve around dancing to purely entertain. Upbeat and funky dancing would no doubt sell to an outsider of the dance world, than watching Alonzo King Lines Ballet showing their repertoire. It could be because of the involvement that reality shows give their audience, which maybe people would prefer to watch something they got to be a part of. Or it could be that shows like SYTYCD one all about doing dance routines that allows non-dancers to relate and connect to the movement.  Whatever the strategic marketing tactic may be, through latest statistics, dancing on television [examples: music videos, TV shows and commercials] pays a lot more and opens more possibilities for dancing job opportunities.

Video Link:

I was fortunate enough to be able to go onto youtube and find a video of Alonzo King’s repertoire which Drew Jacoby is dancing in. The video initially showcases her amazing body and beautiful dancing ability. In the video, viewers will notice that there are no words in the music. She never once dances towards the audience and breaks character of the piece. Her costume is unique in range of color and shape unlike a TV show costume, which may be used to establish a literal meaning of what the movement could not say.

Video Link:

In the So You Think You Can Dance video, in comparison with Alonzo’s work, it would be equal to some extent, to put Mia Michael’s contemporary choreography that she set on two dancers. The movement in many ways is very alike but at the same time very different. The movement in the video is thrown out of control and very expressive. The music, image portrayed, and costume also help establish the tone the choreographer was intending to set. Firstly look at the music and clothing. Both have a dark and ire feeling which sets the tone of the piece. Lighting is naturally going to play into setting the tone as well but in both dances it is used purely to benefit.

The two worlds do have their differences but it could be that maybe the major difference between commercial dancing and artistic is that one is very in your face and the other is very subtle but having a message that is tried to be said also. If a choreographer choreographers an extreme piece then it would be more than likely considered commercial and meant for entertainment than provoke a thought process, unlike dance companies who perform on stage and use lights, costumes and varied movements to tell a story or just in an artistic way to tell a story. Point blank, they have their differences but to be commercial or not is at the choreographers a decision.  

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