Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dance Classic

Kartikey Sehgal

  • Dance is not just shaking a leg or two.
  • If you can imagine, you can make dances for classical music.  

The Times of India featured a story by Tanuj Kumar:
Don't let anyone tell you that classical music is dull

The introductory paragraph says:

In the 1988 film Running on Empty, which features budding musician River Phoenix, a teacher plays two tracks of music to his teenage class. The first has a Madonna-esque, pacy rhythm which propels the students to shake a leg or two, but they soon take to their seats when the teacher follows the catchy song with an orchestral piece by Beethoven. He asks his class to differentiate the two. After a round of subjective answers like "first good, second bad" and vice versa, Phoenix raises his hand and says, "You can't dance to Beethoven." The teacher is more than pleased with his answer. Well, they were wrong!

That teacher needs stringent punishment. Get me the cane.

Dance is not merely shaking 'a leg or two'. It is movement, expression and choreography. Like in this dance for a film by Astad Deboo.

Noor-un-ala-Noor FR -Meenaxi


And so is everything in this video a dance; all movements, all spoken parts, including the girl flying.
Note the choreography to the instrumental section. They don't have 'beats' to which the actors move. 
There are instances when the girl is 'merely walking' and 'standing and singing'.  



You can dance to classical music if you can traverse the regular definition.
Wagner could when he spoke of Beethoven's Seventh symphony as an "apotheosis of the dance" [link
The music Wagner referred to - YouTube link. 

Many years back, I had choreographed a short dance that told of an Army man's separation from his beloved.
It was set to music by Chopin. It featured waltz and improvised movements. 

The actors deliberated on expressions of pain and anguish and fleeting love. Movements became restricted and representational. 

You don't have to have 'beats' in a song to which you can shake/move your body. 
You can imagine them, or just express to the mood and emotion.

Why, is ballet not a dance? It is.

In the video below, there are no obvious beats. The choreographer imagines them and sets the dance thus.

It is not something you can do in the kitchen while baking; shake a leg to the beat.
Note 1:18 onwards, the music is pacy and you can catch the beats, but see that the dance is not just thrusting a hip to the beat. 

You can't do this dance without thought and rhythm. And mood. And feeling. 

Good night.

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