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So much of what bloggers do often involves repurposing material found elsewhere on the internet. In the best case, this consists of quoting a few sentences from an article or sharing a photo or video as the starting point for an original post. I have done this many times myself as I am often inspired to write about things that I find in online publications and blogs.

According to this article by Brian Stelter in the Herald Tribune, copyright infringement lawsuits against bloggers is on the rise. The article raises some interesting considerations that raised some questions for me.

My main question is, where is the line? Is it okay to quote a sentence? Two sentences? Three? A whole paragraph? And when it comes to dance, we share so many videos– it is safe to assume that if it’s on YouTube, it’s okay to share? What about other video sharing sites? I would not use someone else’s work– text, video, audio or otherwise, without crediting my source. But do I have a responsibility to get permission to cite them? If I do not have advertising or any other sources of revenue related to my blog is the standard different than for someone whose blog is an income-generator?

I’m curious to know folks’ thoughts on this, and any knowledge you have about legal precedents in this area.

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What did you think of America’s Best Dance Crew last night?

Though I haven’t written much about it, I have been following the show on and off this season. I think there is some amazing dancing on this show, which really showcases the diversity of hip hop. I love that they had a clogging group and I love that they made it as far as they did. I also love that female groups did as well as they did this season, outnumbering the men 2:1 in the top three.

Ultimately, Fly Khicks, the female group from Miami, was eliminated, leaving the Beat Freaks and Quest Crew (which Mr P thinks sounds like a rather corporate name) heading into the finale. I think this is a good top two. Strikers All-Stars, the step crew from Florida would have also merited a place at the top. Ultimately, it came down to the two groups with the most physical prowess and the most unique flavor.

I just love what the Beat Freaks have done, showing that women can go head to head with men in some of the craziest, most difficult moves such as head spins and threading. They have upper body strength and control that even most men can only dream about.

Quest Crew has some familiar faces– Dominic (or D Tricks as he’s calling himself on this show) and Hok– from So You Think You Can Dance. That gave them a familiarity advantage in the beginning, but they truly belong at the top.

I have no idea who deserves to win. I think that Quest did slightly better last night in terms of leaving their mark than Beat Freaks, but I’m going to have to review videos from the season before I can figure out who deserves to win.

Nichelle at Dance Advantage asks the question: What has dance taught you about life? Go here to add your voice to the discussion.

One thing that’s frustrated me as I’ve tried to get caught up on several months’ worth of posts from the dance blogosphere (I have not actively followed my feed since, oh, April) is how hard it is to connect with a lot of what’s being written about companies/dancers whose work I’ve never seen. I think this is why I’m starting to reach out a little more locally. It is easier to read and relate to the familiar.

I feel that most reviews and company news is only relevant to those who have seen those works or companies. For example, much is being written about Christopher Wheeldon’s works. I have never seen anything by Wheeldon, so it means little to me. Even when I do get through a [usually particularly well-written, if I make it all the way through,] review, I have little to comment on, other than “interesting post, thanks for sharing!”

I just want to put this topic out there for discussion, that is, if anyone’s still reading my blog since I went MIA in commenting on everyone else’s:

Do you take pleasure in reading a review or news of something you have not seen or a company/choreographer you are not familiar with? If so, why or why not? Certainly the same could go for the work of any type of artist. Do you enjoy reading a review of an exhibition if you are unfamiliar with the artist?

Yesterday and today, a summit has been convened at Wolf Trap to discuss the integration of environmentally friendly practices into the arts. This seems like such a natural conversation to have that I’m surprised it hasn’t already occurred. Artists tend to be politically aware, and I’m sure that many have adopted greed practices at a personal level. Still, if you go to a performing arts venue it’s clear how much waste can occur– from the paper the programs are printed on to the vast amounts of energy required to power up a performance or education facility.

A webinar disussing the results of the summit is to occur at 4pm today. I’m told that the webinar, as well as the results of it after the event itself, can be accessed here (although I just went to the site and couldn’t locate a link for the webinar so I’ll take a look after the fact to see if they reported back anything).

This seems like a good opportunity to start a conversation about environmental issues in the dance blogosphere. With awareness of the negative impacts on the environment finally reaching a tipping point thanks to Al Gore and gas prices, green practices are finally starting to seep into the mainstream. What are your concerns as an artist, student, or patron of the arts? What can individuals and organizations to to lessen their impact on the environment? What are you or your organization doing?

The First Season of Step It Up and Dance concluded last night. I was very impressed by all four of the final contestants. Each one truly had their own unique style and I enjoyed everyone’s choreography.

Cody won, and I definitely wasn’t surprised. He has been the most consistent throughout the season technique-wise and in handling all the challenges. His solo was stunning. He moves like a cat– very fluid– and at times looked like he was flying.

At the same time, he was the most predictable winner. Miguel takes the most risks both artistically and generally (as evidenced in the flawless job he did on the sprained ankle). His style is unique and entertainment/tv-wise he has something really interesting to offer. I don’t doubt we’ll be seeing him on tv again soon.

I enjoyed Mochi and Nick’s solos a lot– nothing bad to say and lots of good things to say– but this wasn’t their night. Perhaps, even though they took a lot of personal risks, they were too safe in the end. Mochi got an awesome consolation prize of winning a spot in Akon’s next music video. Nick would be completely at home on Broadway.

I enjoyed this show moderately and I hope they do it again, with some of the issues ironed out. For example, winning and elimination groups have got to go– everyone, save possibly whoever is immune– needs to be up for elimination every time. Also, less pressure has got to be put on the contestants in terms of choreography. Bring in more guest choreographers– and hopefully not some of the usual suspects. Get some people from the art world that would benefit from the exposure and educate the public about good choreography. Finally, there need to be more opportunities for standard technique to shine in the first episodes.

What are your thoughts on the show– in terms of both the overall show and the winner?

The title of this post is an age-old philosophical question, but I think it’s good to ask ourselves this question from time to time. Particularly as dance becomes a more common element in mass media, it’s important to think about what we value in dance and in art. Some might argue with even the practice of putting labels on things, but this is a blog about dance, I am passionate about dance, and given that, there are obviously some boundaries in my mind as to what constitutes dance and what does not.

I also ask, is all dance art? And if all dance is art, then how do we classify movement that is not art? What is art?

The source of all this soul-searching was this video that Loren sent me:

Without question, this is an incredible video. According to YouTube, these are the 100 dancers and acrobats of the Great Chinese State Circus; I believe the title for the work would be “Swan Lake on LSD.”

The ballet in this is not bad at all. Very technically proficient, and beautiful lines. I can’t fathom the amount of center and control it takes to dance en pointe on that guys’s head and shoulders while he is walking around. The frogs were very frog-like and very entertaining. But I ask, if all the acrobatics and head pointe dancing were taken out, would this video have had over 3.3 million hits on youtube? More importantly, would it be seen as anything special by dance and art lovers, other than another nice execution of swan lake?

Are acrobatics dance? Are acrobatics art? The following video of the Pilobolus “Dance Company” (I’ve added the quotation marks, more on that later) made me ask those two questions when I first saw it on Ariel’s blog:

For me, this is definitely art– a fantastically creative and sculptural treatment of the human body. But I’m not so sure that it’s dance. To me it falls more into the categories of acrobatics and contortionism.  Yes Pilobolus calls itself a dance company. Is that because it holds that movement + art = dance? Yet take some of the mindless pap you see on shows like Dancing With the Stars…it’s definitely dance, but it sure ain’t art. At least not in my book. Even on the shows I enjoy, such as So You Think You Can Dance, acrobatics are often thrown in the mix in order to pander to attention-deficient viewers who need explosive movements and crazy physical feats to hold their attention. The line between dance and acrobatics is often blurred, as is the line between what I consider art and what I would not consider art, but nonetheless find fun and entertaining.

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