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An alert iReporter caught this tractor square dance in Maria Stein, Ohio on tape. Not only is the sight of multiple John Deeres do-si-doing around each other all kinds of awesome, but also note how each one and its driver are decked out like superheroes. My vote goes to Wonder Woman.


It was a sticky, humid day at the 2009 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, but this did not stop Puerto Rican bomba y plena musicians Viento de Agua from giving a dynamic performance that had the audience on its feet dancing.

Here is a video I made of Viento de Agua performing a plena. I did not catch the name of the song, so if anyone knows what it is, please comment. Plena is a traditional Puerto Rican style of music that we were told has its roots in the sound of a train. You can certainly here this underlying “chugging” sound in the music. Plena is one of the many caribbean styles that lends its rhythms and styles to salsa and merengue. It is characterized by the use of percussion instruments and vocal harmonies to form the rhythm and tune.

The second half of the 2009 Smithsonian Folklife Festival runs July 1-9 on the National Mall. The three featured themes this year are:

  • Giving Voice: The Power of Words in African American Culture
  • Wales/Cymru

and my personal favorite…

  • Las Americas: Un Mundo Musical / Music in Latino Culture

In honor of wordpress enabling the embedding of TED videos, here are some amazing moves from Kenichi Ebina, a guy who has no skeleton.

It’s nice to know we have had so many dance movies in the past few years that it is time for a parody:

Preview for Dance Flick

In honor of the lovely spring day we are getting, here is some lovely ballet to brighten you ballet– an appearance by Suzanne Farrell on Sesame Street.

In which Miss Farrell takes little steps and big steps:

In which the Count counts Miss Farrell’s turns:

It’s a snowy, dreary day.  And to boot, you’ve got a case of the Mondays. Where is spring? Where did all this white stuff come from? Here’s a little something to get your week off to a happier start: a salsa dance-off between Tropical Gem and Utribe.

Here, to brighten your Monday morning, is the amazing Santo Rico salsa company.

Thanks to Salsa Gigolo for bringing this to my attention.

As lime mine aria points out, this time lapse video of a baby playing is like a dance. It is also a mighty adorable baby.

We dancers know that dancing is a good way to forget your troubles for a time; but what about dancing making you forget to catch your cross-country bus home? According to the AP, 83-year-old Mussa Muhammad was so elated after attending the inauguration of Barack Obama in Washington, D.C., that after becoming separated from his group, he “‘just danced and danced with a couple of young women he met along the way.” His fellow travelers waited for him for five hours before heading back to South Bend, Indiana. Luckily, the resourceful Muhammad found his way back on a Greyhound bus, ” still wearing the black-and-white suit with red dots that he wore to the inauguration.”

Speaking of forgetting stuff… The other day, the song Just Dance by Lady Gaga came on the radio and for the first time I really listened to the lyrics. The bouncy tune and cheerful refrain belie the disturbing lyrics about a girl who is so wasted that she has no idea who she’s with, where she is, or where her personal belongings and clothes went. Then the different guys who sing at the bridges want to take advantage of her disorientation by having their way with her. This song is definitely good evidence against binge drinking in clubs. Then again, I’d never seen the video, either…

Eric Luna and Georgia Ambarian were two of the bright spots in the TV debacle called Superstars of Dance. Hailing from Fort Walton Beach, Florida, they represented the US in the couples category.

I would love to take some partnering tips from these two; they make everything look so unique and effortless. Of course, if probably helps that she’s teeny tiny and he has enormous muscles, but I have a feeling that’s not really their secret. They manage to make all those lifts and tricks into something more than just pandering to the audience. There is something real and fluid behind it. They are calling this style cabaret; I’m not quite sure how cabaret is defined, but it certainly has a Cirque de Soleil feel to it, with more of a focus on shapes than on patterns and rhythm. According to their webpage, they are the three-time world champions in this style.

Here they are on Dancing With the Stars, with James Blunt:

I like this one less as it is more competition-y, but you can still appreciate what they do:

I haven’t posted any salsa videos in a while. This was a performance I saw Saturday at the Resolution Jam in the Salsa Room (Cecilia’s Nightclub, Arlington, VA). The dancers are Darlin Garcia and Vera Rowe. I enjoyed watching them a great deal; their energy and musicality were amazing.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Darlin Gacia and Vera Rowe“, posted with vodpod

What is a dance rockra, you ask? It is one part dance, one part opera, and all parts are totally rocked out. Here I am, in the swamps of Northern Virginia, wishing once again that I lived in Manhattan, our nation’s cultural capital. Luckily I have a consolation prize this year: I will be attending the inauguration without having to sublet out someone’s crappy studio apartment for two grand a night and could even bike down to the national mall if I wanted. Haha.

But I digress…

Later this week, Parsons Dance Company and the East Village Opera Company will debut their untitled collaboration, an evening-length work that strings together several of the EVOC’s re-imagined operatic works into a story line that will be danced out by the Parsons dancers. According to the press release, “untitled is a thoroughly modern re-telling of a classic story of a tragic love triangle. With contemporary dance, aerial dance, live and recorded music, video projections, complex digital lighting and visual effects, untitled is the most ambitious production created by Parsons Dance in its 22 year history.”

I discovered the East Village Opera Company about two years ago courtesy of Pandora. Their winning combination of opera greatest hits and Queen-esque power rock ballads (rockra, if you will) had me at hello. Be sure to check out the song that first captivated me, Au fond du temple saint, the well-loved Pearl Fishers duet, re-arranged into a power rock duet between a man and a woman. Here they are with their version of the Queen King of the Night aria from The Magic Flute.

And here is Parsons Dance, performing Nascimento Novo:

The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue (at 19th Street), NYC
January 6-18, 2009
Tue, Wed and Sun at 7:30pm; Thu, Fri and Sat at 8pm; and Sat and Sun at 2pm. Family matinee performance on Saturday, January 10 at 2pm. Tickets: $59, $35, $19 (Joyce Members $44, $26). JoyceCharge: 212-242-0800

Program A: Thu 1/8, Fri 1/9 and Sat 1/10 at 8pm; Sun 1/11 at 2pm and 7:30pm; Wed 1/14 at 7:30pm; Thu 1/15, Fri 1/16 and Sat 1/17 at 8pm; Sun 1/18 at 7:30pm. World Premiere of untitled featuring the music of EVOC: Overture, La Danza, Maria, Mari!, Habanera, Che Gelida Manina, Flower Duet, La Donna E Mobile, Ave Maria, O Mio Babbino Caro, Una Furtiva Lagrima, Un Del Di, Ebben? Ne Andro Lontana, When I Am Laid in Earth, Butterfly Duet

Program B: Tue 1/6 and Wed 1/7 at 7:30pm; Tue 1/13 at 7:30pm; Sat 1/17 and Sun 1/18 at 2pm. Family Matinee: Sat 1/10 at 2pm. Swing Shift, Ebben (an excerpt from Program A), My Sweet Lord, Fill the Woods with Light, Caught, and Shining Star

Eartha Kitt died on Christmas Day of colon cancer; she was 81. Known for her catlike voice, you may not know that she was a member of the Katherine Dunham Dance Company in the 1940s. She worked in theater until just last year.

Here she is in her catwomanly, humorous element:

It is time for our annual Christmas dance video, since I guess having one for two years in a row makes it annual. The end, in which we find out that it is actually a viral product ad, kind of spoiled it for me. That said, it’s a pretty neat exploration of movement by guys in Santa suits. Enjoy, and happy holidays to you and yours!

Archived videos from the Misnomer Dance Theater live broadcast of Being Together are up, and I am happy to report that Zipper, the piece that was obscured by a large youtube box for the entirety of its broadcast, is there in its unspoiled form. It will be up for the forseeable future.

As I said of the live broadcast, this is an excellent and rare opportunity to see high quality videography of an evening-length show by one of today’s leading modern dance companies.


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