Monday, March 3, 2008

Let's Face the Music and Prance

Yet again, the Baroness is a little conflicted, dear readers. She so-o-o-o wants to confess something. At the same time I'm worried that once I pick away at the thread that begins to reveal my little secrets, I will be standing before you with nothing left to offer but some stretch marks and a uber-sexy 10 inch scar (scars are sexy, right?) . I have grave concerns that my carefully crafted mystique will erode exponentially. Ah, what the hell. It's Monday, it's raining, and I think it's time to shine some light on another of the Baroness' little quirks.

Here goes. I love, love, LOVE dance movies. And when I say dance movies, here I am in no way, shape, or form particular about the quality. I do draw the line at movies depicting dancing of the mattress/horizontal variety. Don't get me wrong - these cinematic gems have their place. They're just not my bag, man. Barring these, anything else is fair game. "Shall We Dance?". "Take the Lead". "Stomp the Yard". Yesterday, for example, the good Countesses KR and Felicitas and I went to go see "Step Up 2 - The Streets". KR is my guilty pleasure companion - we try to see a movie every couple of weeks that no one else would dare to - with the theater to ourselves, it's almost like having our own private screening. Oh, the irony.

So what is it, exactly, that has me tapping my toes and chair crumpin'? It's the music, the vitality, and the incredible physicality of it all. We admire things we cannot do but wish we could. I love watching them pop and hip hop, and do things with their bodies that seem utterly impossible to you and I. Well, maybe not you - you, too, may be keeping secrets from me. But definitely I.

Part of the reason for the movin' groovin' lovefest is that it's accessible. Anyone who lays out their money can watch. Rumour has it that in some of the more metropolitan cities, you can even watch for free - there's a show somewhere on the street any time of the day or night. It is an expression of joy and freedom, of confidence and spirit - by the people, for the people.

Contrast this with the hoity-toity ballet I had the "priveledge" of attending a few weeks ago. For some reason, whenever I think ballet, I always have in my head that it will classical, of the Swan Lake variety. I completely zone out that there is such a thing as the dreaded "Modern" ballet. Ack. Now, I consider myself to be a fairly intelligent woman. A well-read woman. A thinking woman. All that seems to mean absolutely nothing when one attends a modern ballet. I admit I am not conversant in this language. What I want to know is this - is modern dance intended to make the average audience member feel like a complete moron, with the cultural sophistication of a cave-dweller beating a rock with a pterodactyl bone? Is this the great litmus test of the elite, the dividing wall between the patrons and the artless?

Nowhere in the evening's programme did we receive any clue as to the intent of the choreographer. Sure, I learned about the titles of his other works, and other non-informational items (Mentors. Hopes. Dreams. Favorite Baryshnikov codpiece). What I really wanted was one of those headphones, where some soft, soothing British accent would guide me through the dance. Why were different women wearing different colored costumes? Why was that one particular dancer segregated from the rest? Did this depict violence in 15th century Latvia? Was that gesture a metaphor for man's inhumanity to man? Would it have killed them to put in a single line about what the piece was actually about? Apparently so. And there I sat, feeling utterly stupid, investing 2 hours of my life that I won't get back. I wondered at the end of the evening, if the audience was polled, how many would actually know what they just saw? Or is it a case of the Emperor's New Tutu? No one knows, but no one is willing to give up a thing.

Unlike me. I give up. Gladly. Give me "Step Up 3 - Electric Boogaloo" anytime. That, and some pro-biotic yogurt are all the culture I need.


11 comments:

Lisa said...

Amen sista. Intepretative dance is beyond my comprehension, unless someone is singing along. And I don't know of too many combo interpretive dance and singing recitals ... not that I'm looking for them. I was so happy to see the reference to Electric Boogaloo ... "Breakin' 2" is one of my faves. Boogie on, sista!! ...Barbra Peapod

Patty Cakes said...

I love a good old song and dance such as 7 brides for 7 brothers, Oklahoma (I had to sing it in my head so I wouldn't spell it wrong)South pacific...you get my rift. I can't imagine singing (unless alonge in my car as not even my dog can appreciate my singing) let alone trying to but dance moves with it.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

Patty Cakes said it for me. LOVE LOVE LOVE me the song and dance numbers from the old musicals.

Though I have to say that I had LittleBird watch a few clips of Baryshnikov doing these PHENOMENAL leaps and spins at an exhibition-type show rather than a ballet and she was transfixed. I was too. The man defied the laws of physics. Unbelievable. And to hear my 3-year old tell me "More Baryshnikov, Mamma!!" just killed me! LOL

As for modern/interpretive dance. Screw that shit. I "interpretive" dance in my shower and living room. I would never subject anyone to it publicly.

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Countess Lisa: The "Electric Boogaloo" reference is a nod to my hilarious sons - every time we see a trailer for a sequel movie (i.e. "Saw 4", "Land Before Time", they always add "Electric Boogaloo". Much raucous laughing ensues, as well as clutching and a little pant-wetting.

Countess of Chit Chat: I love musicals! Especially the Indo-Canadian ones where they break into song for no apparent reason. Again, I feel a little stupid, but I'm distracted by the pretty colors of their shiny saris...

Countess NATUI: Yes, I agree that Baryshnikov is a wonder. Even now - saw him on "Iconoclasts" recently, and want him to be my friend. I think I want your daughter to be my friend too - as a pre-school patroness of the arts, she sounds pretty cool to me! Just keep her away from any dance genre with the word "modern" in it. Please.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

Indeed, Baroness. I will keep Countess LittleBird away from Modern Dance at all cost.

I wonder if you have acquainted yourself with the masterpiece The Guru. If you have not, you must send your manservant to the nearest video establishment and watch it posthaste. I eagerly await your review.

The Guv'ner said...

My first dance movie was FAME (if that counts) when I was a kid. I used to dance around my bedroom like a little, skinny but solid, rhythmless hippo. I don't think dance is in my genes at all. However, I still like to do it when no one 's around and kid myself I'm graceful and fly. I don't do leg warmers, however... Those are just wrong in any era.

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Countess NATUI: I remember seeing trailers for this; I think I might have shied away because it had Heather Graham in it, and I was having a bad self-esteem year. Solely on your recommendation, I will send Jeeves out to the Buster of Blocks when I get back from Georgia, y'all!

BTW, after reading your rave review, I bit the bullet and sent my link to Ask and Ye Shall Receive. I expect to get thoroughly lambasted on the template, but hopefully will be able to redeem myself somewhat with the content. We will see...

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Guv: Yet they're making a comeback.
So, are you a fashion visionary or a mere rebel? Enquiring minds want to know.

The Guv'ner said...

No I just have this little thing called "TASTE". At least enough to recognize a toxic nasty like legwarmers. :)

Not Afraid To Use It said...

Dude! You are in GA? How the hell did I miss THAT? Are you in the ATL, if you are--methinks a hookup is in order.

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

I'll be in Savannah, which on my map looks to be only about an inch and a half away. Alas, I think when you apply all the quantum physics mumbo-jumbo known to me as "scale", it's a little further away. Am I right here, or what? I thought you were in NoVa already.

 
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