"According to most people who show interest in cultures and especially in the culture of Gouro ethnic group, Zaouli, a popular mask dance, was created in the fifties. The Gouro ethnic group is the midwestern part of Ivory Coast / Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa. According to what people say, there are diverse legends regarding the origin of the Zaouli mask and dance; yet, all come to the agreement that such legends were inspired by a very beautiful girl - 'Dzela Lou Zaouli' - daughter of Zaouli." -- Gouro Culture
I'm proud of my wife and daughter who are both beginning ballet students. They'll enjoy this documentary about the making of ballet shoes! (via Digg)
Tomorrow night, San Francisco's pioneering contemporary dance company ODC will premiere a new work inspired by famed sculptor/environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy with live music by experimental cellist and loop musician Zoë Keating, likely familiar to Boing Boing readers from previous BB posts, or her appearances on Radiolab and Who Killed Amanda Palmer. For this piece, titled "boulders and bones," ODC artistic directors Branda Way and KT Nelson took choreographic inspiration from the ever-transforming landscapes of art and nature. The visual context of the dance comes from a time-lapse film by RJ Muna shot during the seven-month installation of a Goldsworthy sculpture at private location north of San Francisco.
Performances of "boulders and bones," along with several other works, will be held through March 30. Tickets are available here. Boing Boing is delighted to share the special video below from a "boulders and bones" rehearsal, along with another stunning photograph of dancer Natasha Adorlee Johnson by RJ Muna.
Souris writes, "Scriptura Vitae is the directorial debut of New York-based artist, designer and filmmaker Aerosyn-lex Mestrovic. Having collaborated with the likes of Kanye West and KENZO, Mestrovic's latest venture is an ambitious three-part journey into the unknown that showcases Lex's haunting ritualistic calligraphy, alongside stunningly choreographed Japanese Butoh performances set to a score which features original music by the Grammy Nominated DIPLO. The film stars famed Japanese actress Miho Nikaido, best known for her role in the cult-classic and previously banned film Tokyo Decadence which was written and directed by lauded novelist Ryu Murakami. The effects in the film are visually striking, combining modern compositing with in-camera painting to devise something wholly unique."
If you're the type of person who really needs some good visuals to make a concept stick in your head, this series of YouTube videos made by the British Psychological Society Media Centre will help you remember the meanings behind statistical concepts like "correlation", "frequency distributions", and "sampling error". There are four videos in the series so far, and they do a great job of painting pictures around abstract ideas. Bonus: Soothing music.
Bill Nye turns out to be a pretty amazing dancer -- in this Dancing With the Stars clip, he starts off with a surprisingly coordinated ballroom performance, which is honed to a just terrific performance.
Portland's Chromatics put on a dazzling show at last weekend's Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco. Chromatics' Johnny Jewel is also co-founder of Italians Do It Better, a record label that serves as a hub for his various projects, including Chromatics and Glass Candy, and other artists playing in the interzone of Euro-disco, no-wave, and experimental electronica. Italians Do It Better's After Dark compilation from 2007 is a critically-acclaimed intro to the label and genre. On the heels of Jewel's success with Chromatics, including their music being featured on the Drive soundtrack and a commission by fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld for the Chanel runway, he's remastered and reissued After Dark. Sadly, I missed out on the triple clear vinyl version, but Jewel has posted the full album on Soundcloud for free download! And if that's not enough for you, there's now a fantastic sequel, After Dark 2, available for purchase from the label in various physical formats and also as a free download from Soundcloud! Listen to 'em both below. The boogie's gonna get ya. Italians Do It Better (Thanks, Patrick Kelly!)
Dance In a Year documents Karen's year-long dance training (see the accompanying and inspiring timelapse video). Basically, she danced all the time, wherever she was, until she got really, really good at it. She also applied the same technique to learning design, and landed a good job as a designer as well. She has lots of motivational and inspiring tips for getting good at something; step one is to be totally obsessed, which is great advice, but hard to pull off on demand.
Record videos of yourself dancing. I know, it's awkward, especially when you're just starting out. I can't stress this enough, though.
You'll see things in the videos you didn't catch in the mirror. You'll think you danced well, and then you'll watch it back and be mortified. Embrace those moments — that's when the learning happens. Where do you look stiff? What could you be moving more? Carefully watch videos of the pros. What are they doing differently?
BB contributor Mark Dery points us to a lovely New York Time video and article about "Subway Ballet." Mark says:
Like breakdancing, parkour, urban climbing, and Philippe Petit's tightrope walk between the World Trade Towers, this is my idea of the inspired wedding of art, sport, and what Hakim Bey called "temporary autonomous zones"---brief-lived pockets of anarcho-carnivalesque resistance to…call it what you will: the daily grind, the status quo, the "unitary urbanism" imposed on city life by capitalism.Subway Ballet
"The media made it out to be a sex-infested, drug-infested underground rave club that was run by a pedophile and raver kids who didn't give a damn," (DJ John Wayne) says now. His voice rises a little. "That's bullshit. Yes, there were drugs. Yes, Tommy is a pedophile. But there was a deeper purpose, a deeper meaning, a deeper connection. This wasn't just something we did on weekends. This was our life."
Reminds me a bit of the Nine O'Clock Service, a cyberdelic early-1990s rave church in the UK that fell from grace after the minister was investigated and ultimately confessed to abusing young women in the group.
"The Bizarre Life and Troubling Death of DarkSide, the Dallas Rave Church That Never Was" (Thanks, Vann Hall!)
Girl Walk is a 77-minute dance film that accompanies Girl Talk's astounding album All Day, produced through an extremely successful Kickstarter project that raised $24,817 out of the $4,800 the producers were seeking. I just watched the first half (it's in a series of segments on Vimeo) and was blown away.
What's the story? A young dancer finds herself disgruntled with her low-paying, mundane waitressing job. One day, she impulsively quits, then takes a ferry to the city. Feeling incredibly inspired by what she sees, Anne dances her way across New York, using the city as her stage. Throughout her journey, she meets characters of all types, including a series of like-minded dancers, who'll inspire new movements, engage her in small battles, and teach her to fear, love, laugh and live anew. From the ferry to museums, subways, ball games, bridges, bodegas, graveyards, flower shops, and more, Anne's journey will bring her far and wide. See the trailer, in full, at http://girlwalkallday.com
Here's Japan's Wrecking Crew Orchestra performing some pretty wonderful dance moves made all the better by their electroluminescent wire garments, which cause them to seemingly wink in and out of existence on the dark stage
WRECKING CREW ORCHESTRA 20120208EL (Thanks, Fipi Lele!)
Video Link. YouTuber Adam Forgie of Utah, the person behind the camera, shoots these lovely videos with some regularity. "I take care of my legally-blind, near-deaf grandmother," he explains. "She may be blind, but she can still dance! She likes the attention." You can follow her on Twitter here.
Update: Boing Boing readers in various spots around the world report that the video is blocked in certain countries outside the US. This is dumb. Sorry.
Jason Kottke rounds up a series of YouTube clips of "old styles of dancing set to contemporary music" including this Shufflin' Grandpa doing fast-footed country dancing with a
dubstep contemporary electronic soundtrack.
[Video Link] Genki Sudo and World Order, "MACHINE CIVILIZATION." An amazing piece of choreography, link sent to us by David Byrne, via Brian Eno. The Coilhouse folks blogged more details about this work when it first came out in April; it is a response to the March 11 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster. You can buy the album here.
At the Atlantic, science historian Suzanne Fischer has a really interesting post up about the development of pointe shoes. In the early 20th century, at a time when all sorts of technologies were remaking the way people lived, worked, and played, pointe shoes were doing the same thing for ballerinas.
In particular, Fischer writes, pointe shoes were almost the dance equivalent of Henry Ford's assembly line—they standardized bodies and turned dancers into a sleek, modern commodity.
... the new shoes forced dancers' bodies to move in new ways. Dancers on this pointe regimen developed characteristically long, lean leg muscles. Balanchine also encouraged dancers to let the shoes remake their bodies, including developing bunions that gave the foot just the right line. And as their bodies were remade, dancers became "like IBM machines," modern and indistinguishable. This had consequences for labor, too. For one, stars became a less central feature of dance companies as dancers became more interchangeable, and second, dancers came to spend hours working on their shoes -- altering, gluing, and caring for them. In fact, in 1980 dancers threatened to strike -- not over hours or pay, but for better pointe shoes, and better management of them.
Via Alexis Madrigal
This clip from the 2007 American Lindy Hop Championships features a pair of talented hoofers cutting a rug to a cool jazz rendition of the Spider Man theme, and the fella is wearing a Spider Man getup. It's aces. (via The Mary Sue)
You might be familiar with "Jan Pehechan-Ho," Mohammed Rafi's Bollywood anthem, from the opening credits of Ghost World, but have you seen the fabulous accompanying dance number from the original film Gumnaam?