Right now something DaNCEBUMS is thinking about is creating a visual album. We are asking: how we can take our dance-band concept, expand it, and scale it up? Yes – Beyoncé did it first but that just means that DaNCEBUMS is going to do it next.
Here are 5 videos we are looking towards for information, inspiration, and imagination.
Karen: Justin Bieber, Sorry
You don’t have to be a Belieber to love this video. The music video is entirely composed of the cutest crew that’s ever been in a music video, dancing against an all white background. Their clothes are amazing. They’re all wearing giant sunglasses so all their expression comes from their bright red mouths — licking their teeth, grimacing, laughing. But most importantly, the choreography is bummy, pizza, and hardness. I highly recommend mining this vid if you’re looking for some moves to steal for your next dance party.
Maggie: Blood Orange, I Know
I'll preface this by saying I love Devonte Hynes and his music, and I think he's a great dancer who makes great music videos. However, this Blood Orange video for "I Know" came up short against my high expectations.
I'll start with what works for me: I like the studio/black box setting and the playful relationship between the dancers because it reminds me of my favorite scenes in "Dirty Dancing" and "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" where the Really Good Trained Dancer teaches the Not As Good But Really Charming Dancer how to dance! And sometimes they mess up or fall on the floor and laugh and eventually they fall in love! The moments where Devonte Hynes and ballerina Maria Kochetkova are dancing side-by-side in unison are charming and simple, and I wanted more of that.
Here's what didn't work for me: the moments when the dancers engage in a pas de deux are boring, because I think classical ballet is boring and predictable. The man's only job is to hold the woman's hands and stare at her. There's a slow-motion rond de jambe en l'air moment (she lifts her leg up really high) and the camera does a 360 pan and it feels cheesy. Given these performers combined talents, I wanted to see them do something really weird, or maybe just dance a side-by-side duet in unison for the whole song. Honestly, maybe what I really want is to watch "Dirty Dancing" though.
Kara: Missy Elliott, I'm Better
I must "follow" or "like" Missy Elliot on Facebook because she posted a video of her dancers rehearsing on exercise balls. She said they didn't know she was filming them. This was the moment I was drawn in. Had to search new music video immediately. It's been years. It's true! These dancers already know how to groove and now they're extra bouncy! Effect after surprise after bing bam boom and "I'm better". Damn I'm feeling just as cool as these performers. The first splash gets me every time. All I gotta say is if your music video doesn't have dancing, it better have a cat.
Eben: Chet Faker, Gold
Three dancers roller skate down a ghostly pre-dawn highway. The groove is slow and hypnotic. With dance in music videos, something I often miss is the sense of performance. That it's a one-off live event taking place in an actual, physical space. Even though the track is only 4:20, the dance has a sustained and logical build and an end that makes a statement. The long tracking shots, sustained focus on the choreography, and simple (but not simplistic) cinematic concept of video highlights the dancing, not furious editing or visual effects.
Stylistically, I really love the dark shots with the fluorescent sign-posts receding into the distance. The choreography actually reminds me of DaNCEBUMS. Individuality within unison. Tight accents. Bummy, sexy style. There are some low-key amazing technical achievement too, like when the dancers pass through windows-and-doors in arabesque. However, I'm not crazy about the basic skinny, sexy casting. That's less about this video specifically, and more about mainstream media practice around who is seen as sensual, who can perform sensuality. Fortunately, the sustained low-level of menace and hint of violence and tragedy at the end of the video contrasts and complicates what came before; so I don't feel like the video is entirely an erotic sales pitch to buy the record.
Margaret: The Avalanches, Since I Left You
This is a video I stumbled upon recently when I was google image searching bands that I read articles about on the internet. I'm not super familiar with The Avalanches, but I LOVE a good dream sequence (or is it real life?). It's cheesy, specific, committed and just plain weird. Favorite moments: every time there is an emphatic head snap to the camera and the not one, not two, but three replays of the gymnastic trick - in case we didn't see it the first time. Enjoy!