Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Loyalty needs to die.

Why is loyalty considered a positive quality? It's one of the most dangerous, insidious and poisonous attributes a person can have.

Loyalty to Christ was responsible for the Crusades. Loyalty to nation led to the Holocaust. Loyalty to family and tribe continues to tear Africa apart by fueling corruption and nepotism.

It was loyalty to God that enabled a dozen lunatics to fly into the World Trade Centre, and it was loyalty to the U.S. that enabled millions of lunatics to blindly support the U.S's blunt and destructive response. Loyalty to China keeps Tibet oppressed, and loyalty to Australia keeps asylum seekers imprisoned.

Loyalty to ideology is the block that so frequently prevents people coming together in compromise. Loyalty to humankind is responsible for all manner of atrocities in animal testing labs and factory farms.

Loyalty to community = redneck. Loyalty to class = snob. Loyalty to self = arsehole.

No matter how you look at it, loyalty fosters a cycle of separation and segregation. The more loyal you are to your own, the less favourably you treat me in relation to your own, the more I resent you, the more threatened you feel by me, the more loyal you are to your own....

As the most advanced species on the planet in a time of rapid globalisation and growing inter-connectedness, I think it's time we rethink the real worth of loyalty, and abandon it on the scrapheap of history with all the other unhelpful paleolithic relics that so plague us.

Monday, 26 November 2012

SYTYCD, Vegas week: Glitch and Chechon

Watched another episode of SYTYCD Season 9, and it was Vegas week - the final week before the show proper begins. There usually aren't many highlights in Vegas week, because it's an incredibly arduous week where dancers spend most of their time struggling through routines that are out of their genre and comfort zone, with barely any preparation time. Still, a couple of solos stood out to me.

Firstly, we got to see the immaculate genius that is Glitch again (I featured him a couple of weeks ago). He fluffed the Ballroom round, so the judges made him dance for his life. And thank God, because watching him do what he's good at is breathtaking:

(routine starts at 0:40)

The other routine that stood out to me the most, was pretty much the polar opposite, and came from Chechon Wespi-Tschopp, a Swiss ballet dancer:

(routine starts at 2:25)

Monday, 19 November 2012

SYTYCD: Sweet, badass little krumpet

I watched another SYTYCD audition show, though there were fewer standouts this week - partly because for some reason most of the routines were shown with ill-matching, generic-sounding music instead of their intended music, which made them feel a bit off.

One memorable routine, however, (and one that seemed to have its music intact) was from Krumper Mariah Spears.

To be excellent at Krump, it seems almost mandatory to have a West African Heritage. This is possibly related to the ultra-fast, ultra-powerful movements demanded by the style, and if I understand correctly, people of West African Heritage tend to having an abundance of short muscle fibers, ideal for that kind of movement (which is why people of West African Heritage consistently dominate the 100m sprint)....as opposed to an abundance of long-muscle fibers that are more tuned for endurance (which is why people of European descent consistently dominate swimming events).

It has also been suggested that the connection may run even deeper than that, with Black Americans having the advantage of a spritual and/or DNA-memory connection to similar dance movements in the past.

Anyway, that's one of the reasons one of the judges spurted out his coffee in surprise when Mariah Spears - tiny, blond, and cute as a button - stepped on the stage and announced she would do Krump. But hot damn - she was pretty bloody good! Gorgeous - yes. Adorable - yes. Badass - also yes.

Kudos to Mariah. She got through the choreography round too, so we'll hopefully see more of her skills later in the season.


Monday, 12 November 2012

SYTYCD: Eliana and Glitch

I watched a couple more more So you think you can dance audition shows over the weekend. The consistently high level of artistry, skill and passion for the craft that SYTYCD exposes us to makes it my favourite show of the past few years.

Again, two dancers caught my eye most of all. The first was Eliana Girard, a beautiful acrobat and contemporary ballet dancer. With her incredible lines, diverse technical experience and radiant personality, I'll be very surprised if she doesn't make it into the top 20.

(routine starts at 1:25)

The next routine, from Cyrus "Glitch" Spencer is pure joy to watch. This guy is incredible. His isolations, his showmanship, his intricate creativity - they're all fantastic. And the depth of relationship between his routine and the music is just breathtaking. He's crammed all sorts of interesting moments into the piece, and coloured it with a host of emotional texture, from joyous to coquettish to pensive to badass. Yet he never, ever betrays the music, and remains inctricately interwoven with it throughout.

For example, there's a tiny little wah-wah-wah-wah in the track at about 2:10. It's a microscopic part of the music that most dancers would have ignored, if they had heard it at all. Yet Glitch finds it and builds a whole feature around it: as it approaches, he changes the emotional tone of the routine, sets the moment up comedically (taking the opportunity to cover more of the stage as he does so) builds a little anticipation, then gives a comic little arse-shake in time with the wah-wah-wah-wah, and caps it off with a little robot-laugh move before segueing into the next stage of his routine. This guy's sense of showmanship is spectacular, and is second only to his mind-blowing technique:

(routine starts at 0:45)