Music Videos: Interpretive Dance

You know what I love to watch? Women dancing. No, icky trolls, I don’t mean strippers, though like Missy says, “ain’t no shame, ladies do your thang . . . just make sure you’re ahead of the game.” I’m referring to females claiming ownership of their bodies through dance, which of course includes strippers as much as it presumes Kate Bush. I bet Louise Lecavalier knows what I’m talking about and would probably add that there’s joy to be felt in stretching your body’s physical limits. No doubt Merrill Garbus would chime with a reminder not to forget the importance of forging a communal spirit. Movement creates an index of symbols and guiding a beat with your body can feel very powerful indeed. The other night, at a friend’s wedding reception, I had the pleasure of remembering that with friends. I hope you do too.

This first one is EMA’s “California,” a single off her debut solo record, Past Life Martyred Saints. Erika Anderson’s movements here aren’t strict dance, but they are clearly choreographed for this song, as she’s performed this routine at shows.

The second clip is for movement one of Erykah Badu’s “Out My Mind (Just In Time),” which Badu directed. Hopefully it is well-known that I think Badu’s a genius, like how Ellen Willis thought Janis Joplin was a genius. Badu is a master of embodying intangible feelings with her voice and body, as she does here. If her music and image is “difficult” to some (and “crazy” to ableists), it’s only because she’s telling the truth. Kristen at Dear Black Woman, posted this on her Facebook profile and it’s so great I had to jot off an entire post around it. Thank you for making my day, ma’am.

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