oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)
[personal profile] oyceter
Oh show, I love you, but sometimes...

Similarly, I love Wade Robson's choreography (I'm unsure if the addition of Amanda Robson's name is one of those "she was choreographing the entire time and should get credit" or if she just started co-choreographing), but dude. Orientalism galore! I've only seen it once right now, so I can't say if I would have been as bothered by the choreography alone or if it was really the costuming and set that was really annoying.

But honestly! The straw hats. The random semi-kimono-like outfits. The stupid red lighting. GRAH.

In other news, Nigel continues to be a jerk, and I really wish he would stop those comments about Mary. I am hoping the last time she got very offended and he'll stop, but who knows.

I was extremely glad the Bollywood number Wed. night did not include people using random names for mudras, although I am still weirded out by calling the outfits "costumes" and the general appropriative look of it. At least they did bring in Amrapali Ambegaokar in one of the results shows earlier, although I think she is hyphenate, not sourcelander?

And it seems like they have brought in someone who specializes in African dance (legitimate category? One that obscures a more specific style? I do not know) to choreograph, thank god. With no animal metaphors! I am also hoping that Nigel feeling find calling out Evan's whiteness doesn't mean stupid race comments later.

Results-wise: Wow, I can't believe it's the top ten already! I am still so sad Asuka and Karla got cut, and I'm really sad about Kupono as well. And how does this show always seem to end up with a lot of men of color dancing with mostly white women and one woman of color? I think this is the third season with demographics like this!

And I don't know if it's me or what, but this year I am not feeling quite as attached to any of the dancers, although I overall like all of them much more. Um. Except Evan. I keep feeling like he is not as good as some of the other guys but gets through because the crowd loves him. Right now, I am hoping for Janette and Brandon and Ade in the final, and I can't decide on the other girl.

Date: 2009-07-17 08:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chi-zu.livejournal.com
I actually don't mind referring to what they wear in the ethnic routines as "costumes." Everything they wear on the show is a costume and what they wear in a Bollywood number is as much a fantasia based on an actual sari/dhoti/lengha/what-have-you as a Latin ballroom dress is a riff on an actual cocktail dress.

I'll grant that they muddy the waters by always pointing out Kupono's "outfits," but in this case I take more issue with the term "outfit." It's a costume. I don't care how crazily he dresses in real life, he's put it on specifically for his performance. It's a costume, not an outfit.

I also took more issue with the proclamation that Nakul made Bollywood fresh and hip when it's a huge cultural force that is incredibly alive, vital, and contemporary, just not necessarily in the States. From my understanding of it, Bollywood (if one can even call it a style) is a popular take on/development of Indian classical dance. It could be seen as an equivalent to hip hop within the Indian culture. So to imply that it has been updated and made newly "cool" just felt ignorant and careless to me.

I minded seeing Karla go, because I thought she was a good dancer, but I didn't care for Asuka. There was something that felt fake-y about her performance style to me. Very disingenuous. I thought that she and Vitolio were well-paired in that regard.

My parents got me hooked on the show! I am obsessed!

chi-zu

Date: 2009-07-17 08:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chi-zu.livejournal.com
True, I have not been tracking references to what they wear as "costumes" or "outfits." Consistency is key. I hate when they spend oodles of time talking about how they dressed in a pairs routine when as far as I can tell the choreographer is (or at least should be) calling the shots in that regard. That terrible wig shouldn't have been Randi's fault, for instance. Now their solo stuff, I give them more credit for, though I imagine the costumer acts as a stylist to a certain extent on even those looks. The show itself has a certain look after all. But damn! Modern dancers can be so LAZY about what they choose to perform in. I just don't get the disconnect between their look and their choreography sometimes. And at the sometimes stunning lack of awareness of what shows off their movements/lines the best.

Yes, I am pushing the limits of my Bollywood knowledge as well, but the tokenist feeling with regards to the cultural dance styles irks. And yes! Boolywood is a studio system, not a dance style! That's what's been bugging me. Interesting about Nakul's remove from the actual Bollywood scene. In some ways I'm a little irked by the way Slumdog Millionaire has confused people's notions about Indian film.

There's a sense of the need to elevate more popular dance styles to "Art" that is even more heightened with the ethnic routines. And on a sidebar, I am done with the fawning over Melissa's technique. As far as my knowledge of ballet goes, she's passable at best. Now those pro dancers that they had on that one time, AMAZING! And one of the best modern takes on ballet that I've seen.

Back to cultural nitpicking, I have very mixed feelings about the Orientalist extravaganza that opened the results show. On the one hand, I adore Wade Robson and thought the whole number was stunning and satisfying in a way that many of the opening group numbers are not. On the other, random and unnecessary orientalism, yay? Confusing of Chinese and Japanese, awesome? It's so decorative and unmotivated. And uncomfortable coming on the heels of two (attempting to be) properly "folk" dance numbers (Bollywood and African).

My top 4 are the same as yours with Jeanine thrown in.

Date: 2009-07-18 03:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chi-zu.livejournal.com
I for some reason didn't mind the shiny shiny alien costume. Went with the whole weirdness of the thing. I thought they could've come up with a more interesting alien though. I thought the worst costumes were the three in a row Asuka in the lace unitard (just, NO. SO bad), Melissa in the gold sequined scarf passing for a dress that everyone loved, and Janette in the thigh high boots and chaps-like fishnets. I saw those three costumes come out one after the other and thought, "wow, someone sure is hatin' on the women tonight." I can see where other people's opinions might deviate from mine in the last two. My complaints with Melissa's dress were that I didn't think it did anything to flatter her or her lines. She just felt so exposed in a weird way. It would have been more flattering to dance in just the gold bikini and heels. But instead the weird drapey thing felt so arbitrary and made these bizarre frames for places like her back where you could see it form rolls when she contorted herself. Now anyone in the best of shape will have that happen on their body, but it can be veiled with fabric or at least not framed and had attention drawn to it. I thought Janette's costume from the waist down cut her in all the wrong places and made a normally long, leggy looking woman look thick and stumpy. And when she turned around and you saw the chaps, no.

I'm pretty sure the choreographer drives the production elements of their routines like the sets and costumes. They're like the director of the piece. So while the costumer has a certain amount of creative license, the director/choreographer sets the tone or concept for the work. Wade did choreograph in a lot of the old, cliched, hands-in-prayer-position, the fans etc. I have no doubt that this was an Asian-flavored piece for him and that he said so to any designers he worked with. Unfortunately, it's just that--a flavor. I don't even know why he went to the Asian place, nothing in the music said that to me. I think it meant no more to him than "hey, this would look AWESOME!" It's disappointing from someone whose work I enjoy so much.

For a long time I didn't get much of Kayla's personality when she danced. I actually warmed up to her more this week. Somehow she seemed more alive in her routines. I didn't notice Jeanine for a long time, but her first bottom three solo caught my attention. Then I realized just how well she's taken on different styles and consistently been a good performer, so now she's my favorite of the women. I have also come around to being very impressed with Janette and her ability to take on other styles. Ironically, I think I prefer Melissa when she's dancing non-ballet because I don't expect as much from her. She just doesn't have to seem to have the kind of extension she should have when en pointe. I see it most when she bends backwards, I feel like she should be able to go farther and have more controlled tension behind her movements in general. Some of the other women are more successful than she is on all these counts, her advantage is that she's able to get up on her toes and have turn-out.

I can't believe that this show is what has drawn me into posting on lj (dw?) again. :)

Date: 2009-07-17 09:19 pm (UTC)
glass_icarus: (dance 1)
From: [personal profile] glass_icarus
i have not been keeping up with sytycd recently, but:

1. i did see the bollywood group dance on youtube today. my basic reaction was DDDDDD:! (which was still better than my reaction to the previous bollywood routine with that one couple, ugh ugh ugh.) i think what bothered me more than the appropriative look (the skin color of the remaining dancers being pretty much out of our control) was the practice clip: the choreographer was pretty clearly NOT a bollywood choreographer, or someone i would expect to have extensive knowledge about the style. i haven't exactly watched a ton of bollywood movies, but from my limited understanding: isn't bollywood dance often informed by various traditional dance forms? don't the choreographers tend to draw on those styles in addition to hiphop influence when creating dances? i'm no expert, but i didn't see very much similarity between the dances i've seen before and that routine.

2. i did not realize that Karla was cut! SADNESS; she is made of fabulous. re: Asuka, though- i dance ballroom, and she wasn't sterling to begin with, in technique OR in ballroom!attitude. i could name at least ten girls on my ballroom team who could muster up more fierceness than that! her v-waltz was pretty, but nowhere near breathtaking. (granted, i have very high standards, as someone who used to compete on the east coast collegiate circuit & has plenty of friends dancing at top amateur levels. call it new york city snobbery? ;P) i dunno. i liked some of the stuff that i saw from her, but i was never moved by her dancing, whereas watching Karla was like a punch to the gut, every single time.

... wow, this was longer and more involved than i expected to get on either point, sorry about the babbling! *g*

Date: 2009-07-18 02:03 am (UTC)
glass_icarus: (dance 2)
From: [personal profile] glass_icarus
haha, i am glad that he was Indian at least, but... yeah. i don't know how i feel about that. you can actually learn a lot by watching video clips, but- but- at the same time, it just makes some part of me go "?!?!?" like, watching is a great way to see what moves that are/were being used, but it's not the same as having a Bollywood dancer physically show you how to do them, in terms of the effectiveness of the end-product execution. (kind of in the way that i can watch tons of clips of professional ballroom routines, but without a coach to actually tell me what/how i'm doing things wrong and manhandle me into the right positions, my technique suffers, i am clueless as to what is actually going on vs. what appears to be going on, etc. etc.)

and yes, i agree on the apparent nebulousness of the terms (Bollywood, African) being thrown around/touted as "styles." i'm still clueless on how one ought to use them, though!

I can babble about this show FOREVER!-- so can i, apparently. xD

Date: 2009-07-18 06:24 pm (UTC)
quivo: Watercolor of a daisy (Daisy)
From: [personal profile] quivo
(legitimate category? One that obscures a more specific style? I do not know)
Wildish guess, I'm thinking "African dance" is definitely a sort of big bin that tons of specific styles get put in, i.e. I know each of the main tribes in Nigeria have their own specific styles, and that's just Nigeria on its own. This isn't something I imagine the creators of SYTYCD really grasp, though. So when they say "African dance" on this show, I never quite know what I am going to see.

This time, the choreographer brought out very Nigerian-feeling stuff and mixed it in with fun macho moves. Their costumes were surprisingly distracting to me--the dance styles I am familiar with are very prop-and-costume-y, and it didn't look quite right for them to be in those pants and nothing else. I still liked their routine, but.

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