Sources: Michael Jackson.ru |Thank you Cherrelle | All Things Michael
Here is a excellent, must-read analysis about Michael’s gift as a dancer. Due to its length, only an a portion is posted here. Click the link at the end to read the complete article.
Michael Jackson was a gifted, unique and outstanding dancer. His contribution to the art of dance is analyzed in this fascinating article by professional flamenco dancer and choreographer, Amor (Lubov Fadeeva).
Michael Jackson in dance is a subject as vast as space. I can’t talk about it without touching on global issues of the art of dance, but I will try to bring it all together as much as possible – to gather all of the elements I see as facets of something larger, something whole, so we can try to see the entire picture.…
For me, dance is a global phenomenon, the most sacred and purest art, only matched perhaps by music, poetry, and fine art. The rest is derivative, like the branches of a large spreading tree grown from just one seed. Dance is pure inspiration born in the center of the Universe, expressible through numerous artistic forms and manifestations. Dance is visual music and non-corporeal emotion on a material level; it is spiritual energy creating all existence. This is how I have seen it since my childhood, in the form of feelings, and I will try to explain all this in words.
I remember how pleased, although not surprised, I was to see that Michael’s book was titled Dancing the Dream. Why did the title refer to dancing and not singing or music? I believe that wasn’t coincidental. Dance was special in Michael’s art – the deepest, most sincere, and most symbolic expression of his philosophy and artistic vision. […]
When people watch Michael Jackson in awe, a miracle happens. They experience a moment when dance offers them something exciting and incomparable. Practically everyone who seriously considers Michael’s dancing will surely note a certain mysterious, unique quality in this entertainer that makes his art inimitable. Thousands of people have learned many of Michael’s distinctive moves and steps, but no one can perform them exactly the way he does. That’s why all attempts to imitate him (even by professional dancers) are doomed to failure: any Jackson impersonator is a surrogate in the eyes of ardent Jackson fans.
To me, the legions of Michael Jackson impersonators imitating his dance moves are pure profanation. His bodily presence and emotional expression on stage cannot be copied. He is recognizable by the tiniest nuance, not to mention his one-of-a-kind energy. Even if a dancer can brilliantly perform the same dance elements, it’s impossible to copy Michael’s hand. In this regard, those impersonators who use Jackson’s style simply as a basis for their own variations and improvisations have an advantage. Their dancing always looks more interesting, alive, and skillful than an attempt to precisely replicate his movements, which is practically impossible in dancing. Jackson cannot be repeated, copied, or imitated – just like any famous dancer cannot be duplicated.
So what makes Michael unique? Why are there ongoing disputes, for example, that his dancing contains so many sexual moves yet they never make him look vulgar – a vulgarity that can be seen in so many other performers? Why are his contributions to the art of dance considered so invaluable that this pop star can be placed alongside the great masters of ballet or folk dancing?
First of all, I would say that the body and motor functions of every dancer are unique. There are some common features, but there are many specifics that can’t even be analyzed, just like it’s impossible to analyze every “dancing molecule” in a living human body. These minute details and particulars make the performing manner of each person his or her own. Some demonstrate less individuality, while others emit it from their first steps across the stage. That’s one reason no impersonator can ever copy or replace a brilliant dancer like Michael and look convincing for those who are well acquainted with Michael’s style.
It’s not just a matter of his personal singularity; it’s a matter of the singularity of every human. Science has invented cloning, but not even a clone can be a perfect copy of the original, just like twins are not identical people. So there is no way an existing person could become a clone of another person. Differences would arise at some stage, even if the impersonator were spiritually close to the original performer. Perfectly copying individual peculiarities within a dance to create the illusion of a match is a utopian venture. [….]
Let me return to the beginning of the conversation and I say that, like any truly brilliant dancer, Michael stands out for his spiritual essence and spiritual approach to dancing. His dance reflects the very religious component mentioned earlier – not in the sense of expressing any religious doctrine or belief, but in the sense of his spiritual and emotional approach.
First, Michael is not just a performer. He is the creator of his dance. He doesn’t do something he simply learned by imitating a choreographer. Even when his dance is carefully choreographed, he remains the creator: his dance comes from within, not from other people, regardless of who he collaborated with during preparation.
Lots of choreographers and dancers participated in his projects, but the dance team and Michael are altogether different, although his dancers are always professional and excellent. Still, he invariably stands out, through both his manner of dancing and his inner feeling of the dance.
He dances in the flow of free creation. It should be noted that even the moves he performs on stage over and over again are not mechanically repeated like a stuck record. No, he can continue any of his dances by free improvisation at any moment. And it never looks out of sync with his personal style; instead, it opens new facets of his fathomless inner creator. This is what no impersonator can do. Only the creator of the dance can update and renew his dance naturally and improvise freely, and still be himself. No one else can plunge into his sacrament. This is his personal domain, just like every person has his or her own body and his or her own place on Earth.
Michael Jackson stands out among all stage performers of his generation and those that followed. It is often said that many pop entertainers draw on Michael because he created a standard. Still, many seem to draw on the wrong things. Michael was notable for his absolute belief in what he was doing. He always had a sincere and sparkling artistry, while contemporary pop performers mostly look like beautifully designed clockwork dolls and not charismatic entertainers.
I don’t know why this is so, but I suspect the trouble is not in a lack of talent but in the fact that the pop stage has once and for all taken to manufacturing an average glamour ideal. Mostly, these new “stars” create an impression of Barbie dolls: all of them pretty, all of them capable, but lacking energy… Nothing exciting is going on. There is nothing that can shock or surprise us anymore – all revolutions are past. That is the overall feeling. Honestly, it’s sad to see that they are deprived of a true, live creative process and consciously make a product of themselves. A product and not a creator, even a small one. It is strange that the industry keeps dictating this kind of taste and selecting this kind of material for its star factory. But after all, a genius is only a genius if it is rare.
The second, and perhaps the more interesting factor, is that fundamentally, Michael Jackson is not a pop figure. Yes, he worked within the framework of popular mass culture, but he didn’t belong to pop art on the basis of his mentality. I would even say this was his tragedy, of which he was not guilty, of course. The pop culture framework, on the one hand, allowed him to break all possible sales records and reach out to millions of people with simple and inspiring ideas. On the other hand, his talent was confined to that framework, so in the end, certain facets of his artistry didn’t fully manifest and went mostly unnoticed by the general public.
The image of a pop singer prevented some people from taking him seriously. This was unfortunate, and I’ll say it once again: it was not his fault. The blame lies with the narrow-mindedness of society. His figure had too many contradictions for people to perceive him adequately. He combined traits of antipodal conventional types ingrained in popular mythology, and this eventually brought harsh trials and a tragic end upon him.
Amor (Lubov Fadeeva)
English translation by Julia Sirosh; editing by Vera Serova and Willa Stillwater
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