Not to jump on the bandwagon, but let’s talk about Michael Jackson.
There probably will be too much coverage of his death, funeral, etc., but when I read one celebrity’s assessment of American music (Sinatra, Presley, and Jackson are the most important, defining figures) I had to agree.
I’m home in GA to prepare for the wedding (thus the blogging may pick up or it may stop completely, who knows) and I woke up in the middle of the night last night and flipped through the channels to try and help me get to sleep. Of course old Jackson videos were playing, and I stumbled onto “It Don’t Matter if You’re Black or White,” which I’d never seen. He goes around the world and dances in his style, but imitates the different folk dances of each native group shown (African tribe, Indian classical dance, Russian folk, Native American tribe, etc.). While the folk dances may be a little generalized and stereotypical, they’re also (from what I’ve seen in my dance major studies) fairly accurate. Anyway, what struck me is that a) he was a great dancer (duh), and b) his style was either really versatile or had more influences than I realized. I say this because in each “imitation” if you will, he’s moving in his own style, which s easily recognizable, he looks really similar to these folk dancers, many similar movements that we’ve seen in his previous videos, etc. Pretty cool, to me a dance nerd, because to me that means that he’s creating his own American folk dancing. Plus the video does that cool morphing thing at the end, and we get to see a young Tyra Banks before she became the eccentric judge/host we love to hate and hate to love.
But back to the dancing. I’ve always known he was a good dancer, but he really was pretty incredible. Yeah, he did some weird things, but his musicality is impeccable, like watching a visual representation of rhythm. Of course he has some signature, some may say overused steps (the pelvic thrust, the kick out and quick withdrawal, heel twists and pops and drops, shoulder and head isolations, the spin to the knees, etc.), but what struck me was how full body his movement is… even if he’s only stamping his heel to the beat, it somehow reverberates through his whole body. Plus, if you really watch all his stuff in a row you realize that he only uses the signature moves to give the audience something familiar, because most every video does something he’s never done before.
So what’s the point? What does this have to do with me “unveiled?” We MUST play some MJ at the reception, and I’m having trouble deciding what songs (only room for two). So let me know what you think, especially if you are coming to the wedding. The choices are:
1) Beat It (actually, this is a J favorite so it is required)
2) Billie Jean
3) Smooth Criminal
4) I want You Back (from the Jackson 5 Days)
5) The Way you make me feel
6) Don’t Stop til you get enough