Thursday, December 30, 2010
Every New Year's Eve, people sing one of the most popular songs of all time - “Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?", but don't think too much about the song's meaning. We're too busy ringing in the New Year to care. But "Auld Lang Syne" has a great history, one that we should learn.
The lyrics were originally published as a Scottish poem in 1788 by Robert Burns and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. The words Auld Lang Syne literally translates from old Scottish dialect meaning old long-ago or old long-since. The context of the song is about love and friendship in past times.
Another version, the first that contains a form of the 'auld lang syne' phrase, is attributed to the courtly poet Sir Robert Ayton (1570 - 1638). Most of the poem though, was credited to Burns. Singing the song to celebrate the New Year (Hogmanay in Scotland) quickly became a Scots custom and was spread to the rest of the world.
Some countries that sing Auld Lang Syne at midnight on New Year's day include the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, India and Pakistan. In other countries, it is sung in different occasions. In Brazil, Portugal, France, Spain, Greece, Poland, and Germany, this song is used to mark a farewell. The tune of the song is another story. The melody alone is being used in different contexts all over the world. In the US, it is used as a song of remembrance during 9-11 memorials and other memorial events. A pub variation of the song is a very popular one too, and is sung in pubs across Scotland, England, and the US.
Within the US, the song is associated with bandleader Guy Lombardo - who heard the tune and couldn’t get it out of his head and arranged the piece for his orchestra in 1929. After that, whenever Lombardo performed at a New Year’s Eve event, he would play “Auld Lang Syne” around midnight, cementing the song as a yearly institution that helps to usher in each year.
Here are the original words to Auld Lang Syne with the translated English meaning. Let's not just sing the words, but recognize the historical significance of the words and allow ourselves to sing with our hearts by commemorating friendships we've had through the years. May we always be grateful for those close to us and keep the bond between us and them throughout the year.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne.
(Should old acquaintances be forgotten)
(and never remembered)
(Should old acquaintance be forgotten)
(For old long ago)
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup of kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!
(For old long ago, my dear)
( For old long ago)
(We will take a cup of kindness yet)
(For old long ago)
And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp,
And surely I'll be mine,
And we'll tak a cup o kindness yet,
For auld lang syne!
(And surely you will pay for your pint-vessel)!
(And surely I will pay for mine!)
(And we will take a cup of kindness yet,)
(For old long past.)
We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine,
But we've wander'd monie a weary fit,
Sin auld lang syne.
(We two have run about the hills)
(and pulled the daisies fine)
(but we've wandered many a weary foot)
(since old long ago)
We twa hae paidl'd in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin auld lang syne.
(We two have paddled in the stream)
(from morning sun (noon) until dinner-time)
(but seas between us broad have roared)
(since old long ago)
And there's a hand my trusty fiere,
And gie's a hand o thine,
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.
(And there is a hand my trusty friend)
(And give me a hand of yours)
(And we will take of a good drink/toast)
(For old long ago)
As a bonus, here's a video of the original song with lyrics
With Game Conductor Katherine Hartley
Photoplay, July 1939
So you thought you knew everything there is to know about Ginger Rogers! Well, this is no picture of a serious careerist, it's the fun-loving Ginger, who jumps into this old game of truth or consequences with the zest that makes her beloved by studio workers and stars alike. She coiled quits on six of the questions—the forfeits she paid an pictured on the opposite page but think of all the fun in store for you imagining what her answers should have been.
Of what personal accomplishment are you most proud?
The sketch I did of Madame Maria Ouspenskaya is the one thing that really tickles me; it was one of the first sketches I undertook. I had seen her in a film with Garbo and had been interested by her face. I had never met her, but after I finished the sketch, working from a photograph—it took me three or four weeks altogether—I invited her to dinner so that she might see it, too. If she hadn't liked it as much as I did, I believe I would never have recovered from the disappointment.
In what other actress have you noticed a resemblance to yourself?
Just recently in watching Priscilla Lane on the screen I had the funny feeling that I knew her—there was something so familiar about her. I realized then that it was because we are somewhat alike; not our features particularly, but our expressions, mannerisms or something—just what it is, I can't explain.
What famous personality would you most prefer to meet and why?
There are so many I'd like to meet that I can't name them all here, but I believe I'd feel most honored to meet Leopold Stokowski and Professor Albert Einstein. I'm sure I would have nothing of interest to say to them, but if I could only listen in on a conversa- tion they might be having with some- one else, someone else who would know how to probe them intelligently, that would be wonderful!
Have you ever taken part in a blind date and what were the circumstances?
No. Mysteries of that kind don't interest me.
Do you ever read beauty articles, seeking some beauty secret for yourself?
I'm an easy mark for any and every advertisement which promises that a certain product will make me ravishing. If it's a lipstick, I promptly send for a half dozen and then, after trying them briefly, I invariably return to my original stand-by.
When have you ever consciously imitated someone?
Never consciously, but I always unconsciously pick up the accent or intonation of the person with whom I am talking. Just recently, at lunch
with an European, he accused me of making fun of him, saying, "You talk at me, like me." It took me twenty minutes to convince him that it was unintentional and that I was not ridiculing him. It's a very embarrassing
When you have a man opponent at some sport, tennis for example, do you ever deliberately throw a game his way, on the theory that men do not like to be beaten by women?
I should say not! I love to beat a man and I always play to win. I get a big kick out of it And if he doesn't enjoy it, so much the better! I'm for the woman-winner every time, in everything.
Which photographic angle of your face do you consider the best?
Do you mind if I say, "Behind the ears"? And I am not being facetious! I saw a rear view of my head for the first time on the screen just recently, and I couldn't help it, I thought that view of me was kind of cute.
What is your most successful disguise for avoiding recognition in public?
I've tried everything, but nothing is fan-proof. The only really sure way to avoid recognition is not to go out.
What was the most tomboyish physical feat of your childhood?
I was runner-up in a broad-jumping contest once. But my greatest dream was to become a champion pole vaulter, though I never got any farther at that than over the back fence on the prop-stick for the washline.
What has caused your keenest embarrassment?
Miss Rogers took the consequences. (Let us reproduce one of your drawings.)
Caption: Imagine asking a gal Question 11! Well, Ginger wouldn't answer—but she did let us print one of her drawings (top)—a sketch of Madame Ouspenskaya—good, too, we say.
Do you really enjoy opera, or do you go because it is the fashion?
I can't say I enjoy all operas, but I only go to those I really like. I have seen eighteen different operas, and while I wouldn't like to see all of those again, there are three of them which really appeal to me: La Tosca, Carmen and The Barber of Seville.
Are you a back-seat driver?
No, I'm as meek as a mouse because I know that most anyone drives better than I do.
With what man star, with whom you have not worked, would you most like to make a film?
In what ways do you enjoy being "elegant"?
I enjoy having a fabulous amount of nice lingerie, and two clean changes a day make me feel very luxurious.
When have you ever been a wall-flower?
So many times you wouldn't believe it!
What other languages beside English do you speak?
Pig Latin! I took a postgraduate course from Jimmy Stewart who is a past master.
Who or what on the screen gives you the greatest pain?
Miss Rogers took the consequences. (Give us a picture of yourself showing how the well made up woman of 1939 does not look.)
Caption: Question 18 was another stopper, but the consequence really wasn't meant to frighten little children. It's how the well made up woman of 1939 does not look.
On a date, what typically feminine bluff have you indulged in recently?
Pretending to notice that I just that moment got a run in my hose when I knew that I had it an hour before.
In what difficult action shot have you recently used a double?
In "Carefree" a man double did some bicycle riding for me—not because I can't ride, but because the riding had to be done downhill over a bumpy terrace and end in a spill.
With whom have you had a long feud and why?
Miss Rogers took the consequences. (Let us print a photo from your vacation album—in a most unglamorous pose.)
Caption: Feuding is something Ginger doesn't talk about. Result: the forfeit on Question 21 is this unglamorous pose taken from her snapshot album.
When you are eating alone are you ever careless about your table manners?
Yes, I eat fast and furiously—but then my table manners are nothing to brag about even when I'm with others. When I'm hungry I like to eat, not dawdle.
At what age, and in what circumstances did you have your first unrequited love?
He was in knee pants and I was still wearing socks.
If a surprise caller found you ungroomed, in old clothes, with your hair not fixed and your face not made up. Would you try to excuse yourself or pass it off with nonchalance?
I have done both. It all depends on the caller.
When a book is being discussed, have you ever pretended to have read it when you have not, and how did you bluff your way through?
I usually try to switch the conversation to some book which I have read—it's the safest way out.
With whom do you most enjoy going out?
Miss Rogers took the consequences. (Have a picture taken riding "no hands" on your bicycle.)
Caption: Rumor has it that there is only one answer to Question 26, but Ginger preferred to have a picture taken riding "no hands" on her bicycle rather than reveal her secret.
Do you notice men's clothes and do you consider smart dressing important for a man?
Are you a good speller?
I can't spell anything! I can't even write a letter without resorting to the dictionary.
Do risque jokes amuse you?
Very seldom, and I prefer not to be told them.
In what ways are you easily embarrassed?
When someone tries to tell me one.
What is your disposition when you get up in the morning?
Who is the best dancer with whom you have ever danced off the screen?
George Murphy. I have only danced with him once, but I believe he is perfect.
Have you any immediate plans to alter your marital situation?
Miss Rogers took the consequences. (Write something for us in Pig Latin.)
Caption: The example of Ginger's Pig Latin is her punishment for refusing to answer.
[Translation: Talking pig latin is a fine art... It is also fun because you can say what you want and people don't know what you say or do they?]
What kind of bridge player are you?
I have progressed beyond the auction stage.
How many song records made by yourself do you have in your own collection, and which is. your favorite?
I have them all, but none is my favorite. I only play the records to hear my mistakes— and then I always swear I'll never make another!
Are you subject to freckles?
Yes. Nice big fat ones, and what's more, I like 'em!
What early experience has most affected your life or philosophy?
Going into the movies!
What T.L (Trade Last) have you recently exchanged with a friend?
I can't remember, but I have one for Margaret Lindsay.
Are you a good loser?
Yes, I think I am. My friends tell me I am anyway.
In what ways are you stubborn?
I never say die on anything!
Are you the kind of reader who can't refrain from glancing at the end, before finishing a book?
I never do. I like to be surprised.
What subjects do you film most with your candid camera?
Do you dislike candid camera shots of yourself?
Yes. I feel that it is unfair for a photographer to take advantage of an actress by photographing her when she is not prepared—particularly if she is disheveled, as in the wind at a polo match—and I have on occasions tried to beg out of such shots. It's not a question of being a bad sport, because I feel the same way when a cameraman takes the same unfair advantage of other actresses, too. Showing an actress at her worst accomplishes nothing—and it disappoints the fans as well.
What household task do you usually perform?
As long as I must be honest, none. Not that I can't, but I don't have the time for it these days.
On what occasions do you drop your dignity and shout and yell?
At prize fights and wrestling matches.
At which do you think you are the greatest success, as hostess or as guest?
Hostessing doesn't seem to be in my line. I'm always a guest, even at my own parties.
Has any of your artwork ever been sold?
Do you have any of your own art efforts displayed in your home?
I have two framed and hanging in the library; the sketch of Madame Ouspenskaya and one of Irving Berlin.
What unkindness have you ever done which you now regret?
I always regret having blamed somebody for something without waiting to hear both sides of a story. It's snap judgment, I suppose.
What curriculum did you follow in high school?
I was afraid you'd ask me that one—I never got to high school!
What small failing of your girlhood have you had to overcome?
Chewing my fingernails.
Now that Fred Astaire has left RKO, where you have made so many pictures together, do you believe that you will ever make another dancing picture?
I suppose so. I would like to concentrate on dramatic roles, but I am told that I shouldn't kill the goose that lays the golden egg—or something to that effect—so I won't be surprised, if I get a call for another dancing picture even before my legs and feet have rested up from the last one.
What extravagance might be called your weakness?
My weakness is nice hose and shoes, but it can't be called an extravagance because early in my career I waged a battle to have the studio supply me with them, since my dancing is so hard on shoes and stockings.
What things give you the jitters?
Hangnails and scraping sounds.
When you arrive at the age of thirty, will you be inclined to admit it, or will you hope to hide it?
I'll admit it I guess, but quietly. I don't see any reason for wearing it on my shirt front.
What slang phrase or exclamation is most characteristic of you?
There are two: "Oh gosh" and "For goodness sakes alive!"
Do you prefer men companions of your own age, or older, and why?
I like them about thirty; still young enough to be gay, yet old enough to be serious.
What one word would you choose to best describe your personality?
Miss Rogers took the consequences. (Write a limerick, using your own name Virginia, beginning "There was a young girl named Virginia.")
Caption: The limerick is forfeit on question 58.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Bournonville said himself that “dance should be an expression of joy”. This method displays the movement as effortless though it is very technically challenging. The Bournonville method dancer exudes fluidity, seamlessness, and musicality. The technique is refined with delicate detail. It is not only expressive and romantic, but it touches the heart with dramatic pantomime.
In 1865 Bournonville wrote his Choreographic Credo, or Creed, which is striking in how well it describes the art of dance and how that art has evolved.
Dance is an art because it demands calling, knowledge, and skill.
It is a fine art because it strives for an ideal, not only in sculptural ways but lyrically and dramatically.
The beauty to which the Dance ought to aspire is not dependent upon taste or fashion, but is based on the unchangeable laws of nature.
The art of Mime encompasses all the feelings of the soul. Dance, on the other hand, is essentially an expression of joy, a desire to follow the rhythms of music.
It is the mission of art in general, and the theatre in particular, to intensify thought, elevate the mind and freshen the senses. Dance should above all be beware of indulging a blasé public's fondness for effects foreign to true art.
Joy strengthens; intoxication, weakens.
The beautiful always retains the freshness of novelty, while the amazing grows boring in the long run.
The Dance can, with the aid of music, rise to the heights of poetry. On the other hand,it can also degenerate into buffoonery through an excess of gymnastics. The so-called difficult has numerous adepts, while the easy is only achieved by a chosen few.
The height of artistic skill is to know how to conceal the mechanical effort and strain beneath harmonious calm.
Mannerism is not character, and affectation is the avowed enemy of grace.
Every dancer ought to regard his laborious art as a link in the chain of beauty, as a useful ornament for the stage, and this, in turn, as an important element in the spiritual development of the Nation.
For more info on Bournonville and other styles of ballet, see Major Schools of Ballet: Six Differing Styles
Monday, December 27, 2010
There are certain pieces that are called “Children’s classics.” that I would recommend as well. They include Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf,” Ravel’s “Mother Goose Suite,” and Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals.”The best version of “Carnival of the Animals” is the reissue narrated by Ogden Nash.
Children adapt amazingly well and are naturally inquisitive when exposed to new things. Have a few bits of information ready when introducing a new symphony, waltz or sonata to satisfy their curiosities when they arise. If done regularly but gently, the introduction of classical music will become so natural that soon it will be the children choosing to listen to it.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul. - G. K. Chesterton
We all do it. Every year as that ball drops from the sky we tell ourselves that this year will be the year. This year we will lose the weight, quit that bad habit, find the perfect job, find someone special, finish that project; in short we will find true happiness.Why do we do this?
As children we are told to make a New Year’s Resolution. But we are never told why. Well, honestly, our parents told us to make a resolution because their parents told them to. I think the reason it has stuck is because we, as humans, desire a challenge. We like knowing we have something to work toward. The New Year is a time of renewal. For years it has often been symbolized by the New Year’s Baby. It is the birth of a new year. When we stop and look back on the year behind us we are often filled with both happiness and regrets. The holiday season has passed and the time spent with family and friends is now over. We are no longer baking and present shopping. Our time has begun to feel empty. We know we must find something to fill it.
Why then do we have such a hard time keeping our resolutions?
Because, life begins to take over. School returns, clubs and meeting resume their regularly scheduled times. All the free time we thought we had is no longer available. Getting back into the swing of things is exhausting.
If that is the case should we even bother with a New Year’s Resolution?
The answer is yes! We only have to be smart about it. Before deciding to spend 2 hours a night coining the next great American novel, look at your schedule. What upcoming events are there? When does your kids’ sports practice start back up? Try scheduling in time to write in a 30 minute slot here and there. The same holds true for just about any unfinished project - such as home renovations, organization in rooms, at work, or in the home office, craft projects, charity work, fund raisers, job hunting, etc.
Use little tips you can apply to your daily life. Want to lose weight? Don’t think you have to have an hour worth of cardio everyday. You are already running around, from place to place, picking up things and dropping things off. Even 15 minutes a day on the treadmill will burn off a few calories. Plan meals ahead of time. Have a free afternoon? Make a meal and freeze it for those days you come home late. You can pop it in the oven once you get home and still have a healthy meal with little preparation (at least for that night). There are also several cookbooks out there filled with quick recipes that require little preparation and cooking time. No matter what, never give up. If you fall off the weight loss wagon, then pick yourself back up and climb back on board.
There are some of us that want to quit a bad habit. Smoking, drinking, overworking, disorganization, messy, overspending, lazy, emotionally abusing ourselves, and so many others, some that are dangerous or harmful to us and others. So often these sorts of resolutions that are the hardest to keep. For starters, many of them are addictions. Nicotine, alcohol and the like are something our bodies have come to expect to function. Things like overspending are adrenaline rushes. They are quick fixes to unhappy emotions. What ever the habit is, often it is related to some sort of emotional attachment. Professional help can always help to improve your chances of success in this area. If you still feel like doing this on your own. You have to plan ahead whenever possible. If you know you are going to have a busy, stressful day then that means you are more likely to pull out a cigarette, go out to the bar that night, or slip into a clothing store. Try to come up with other ways to deal with that stressful emotion. Breathing exercises are amazing. Try a short drive. Even locking yourself in the bathroom for a shower or bubble bath can help relieve the stress. It is all about planning ahead and creating a plan of action should the desire arise for your quick-fix, stress-relief, bad habit. Be ready for it.
Finally, for some of us out there, we just want this year to be the year we finally find what we have always wanted, that new great job, that special someone, whatever it is. These can be harder resolutions to keep. You can’t ensure that you will find that someone special, or that those in charge at your dream job will want to hire you. What you have to do here is tweak your resolution just a bit. You have to change it from “will find” to "will seek out.” The great thing about these resolutions is that the adventure to get there is half the fun. When it comes to a job you have to figure out what it is you do want. Maybe you need additional training, so go back to school. Perhaps the right type of company isn’t out there; then start your own business. What about love? Dating can be fun. Open yourself up to internet dating, and singles dating projects, like speed dating or a lock-and-key event. Go out and make yourself available. Don’t be too picky. Don’t settle, but be open minded. Even if you haven’t found him or her at year’s end, you will feel good knowing that you at least tried.
The New Year is a great time for a fresh start in so many areas of your life. It is that free moment we have between the holiday’s end and when life starts back up again. That moment we have to sit back and relax to simply think about and enjoy life. For once we can stop and smell the roses, knowing what it is we would like to change in our lives. The New Year is the perfect time for a resolution because it is the one pint in the year in which we have the time to stop and thing about the things that matter, think about the things we want and figure out how to get them.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
I decided to combine a little tribute to some of the the people who make Twitter special for me, and for everyone, especially my English/Scottish twitter friends - a Scottish song to wish you good luck and health in the New Year - Auld Lang Syne
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Thursday, December 16, 2010
I love old movies and actors, and these clips along with festive songs really make me smile. The clips are from these films:
Meet John Doe (1941)
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
Christmas in Connecticut (1945)
The Bishops Wife (1947)
Desk Set (1957)
Little Women (1933)
Mr and Mrs Smith (1941)
The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942)
Pictures from Miracle on 34th Street and White Christmas
Misteltoe and Holly by Frank Sinatra
Let It Snow by Dean Martin
Jingle Bells by Dean Martin
The Christmas Waltz (extract) by Frank Sinatra
Monday, December 13, 2010
If you want to learn how to Waltz, Samba, and Cha Cha like the celebrities do on Dancing With The Stars, you can certainly go to a dance studio in your local area and sign up for Ballroom lessons. Classes range from group to private, depending on your budget and preference. But what if you really want to go all out...and learn from one of the DWTS professionals?
Many of the pros have their own studios, classes, and special events that they run during the off season of Dancing With The Stars. These activities are happening from New Jersey to California, and several places in between. Here are some of the professionals who will be happy to teach you:
Two-time DWTS champion Cheryl Burke has opened her own studios in California under the name Cheryl Burke Dance Currently she has two studios, one in the San Francisco area and another in Orange County, and is looking to expand in the future. While most classes are taught by other top-notch professionals, Cheryl does lead some classes and workshops herself. You may visit her website for dates, times, and more information.
Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Tony Dovolani
Maks and his family started their chain of Dance With Me studios, which not only produces more Ballroom champions and professionals but also teaches people of all ages and professions to dance. Tony recently signed on with Maks to become part of the Dance With Me family, and both of them give private lessons when their schedules allow. These men put their heart and soul into everything they do, and you could not ask for better instructors. Please check the website for events and schedules at the Long Island, Soho, and Ridgefield, New Jersey locations.
Louis Van Amstel
Louis has a unique approach for those who want to learn Ballroom. His classes at Dance Blast do not require a partner - they focus on learning the moves, burning calories, and having fun. Louis realizes that there are many people who would like to learn but cannot find a partner to join them for traditional Ballroom dance lessons, and he would like to help them get fit. Louis has also coached several of the Dancing With The Stars pros before they appeared on the show. He bases many of his classes in Utah and California, along with special events in Cabo San Lucas and other locations. As he is expanding his franchise by taking it on the road, please visit his website for information on possible locations near you.
Superstars of Ballroom Event
From February 4 - 6, 2011, many of your favorite pros from DWTS, along with many other professional dancers, will host the Superstars of Ballroom Dance Camp in Burbank, California. Everyone from beginners to champions is welcome, with group classes taught by Corky Ballas, Cheryl Burke, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, Tony Dovolani, Chelsie Hightower and other pros. Private lessons are also available with a pro of your choosing, which must be reserved ahead of time on the website along with your camp reservation. Along with the lessons are evening parties with live music, so it's more than just a regular camp atmosphere. Don't miss this amazing event...start the new year out with a bang!
Besides these classes and events, some of the professional dancers also drop into other dance studios from time to time to help out with lessons or hold special classes. If you are interested in any of those, please inquire at your local studio for further information.
Ballroom dancing is a great workout and so much fun that you may not even realize you're exercising until after your lesson. Look into events in your area...and if you have the chance, learn from a Dancing With The Stars pro!
Friday, December 10, 2010
“Every time I watch 'The Red Shoes' I feel like I'm watching a different movie. That's because it effortlessly combines the freedom of a Disney animated feature, the grace of ballet, the inventiveness of 'Citizen Kane' (1941), the truth of a documentary, and the magic of movies. . . .
'The Red Shoes' was made by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, otherwise known as the Archers, at the height of their power. They did not -- could not -- make a bad film during the 1940s or the years bookending that decade. But The Red Shoes is something special. More than the other films, it caught on with audiences, and many of us have fallen madly in love with it and treasured it for life. . . .
This enthusiasm is not for a Britney Spears concert. This is for a ballet. I have seen so precious few films that have an explosive, exciting start like that, much less made in the 1940s. The film does eventually slow down, but instead of blasting you in the face, it enchants you and casts a spell over you.
Then there is the color. The Red Shoes uses color like you've never seen. Even the opening title cards (before the banging on the doors) are jaw-dropping in their vibrant beauty. The cinematographer was Jack Cardiff, who was hot off an Oscar win for his last film, Powell and Pressburger's Black Narcissus (1947). It was almost as if he were challenged to do even more and go even farther.
I'm not a lover of ballet, and I can imagine it would be hard to make yourself watch this film if that's the case. But the dancing here is not boring by any stretch of the imagination. It's like the best stuff from Disney's musical numbers. Don't let ballet scare you from seeing this magnificent motion picture.”
by Jeffery M. Anderson
This story touches on basic passionate human drives and what we are willing to do to achieve them, as well as basic human willingness - even determination - to madly believe in seductive illusions and luck. It illustrates how intricate webs of deception are woven and how eagerly one can fall prey. It illustrates, both in the story about ballet and in the ballet itself, how vulnerable we are, especially to those forces which fit our own dreams, hopes and desires and make us follow blindly, even when they turn destructive.
In The Red Shoes, when the big ballet impressario asks the little ballerina, "Why do you want to dance, Miss Page?" she replies with a question of her own: "Why do you want to live, Mr. Lermontov?". When he, a little shaken at this audacity, replies haltingly out of character, "Because I - er - must." She says, "That's my answer, too."
A professional dancer is physically as well trained, toned, conditioned, fit and rigorous as any athlete and his or her mind is as technically quick and honed as a martial artist's. Reaction without thinking means being all of this. Added to those demanding qualifications which also apply to an NFL, NBA or PGA athlete, a dancer must also possess deep understanding and mastery of music, grace, poise, art and performance. It's a challenging discipline,being perfect at all costs. It also can consume your life if you're not careful.
Cast of Characters
The ballet company in the story is the Ballet Lermentov, and its founder and iron-fisted ruler is Boris Lermentov, played by Austrian actor, Anton Walbrook. All of the dancers - in fact all of the musicians in the movie - are real-life professionals in their fields; some are virtuosos.
Léonide Massine, was a Ballets Russes dancer and choreographer and also Diaghilev’s protégé in the wake of Nijinsky’s departure. Like Shearer, Massine had never acted before, but one would never guess it from his exceptionally skillful performance as the antic Grischa Ljubov, who is as warm as Boris Lermontov is cold. In the Red Shoes ballet, he plays the shoemaker (a role the film credits him with creating), the weird, long-haired figure who lures the girl into his shop to take the footwear that will both fulfill her dreams and end her life. That Lermontov casts the cheery Grischa in this role is downright diabolical.
Lermentov does seem diabolical much of the time as he seems to use the dancers as a master puppeteer uses his puppets. His word is law and his cold heart is relentless, choosing to ignore the feelings of the heart and the inklings of the flesh. It's not enough that he sets himself high above such things, but he demands it of his puppets, as well, and brooks no exceptions, including the troupe's prima ballerina, Irina Boronskaja.
Boronskaja, whom Vicky will replace at Ballet Lermentov in the story, is played by dancer/actress Ludmilla Tchérina. As prima ballerinas do, she gets all the major parts in the ballet stories produced by the company and has an almost free hand with time schedules and demands on the staff and other musicians, even, at times, on Lermentov himself. The unforgivable, however, occurs when she announces her upcoming marriage. Lermentov demands that his prima ballerina have only one passion, to dance with Ballet Lermentov. There is no leeway. In her first scene, Irina has arrived late (as usual) for rehearsal, simply walking into the theater, carrying herself in such a way that proclaims the instinctive glamour of the ballet world. That aura is carried a step further by Robert Helpmann, who plays Ivan Boleslawsky, a principle male dancer with the troupe. Helpmann also choreographed the dramatic namesake ballet, The Red Shoes for the movie.
When we first see Julian Craster, it is as one of the multitude of eager students crowding into Covert Garden to see the ballet Heart of Fire. In a later scene, as he's trying to get past the security desk and is rescued by Irina, it's as yet unknown that this young composer, played by Marius Goring, will write the music for the namesake ballet and become intimately involved with our heroine, Vicky. Our first iinauspicious acquaintance with his genius was when he and his fellow students realize that the score for Heart of Fire was his and that their Professor Palmer stole it and claimed it as his own with his own title. It was Julian's angry letter to Lermentov complaining about the theft of his score which brought him in contact with the great man and opened up the career opportunities. The professor also plays a part in getting Vicky to Lermentov's attention, but other than that, he is a minor player in the story and fades away after the scene at Vicky's aunt's party at which she meets the mighty man and shakes him up a bit.
Julian rashly writes Lermontov the letter complaining about the theft, but goes the next morning to try to retrieve it unopened, without success. Boris has already read it. From this meeting, an arrangement develops, though, in which Julian becomes the orchestra trainer for the Lermentov Ballet Company and so begins a creative career.
Meanwhile the "uptown" after-the-show party hosted by Vicky's aunt, which is a ruse to get Boris to see Vicky dance is in progress. But when Boris gets word of the plan, he squelches it and heads to the party's bar for a champagne cocktail. He doesn't want to be invited to a party and find himself at an audition. Vicky happens alongside him and orders the same. He is instantly lit up by her beauty and strikes up a conversation about how fortunate they were to be spared the "horror" of some amateur dancing. She immediately informs him that she is "that horror". He's properly embarrassed and she's in good position when he asks her why she wants to dance. The rest is history and he invites her to come to the set the next day.
As the picture shows, in order to see what she can really do, Boris goes talent scouting where she is the main dancer giving an impressive performance on stage at a small theater, leading to his approval for her to dance when she appears on the set, at the same time. as Julian is there to start coaching the orchestra. But both of them are given the Lermentov cold shoulder when they attempt to approach him for acknowledgement, though he is opening doors for them by approving Vicky to join the troupe and soon handing Julian his ticket to advancement: rewriting the score for The Red Shoes.
Vicky rehearses with troupe; is discouraged; Boris peps her up.
Trying to Have it Both Ways
“You cannot have it both ways,” Lermontov tells Grischa, meaning for Vicky to overhear. “The dancer who relies on the doubtful comforts of human love will never be a great dancer. Never.” He refers to Irina Boronskaja, who had just announced to the company that she was leaving to get married, then looked beyond the happy circle of dancers joining in her joy for Lermontov's response, but finds he has quickly left the room upon hearing the happy news. “He has no heart, that man,” says poor Irina poignantly. Of course, he has one, but keeps it well hidden. We detect the depths of his emotions in the picture of Lermontov sitting in his darkened office, brooding.
Or is he merely bemoaning the loss of his prima ballerina, whom, we may be sure, he takes credit for creating? But we soon see that he's found her replacement already. When he invites Vicky to join on the world tour and at the train boarding, Boronskaja approaches him on the concourse. He brushes past her with merely, "Adieu". She stays behind. He can't, won't even extend his regards. She ceases to exist for him.
Enter Victoria Page as new Prima Ballerina
The Plot Thickens
Lermontov explains to him: “The ballet of The Red Shoes is from a fairy tale by Hans Andersen. It is the story of a girl who’s devoured by an ambition to attend a dance in a pair of red shoes. She gets the shoes, goes to the dance. At first, all goes well and she’s very happy. At the end of the evening, she gets tired and wants to go home. But the red shoes are not tired. In fact, the red shoes are never tired. They dance her out into the streets. They dance her over the mountains and valleys, through fields and forests, through night and day. Time rushes by. Love rushes by. Life rushes by. But the red shoes dance on.”
“What happens in the end?” asks Julian. “Oh, in the end, she dies,” says Lermontov, with indifference to the anguish of the poor dancer in the story, which brings to light, once more, his attitude toward human emotions at the same time as it brings again into question whether we may have stumbled into the den of the Prince of Darkness himself!
The pivotal moment in the ballet is electric, built by a crescendo of obsessed dancing and hallucinogenic imagery in which the girl is exhausted, but the shoes compel her to keep dancing. The other partygoers leave, still she dances. Her white frock becomes tattered and stained. Her face is no longer joyous. Her delight has given way to terrible dispair. No one is there to help her; no one can help her. The shoemaker reappears, gloating over her predicament, waiting to rescue the red shoes to tempt the next innocent who comes his way. The outcome is inevitable.
Next, Vicky is summoned and given the lead role in new ballet. She's amazed as she receives her orders, as well, the first bing to abandon her party plans for that evening and go straight to bed, in order to be fresh for the early morning rehearsal.
During the night, though, both Julian and Vicky are too excited to sleep and have both gone out to the veranda overlooking Monte Carlo. The train happens to pass by below this veranda as they compare notes. A friend - collaborator relationship begins, since their projects are mutually allied. Soon Boris has them set up even more closely. She is to take all her meals in a room where he is to be playing the music for the ballet on the grand piano. He tries to give her his vision of birds and clouds flying but to her, just mastering the techniques of getting off the ground at all dominate and that her only. He assures her that his music will pull her through it when she admits that her only vision during the presentation will be a wall to separate her from the audience. They share some disagreements during rehearsals about tempo, which she claims is too fast, but on opening night he tells her to dance whatever tempo she likes; he'll follow it.
It hints that Vicky and Julian's relationship is developing past the collaborators stage, though Lermentov doesn't realize till an accidental event brings it to his notice, which marks the beginnng of disaster. Bear in mind his attitude toward human love and emotions.
Vicky gets the part in Julian's new ballet
Vicky becomes one with the girl in the ballet
She covets the red shoes She is obsessed
The shoes are overwhelming her ability to tell fact from fiction
The Psychodrama-Allegory of the Ballet Within the Movie
But at first, she's enthralled. She wants the red shoes for the party and the little shoemaker lures her to desire them more and more. She resists - but as they distract her again and again the shoemaker entices her and alternately rejects and abandons her until she gives in to her desire.
When finally he sets them upright on the stage, she rushes into them - and magically, they are on, tied and dancing to The Red Shoes theme music Julian has written At first the dancing feels effortless. She happily dances everywhere - with the party goers, up and down the streets and surrounding fields. But as she returns again and again - looking for the shoemaker, who seems to be hiding, the compelling need to keep dancing overtakes her joy.
Soon she's "seeing things' - Her Julian - the orchestra leader - comes onstage and she dances with him - in her imagination - till he becomes Lermentov and then the entire audience becomes the sea. She is so confused - and so weary.
When all the others have left the party and the shoes are still "partying" - she tries to quit. Her mother reaches out of her door to try to grab her hand - but the shoes move her away from her mother's reach, Her white dress is tattered and soiled - but the shoes are still bright and sleek, dancing and dancing endlessly. She's beside herself.
The breeze blows a castoff newspaper around and it seems to be dancing - she takes hold of it like a partner - and it turns into her partner briefly.
She collapses on the church stair, but the shoes are pulling her to rise and continue dancing as the shoemaker appears and hands her a knife to cut them off. but when she raises the knife, it becomes a leafy twig which she casts off, where it resumes the form of the knife and lodges in the floor. She is helpless and exhausted; the death knoll sounds. Her partying friends come out in mourning to dance-march the final sequence.
When she indicates she wants the shoes removed Ivan and the shoemaker unlace them and the shoemaker gathers them up and lovingly returns them to the display window in his store - surely to await another gullible innocent. The final ballet scene is his gloatng over them.
But the story is only partly told. The insistence of the slippers is Lermontov's insistence that she dance for him and reserve her entire being for the dance.
Vicky and Julian fall in love
But there is a fly in the ointment.
During the preparation and presentation of The Red Shoes, Julian and Vicky are literally thrown together in constant close contact and, sure enough - Cupid strikes. Their continued contact on the tour, as she dances and he conducts the orchestra helps develop and maintain the momentum begun by their mutual attraction as it deepens. They say incredibly sweet and loving words to each other in moments of privacy when they are beyond the spotlight of audiences and Lermentov.
On one occasion when they are headed off together, Boris had planned to ask her to dinner, but she was nowhere to be found. A party for Grischa's birthday known to be in progress was finally offered as the explanation of her whereabouts, leading Boris to go to the party, where he doesn't find her and during which the lovebirds' situation is revealed.
His antenna become acutely attuned and when he catches them in an embrace in her dressing room, his anger erupts, but he doesn't lash out or retaliate to Vicky. In his typical autocratic way, he manages to push Julian into quitting, which involves scrapping his latest ballet, a major frustration to the other dancers who are rehearsing it enthusiastically. In fact, Grischa threatens to leave too, but eventually that is reversed. But when Vicky threatens to leave if Julian is going, she follows through and joins Julian as he leaves.
They marry and Boris manipulates situations so he can offer Irina the lead dancer role again without losing face, but he's merely biding his time for the right opportunity to lure Vicky back. This happens when she comes to Monte Carlo with her aunt on holiday while Julian is at Covert Garden presenting his new opera's opening night. Boris arranges a chance meeting and entices her to come back and dance The Red Shoes, which no one else has ever danced or ever will, he promises her. He's deleted it from the repertoire to reserve it for this chance to lure Vicky back. He's denied her nothing legally but claims possession of all that Julian created while under contract to him. He's even read letters she writes to others in the troupe when away to keep tabs on her frame of mind so as to better watch for his opportunity.
The lure of the Red Shoes again captures Vicky
She's in costume backstage, preparing for the presentation when Julian arrives, having abandoned his own main passion to be at his opening night to come to her rescue. A dramatic scene takes place in which Boris comes in to see what is happening, and becomes involved, so that Vicki is being pulled between them, Boris representing her love of dance and Julian representing her human love. Each of them passionately presents his offer to her. She tells Julian she loves him more than anyone. He agrees but says she loves "this" more and leaves as Boris is bad-mouthing him and the shabby life he offers her all the while.
She's crumbled and confused, but the ballet draws her, with the help of Boris whispering how her audience and fame await. She staggers to he feet as her assistant hands her the red shoes to put on, torn, tear-soaked and miserable as she is.
The shoes go on and Julian leaves. Out in the hall on the way to the stage, the shoes begin to move her in the opposite direction - back toward the veranda. They race her down the hallway, to the spiral staircase leading down and the stairs to the veranda. She rushes faster than lightning to look down below for Julian - to the edge of the veranda. She sees him walking away on the concourse far below, and reaches out - - - oblivious to the drop-off or the train passing below; and she tumbles over the railing onto the track. Julian has seen her running and was rushing toward her, trying to stop her from her fate below. . . to no avail.
He makes it to the site of her fall, where she is bloodied and dying. She asks him to remove the red shoes before she expires.
Inside, the orchestra has begun The Red Shoes Overture and the audience awaits.
Lermontov tells the audience of the tragedy.
The tragic conclusion
Meanwhile, Boris emerges to face the audience in front of the curtains. His face is devastated, there are even tears on his cheeks. The audience gasps. A distraught staff and troupe are weeping but they take up the stiff upper lip when Lermentov announces Vicky will not be able to perform that evening, nor, indeed any other evening but that The Red Shoes will go on, as, he says, she would have wished.
So we see Ivan fetching an invisible girl from her door to join with friends and he dances her empty spotlight over to where the shoemaker entices her to look at the red shoes.
The remainder of the ballet with an invisible leading lady is left to our imaginations till the shoes have been removed from her expired feet and body and once again the shoemaker has gathered them up - and, in front of his store window, projects and offers them again for the next unwary victim.
The candle is burned down and melted ~
FINISThis tragic tale strikes a chord with me and thousands of others. It reminds me that your work matters. But so does your health, your relationships, your happiness. In the end, you are in charge. If it feels like your life is being dictated by your work, or that your work has become your entire life, you need to pull back. I don’t want to make a living out of my obsession. I want to have my life, and have it fully: I want to love my work, but not to be defined by it.
And I find myself returning to the question "Why do you want to dance?" Perhaps the real question should be: Do you want to dance at the expense of living?
Video Discussing the Making of the film
Monday, December 6, 2010
Recently, ballet dancers and the emphasis on being thin has been brought to the forefront in the UK with the Video Pledge to Stamp Out Ballet Eating Disorders, issued by Tamara Rojo, new artistic director of the English Ballet. But, as the video also states, changing the mindset of young dancers is easier said than done.
Eating disorders affect thousands of people throughout the world. A select group, young female ballet dancers, are molded into thinking that the only way to succeed with their dream is to be thin. Why is there such a high incidence of anorexia nervosa in ballet dancers? A look at some of the causes of anorexia gives an indication of why ballet dancers are at high risk of getting this disease. It also applies to many figure skaters and gymnasts, who are often under pressure from coaches and judges who tend to favor a thin body.
One reason for becoming anorexic is the need to obtain perfection. A perfectionist desires excellence in all aspects of her life. She will stay up all night to make sure her closet is in order alphabetically or iron all of her clothes once a week to make sure they do not become creased. A perfectionist will scrub her nails each morning to make sure they shine. She will stop eating to fit her opinion of the ideal, impeccable person. A perfectionist seeks flawlessness and when she finds that flawlessness is not met she will do something to make it ideal. If an obsessive person thinks to be perfect is to be thin, then she will diet. A perfectionist also likes to be better than her equal. If she sees someone with a waist an inch smaller, her waist must be two inches smaller. She must be better than all others.
Anorexics usually desire control over their lives. They feel they have a lack of control in their lives and the only thing that they control is what they put in their bodies. Their teachers control their marks and their parents control what they do, wear or the time they must arrive home at night. Their friends control where they go and that leaves one thing left in life to control: their diet. A person desiring control feels that her life is out of control and she is falling out of control. They feel that they have no life, no meaning and they feel that nothing is theirs. The one thing they find that is theirs is their body. They can control their body, put what they want into it or put nothing at all.
Anorexics also shows signs that they feel incompetent. When a person feels that she is no good at anything and find she has the control not to eat for extended periods of time, she find she is good at something. If a person who gets poor grades in school, is told by her parents that she will never do anything worthwhile, is told by her siblings that she is stupid, it hurts the person and makes her feel incompetent. When they start to lose weight and people around them say they look good or that they are finally doing a good job at dieting, the person is inclined to please even more. "If people like me like this, wait until they see me a few pounds lighter. Then wait until I am even lighter than that."
Causes Due to outside Pressure:
With many pressures on a ballet dancer, the greatest pressure is on being lean. This pressure is what drives a dancer to be anorexic. A ballerina has many pressures on her but the pressure to be thin comes before all others. The pressures of media are the first pressures that a young girl will notice when developing into a young woman. She will be looking through a catalogue looking for new clothes and see that all of the models have beautiful, little figures. She will see pretty girls with no acne or noticeable birth marks. She will get the impression that the pictures are how people should look when they become older. As a young dancer gets older she will see pictures of the best dancers in the world. They are characterized with narrow hips, little or no fat deposits, slim middle, small breasts, delicate looking arms and their height is short. A young dancer who views this feels that unless she shares these characteristics she will never be the girl in the picture. The media pressure girls to be perfect. They do not display people who are anything but the ideal and this can have a lasting effect on young girls.
Dance teachers also pressure their young students to be like their slender heroines. In classes they are told to hold up their stomachs, making them look thin from a side view. Once during class, Kristi, a girl who was interviewed, was told by her dance teacher not to eat before class because it made her look fat. This put her off eating because she went to over seven classes a week, this left no time to eat. The girls look up to their dance teacher, whom as their mentor has the control to forecast the girls' outcome of eating patterns. If she makes it an important issue to be thin in order to be a good dancer, then the girls are more likely to become anorexic and lose the weight to satisfy their teachers expectations. If the teacher does not pressure the girls to be thin, they have a better chance of not falling into the cycle of anorexia.
Pressures put onto a girl from her parents are hard to deal with. If a girl entering adolescence still has some baby fat on her, she may not realize that the fat on her will be used wisely by her body to fully mature into womanhood. This lack of knowledge may deter her, and think that she has to get rid of this extra fat that she has. If parents tell their children that they are fat and need to lose the weight the children listen. As far as they are concerned their parents are always right and would never tell them something that did not need to be done. Parents who allow their daughters to feel fat because of something they may have said are just as much to blame for the development of the disease as the daughters. This is because the daughters have always looked up to their parents. Then, if their parents start to find fault with their daughters and their figures the daughters will immediately respond by loosing weight immediately.
The Ballet Physique:
A ballet dancer is very aware of what her body looks like. At each practice she attends she wears skin-tight clothes and dances strenuously in front of large mirrors. A dancer has to look at herself for many hours in a day and this can cause a realization in the dancer. The general public may look in the mirror for a few minutes a day, hardly aware of what they really look like, but a dancer has no choice but to stand in front of a mirror and compare herself with others in the room. Seeing others thinner than she, could prompt a dancer to lose a few pounds to look as small as the other dancers in the room. As each one does this the room of dancers becomes very small. Anorexia seems like the best way to become the smallest dancer in the class.
Another reason dancers would want to be small is that they have to jump high, spin fast and balance on their toes for extended periods of time. If a dancer weighs much or her weight changes frequently these steps are difficult to execute. A dancer has to know her body weight and be able to balance with no exterior problems. Extra weight changes the balance of the body. It takes more strength to get up in the air, more time to do the move, and it's harder to land. A dancer also has to be conscious that a man has to be able to carry her for extended lifts and holds. Knowing she can dance better with a smaller weight convinces a dancer that she must stay thin at all costs.
A dancer is usually seeking perfection in the steps that she executes. If she does not she will never reach a professionals level. Because many dancer are perfectionists, they feel the need has to be flawless. All dancers know that to get into a dance company of choice they have to look like the other girls in the ballet world so that when they get on stage they all look the same. The dancers know this and before applying for a dance company make sure that their bodies conform to the ideals of the dance company. Although not all dancers or schools place as much emphasis on being thin as in the past, this self-destructive ideal still exists and, sadly, is ruining many young lives.
12 WARNING SIGNS OF ANOREXIA
How can you tell the difference between normal weight loss and an eating disorder? If you are concerned about a student or colleague, here are some warning signs.
1. Dance becomes lethargic and shows a loss of athletic power. Has a hard time retaining stamina through long combinations.
2. Has trouble concentrating and/or memorizing phrases.
3. Starts wearing baggier clothes to hide body
4. Constantly chews gum or drinks coffee and diet sodas (if this is a dramatic change).
5. Gets light-headed or dizzy while dancing.
6. A once outgoing dancer might attempt to hide in the crowd or move to the edges of the studio to draw less attention to herself.
7. Depression and becoming withdrawn.
A documentary made by David Kinsella shows the pressures faced by a young ballet student in Russia, which can be read about here: A Beautiful Tragedy
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Love - First and foremost, children require unlimited, unconditional love in order to thrive and reach their full potential. Love for a child should not be held back in any way, shape, or form. Instead, children should be repeatedly told, and shown, that they are loved and honored. Each child should feel confident in the knowledge that he or she is a unique creation, and that his or her very presence in the world is a wondrous miracle.
Time and Attention - Another essential gift that all children deserve is a parent's time and undivided attention. Quality time, without the distraction of checking messages or doing other chores, spent with children develops lifelong positive memories for them, and increases their levels of comfort and security. Playing games with your children, reading to them, and listening to their thoughts and concerns allows them to grow into happy, healthy, and whole individuals.
A Voice - We can give so much just by paying attention to a loved one, really listening, showing that we’re interested in what they have to say and showing that what they say is important and respected. Too often children might talk to us but are only met with a disinterested nod or other small acknowledgment, or we’ll make light or fun of what they say, as if it’s not important. But giving a person a voice, and showing that their words and opinions matter, will have a long-lasting different in their lives.
A Healthy Lifestyle - When you spend time with children, try to do so while enjoying a healthy and fun activity, such as going on a hike, playing a sport, tossing around a Frisbee, going for a walk or jog, doing some yard work, and so on. When you get together to eat, try to eat healthy foods. Make the habits of good health a part of your lifestyle, and encourage children to do the same — it could save their lives.
Belief in Them - Simply believing in another person, and showing that in your words and in your deeds, can make a huge difference. Studies of people who grew up in dysfunctional homes but who grew up to be happy and successful show that the one thing they had in common was a significant adult who believed in them. Do this for your child, and for the adult loved ones in your life as well. Support their dreams and passions and hobbies. Participate with them. Be nothing but encouraging. Be their greatest cheerleader. Whether they actually accomplish these dreams or not, your belief is of unlimited importance to them.
When we truly focus our attention not on the material aspects of life, but on the lasting impressions that we can leave on our children, we all benefit beyond measure.
How did we get through the work day before YouTube? What did we talk about before we spread viral videos? YouTube is a life-saver when it comes to finding ways to waste time that feel somehow productive, and it’s probably because some of the best videos on the social site feature people doing something impressive that most other people can’t do. And by watching these videos, it’s almost like we’re taking part in the art and not just looking for ways to pass the time. But that could just be wild speculation; maybe the point of watching something like an awesome dance video is just to watch an awesome dance video and add a little pep in your day. While you try to decide which it is, give these dance videos a look. They’re famous for a reason. (And no, before you go looking, Evolution of Dance didn’t make the cut. Too overdone.)
- Nicholas Brothers in Stormy Weather: The 1943 musical Stormy Weather was one of the few from the era to give a prominent role to black musicians and performers. This clip featuring a glorious tap routine from Harold and Fayard Nicholas is as jaw-dropping today as it was when the film was released.
- Insane Robot Dance: This is sick. At first it feels like a pretty typical student talent show, with young boys doing some solid robot moves. But then a kid in a red shirt starts dancing around the 0:45 mark and just blows the doors off.
- JK Wedding Entrance Dance: Yes, it’s been seen by everyone, and yes, it’s more than a little weird to dance down the aisle to a song by a guy guilty of domestic violence. But the video remains one of the best dance clips on YouTube for the genuine and infectious joy evident throughout. The men and women involved aren’t great dancers, they’re just happy to be celebrating a wedding. Who can’t get behind that?
- Train Station Dance (Belgium) Sound of Music: Many of the most popular flash mob videos are just highly choreographed commercials (this one’s for a reality show), but that doesn’t make them any less entertaining. This clip used a remix of "Do-Re-Mi" from The Sound of Music to win the crowd.
- Flawless: This dance troupe performance from Britain’s Got Talent is your typical story of struggling artists making good on a national stage, and their moves are some of the best you’ll see on a competition show.
- Wedding Thriller Dance: Everyone from high schoolers to Filipino prisoners have uploaded videos of themselves performing the "Thriller" dance, but this wedding reception rendition is one of the best.
- Fast Swing Dancing — ULHS 2006: The contestants in the 2006 Ultimate Lindy Hop Competition are better at dancing than you or I will ever be. There’s no other way to say it.
- Dancing at the Movies: This four-minute supercut of great dancing moments from the movies is completely entertaining. Plus it’s set to Kenny Loggins’ "Footloose," and if that doesn’t make you move your feet, you are probably dead inside.
- Amazing Coordinated Samsung Dance: The amazing thing about this massively choreographed group dance is that it stops feeling like people dancing and starts feeling like one single animated piece of art that’s started to move on its own. Plus, the dancers seem to somehow multiply around 0:55, which will blow your mind.
- The T-Mobile Dance: Again, even though it’s a cannily manufactured ad designed to go viral, this group dance video sponsored by T-Mobile is undeniably entertaining and just plain fun. Great moves, fantastic crowd reactions, and total skill from the dancers. That’s how you do it.