Did you see Twitch and Kherington last night? That dance was so beautiful it brought me to tears. I’ve now watched it five times and I find it more amazing each time.
I don’t consider all dance to be art. Some dance is entertainment, which can be fun, interesting, powerful, shocking, even beautiful. Some dance is just movement to a rhythm, which can be pleasurable to the dancer, but is pretty boring to watch even if well done. But sometimes dance qualifies as art. If art is “a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist’s metaphysical value judgments,” then to be art, a dance must convey something, through movement, about man or about the world he lives in. Since dance is performed to music, another art form, one might say it is just an enhancement, but I think dance can bring a whole new meaning to a piece of music. I haven’t found that there is any type of dance that always qualifies as art. Depending on the choreography, I’ve seen dance as art in individual performances of all types: ballet, contemporary, even hip hop. But it is a rare thing.
It was very interesting to see the passionately different reactions of the judges to the waltz last night. They all loved the choreography and the technique of the dancers, but that didn’t mean they all loved the piece as a work of art. Mia Michaels found Kherington’s smile to be out of place in the piece, saying that she thought there should be “more reality” in her performance. The other judges found her expression to be joyful and uplifting. Mia responded that she could see what they meant, that there was a “beauty and an innocence” in her face, but that, in her opinion, it was “a little glossy.” Nigel Lythgoe pointed out that the couple “breathed together” and “felt the music together.” Mary Murphy said she knew what the choreographer was feeling about his theme, parenthood. The judges found different things to be important, depending on their view of man and of reality. Nigel and Mary were focused on the grace and beauty and were pleased with the consistency of the performance with the style of the waltz. Both seemed to recognize something in the relationship of the dancers to each other and to the music. It touched them – it resonated with their sense of what life is about. For Mia however, the dance clashed with her view of reality, which she implicitly acknowledged by positing a joyful smile and reality as opposites.
The main reason this dance worked as art was its integration. The theme of both the music and the dance was parenthood. Some movements were literal, such as Twitch holding and rocking Kherington like a baby, but most conveyed the feelings of parenthood through their graceful flow and the delicate way the dancers touched each other. The lighting was low and in blue tones, evoking the peace and stillness you might feel watching your baby sleep. The costumes where simple, loose and white, representing the innocence of the baby. The two dancers really did feel the music – they got it. The emotion on both of their faces summed up everything.
I loved this dance so much that I have to buy Celine Dion’s “A New Day Has Come.” That song will now always have a meaning to me it didn’t before.