Talkin bout Bad Boys

4 Sep

I’ve been a little cranky the past few days, for no particular reason, just having a lot of frustration with different things.  Fortunately, my Manon soundtrack that I bought on Amazon arrived today and it brings back such good memories.  To date, this is by far my favorite soundtrack that I’ve purchased, because it’s not fluffy and grandiose like some of the classics or creepy like Prokofiev.  I was a musician before a wannabe dancer, so for me, what I love most about Jules Massenet’s works that are pieced together for the ballet is the depth and warmth.  My favorite part is the music after Des Grieux’s solo in the courtyard in the first act, where there is this stunning melody that deliciously harmonizes the oboe, violin and cello.  If I recall correctly, it’s the music for the first pas de deux between Des Grieux and Manon, and it makes me melt so much more than the famous bedroom pas de deux.  Overall, Massenet and the orchestrators (Leighton Lucas and Hilda Grant according to my handy dandy library copy of The Ballet Goer’s Guide) did a really wonderful job, especially because virtuoso violin work can get really screechy at times, but it remains really docile and sensual throughout the soundtrack.  Yum!

Meanwhile, yesterday was my first session with Horatio and it kinda sorta really hurt.  A lot.  Especially on my quads, where the recommendation is to stop on tender spots and wait for the discomfort to diminish but I had tenderness and pain every single millimeter so I’m getting the feeling that years of a sedentary lifestyle have left my quads a conglomeration of big fat knots.  I’m not really surprised, but I never expected that they were THIS bad.  Although on the topic of thighs, I read an article this morning that said larger thighs were possibly an indicator of longevity (although not necessarily associated).  People who gain the “spare tire” had higher incidences of heart disease, whereas people who gained weight in their thighs lived longer.  See, I knew there was no reason to be ashamed of having raw materials.

In other news, I’ve been watching the US Open, and they do these technique snippets where the commentators will demonstrate some moves for viewers at home, one of which they called “the pirouette.”  This involves an extended backhand usually, and then a quick pivot away from the court to run back towards the center, and of course geeky me was thinking “that’s no pirouette…it’s a détourné.”  I tried to be a good Samaritan nerd and find a way to contact the broadcasters and inform them of this little misunderstanding, but alas, I could not find such means of contact.  Looks like some dance vocabulary is going to make its way into tennis lingo, even if it is inaccurate.  I still love tennis though, although I wouldn’t recommend it for dancers because it makes your body develop very lopsided.  My right forearm is a lot bigger than my left one, my right shoulder rotates differently from the left…it’s just a hot mess.

Anyway, so back to dance related dance, last night I heard about a dancer, Rasta Thomas via twitter.  Having the time on my hands that I do, I checked out his website and looked for videos on the tube, and I really like his companies’ work.  For one thing, I was cranky at the time so I was kind of in the mood for something angsty, which is out of character because usually my friend Nacho is the one that goes for this kind of stuff (she has rage issues) while I gravitate towards…well I don’t know.  Anyway, one of his companies, The Bad Boys of Dance does some really dynamic, acrobatic dance that is grounded in ballet but draws influences from other forms of movement as well, including martial arts (urrrrgh).  Now normally, the so-called contemporary dance genre is not my favorite because it turns into a circus of gymnastic tricks in a sexualized “look what can I do!” display, but I have to say Bad Boys is the most intelligent and thoughtful presentation of this kind of dance, and I really enjoy it (even the martial arts influence…hoy!).  When it comes to “contemporary,” there’s a good way to do it and a bad way to do it and Bad Boys is very good.  There’s obvious concern for artistic intent, which to me makes the difference in this genre, because a lot of times there are plenty of athletic dancers who have the hat tricks, so how the dance is expressed becomes the cornerstone of defining it.  To me, weakness in expression is most exposed in “contemporary,” and a lot of dances end up looking the same with no differences between them.  But it’s great to see Thomas’ Bad Boys successfully present modernized virtuoso dancing that is easily absorbed by a range of audiences that include crotchety classicists like me and young-uns.

Here’s a trailer for Bad Boys, and apparently one of the pieces uses that song for Requiem for a Dream, which unfortunately I despise (that song and Maurice Ravel’s Bolero are two of my most hated songs in all of life), but I really hope to see them live someday!

And just for kickity-dees, a solo by Rasta Thomas to some MJ.  Love it!

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4 Responses to “Talkin bout Bad Boys”

  1. The Ballet Bag September 5, 2009 at 5:08 pm #

    These guys are very cool indeed (I am a sucker for anything with a martial arts connection – that’s my background…)! Is Rasta Thomas the guy who tweeted he was “Drew Jacoby” in the personality test? If so, that’s also how I first heard about him, ha, ha!

    Best,

    E.

    • youdancefunny September 5, 2009 at 8:07 pm #

      Yes indeed! That’s the exact same tweet I saw!

  2. Adrienne Canterna-Thomas September 15, 2009 at 10:27 am #

    Thank you for those kind words… as resident choreographer for BBD i’m happy to please any and all dance fans 🙂 i apologize we don’t have better footage on youtube or more recent footage for that matter. we’re currently on tour in Europe with our show ROCK the Ballet which i also choreographed and Rasta & the Bad Boys & i star in… hope to see you at a show… peace, A

    • youdancefunny September 15, 2009 at 5:02 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by! I actually think you guys have awesome footage on youtube…don’t want to give everything away after all, but just enough to make them hungry. Have a blast in Europe, heard the gelatto is choice!

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