Too many questions…just Shine On!

14 Oct

This is going to be a weird post.  I was recently reminded of one of my favorite movies, B.A.P.S., starring Halle Berry and Natalie Desselle.  I have to preface by saying this is one of those movies that you wouldn’t think would be that good, but it’s actually really charming.  The plot has little to do with dance, although the impetus for getting the two homegirls from Georgia, Nisi (Berry) and Mickey (Desselle) to LA is that they blow their life savings on a pipe dream that Nisi will become a famous music video dance girl for some rapper.  She is of course, way out of her league but there is a scene where she is standing in line for the cattle call audition, and she has a little throwdown with a jazz dancer.  It is, quite possibly the funniest thing I think Halle Berry has ever done, and you know I love it when someone dances funny!:

Sure, she needed a reality check (and she got it), but you have to appreciate a person who puts in their all, regardless of what the end product is.  Honesty and dishonesty is kind of the central theme of the movie, and how good people are good people, no matter where they come from.  Also, that dreams are worth pursuing and sometimes it takes an unconventional and unexpected way to get there (their original dream is to open a combination hair salon/restaurant).  Although B.A.P.S. got some scathing critical reviews (many of which I found overly pretentious anyway.  Seriously, some people need to learn to SMILE more often), it seems to resonate well with actual people who aspire to achieve something great.  There are a number of laugh-out-loud scenes, and I won’t go through them because those definitely have nothing to do with dance, but I will say that one involves the orange vinyl suit Nisi is wearing in that audition, and a disastrous encounter with a bidet, due to an unenlightened state of its actual purpose.  The reason I bring this up is because the song that was playing during that debacle I immediately recognized as the Allegro Assai from Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Recorders in D Minor, a song that was on the very first CD I ever bought.  Small world!  Oh, and the song at the end of the movie is dare I say, kick ass…although the movie version is a cover and not available in the soundtrack (or apparently anywhere on Earth), the original song is Shine On by Cindy Mizelle and Tony Moran, with the radio edit being the closest to the movie track.  A must for any jazz class playlist, or if like me, you need an upbeat song to wake you up from the dead every morning.

Download Link for Shine On

Even though the dance aspect of this movie is thin, it got me thinking about dance, the pursuit of dreams and taking risks.  How can dancers balance a sense of honesty about their expectations, neither overestimating their abilities nor depreciating them?  Or how do dancers decide whether it’s worth pursuing their dreams, or how should the people around them either support that pursuit or maybe tell them it’s okay to consider other options?  And how can dancers retain a sense of identity and who they are, when they constantly have choreographers, artistic directors and the like telling them what to do and how to do things?  How can dancers stay sane in a world that is so wonderful and yet one of the cruelest “businesses” out there?  Does the sun make noise?  I have a million questions swirling around in my mind when I think about this, because it’s such a sensitive topic.  I don’t think there’s a right answer because it’s so different for each individual.  I mean, I want to run through the hills telling everyone they should try to pursue their dance dreams, but I’d have to do so knowing that many are inevitably going to be hurt by the process…and is that necessarily a good thing?  The ethics of the situation are killing my fairy tales and sunshine brain.

Come to think of it, I’m not even sure what my role is in the world of dance.  I always find that it’s much easier for me to encourage other people than it is to encourage myself.  I have a knack for analyzing situations, computing the possibilities, and playing the optimist for others…it comes naturally for me.  I have been told this on many an occasion, that I’m an awesome “supporter,” but what does that mean?  Does it mean I should be doing the thing I am deficient at and challenge myself to take risks or does it mean I should do what I’m good at and be a loving patron of the arts?  Hypothetically speaking, if I were to win the lottery, I’d be faced with the choice of taking the risk or being the philanthropist, and I’m not sure what I would do.  What about my dreams of dancing?  What exactly are my dreams of dancing?  I don’t even know, and it bothers me that the one person I can’t seem to help is myself.  But you know what they say…those who see everything are typically blind to themselves.

Anyway, that was probably fifty more questions than necessary but it’s the thought process that haunts me every now and then, more so lately as I struggle to find a job and in addition to the struggle of figuring out what I should be doing in life!  (and where!  This town is driving me nuts!) I’m beginning to think…well, I’m pretty sure at this point I know since I have a tendency to be one of those “black and white with my heart set on it” kind of people, that there is probably one job in the entire world that’s right for me, which would make things easy…if I knew what it was.  But as Nisi would say “good things come in threes” so when things are good, they might just be triple good and maybe it’s a matter of looking for the signs in the tea leaves.  To others out there who are in a similar boat, or dare I say the same one, chances are you think too much.  So in an effort to encourage, I’m about to get all saccharine and motivational on you…just listen to Cindy Mizelle and “Shine on!”

B.A.P.S. in 10 parts on YouTube:

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2 Responses to “Too many questions…just Shine On!”

  1. Elise October 15, 2009 at 2:47 pm #

    great post !

    • youdancefunny October 16, 2009 at 5:30 pm #

      Thanks! I’m glad you like it!

      (Nice blog, too! I’ll defos be checking it out!)

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