Let’s take our minds off politics for a while, shall we?
Here’s a video of the fleet-footed, technically adept, incredibly klutzy and profoundly uninteresting (to me) Savion Glover, giant of tap dancing for the last couple of decades:
And here are the Nicholas Brothers, from the 40s. They’re impressively elegant and terrifying at the same time. And if you don’t think those two things can co-exist, just take a look (be patient; it builds and builds and builds):
Reviewer Alastair Macauley of the NY Times agrees with me about Savion Glover’s curiously off-putting and even unpleasant style:
The tap choreographer-dancer Savion Glover is a puzzle. He is the most famous tap dancer to have emerged in decades. He has been hailed as the greatest tap dancer who has ever lived by people well qualified to pass such judgment. He is the man who has done most to make tap a youthful genre again. But it is hard to think of a celebrated dancer performing today who is more tedious, more devoid of stage sense, more undancerly and more lacking in musicianship.
The review goes on, and contains nothing but complaints about Glover, such as this:
I’ve never seen a tap dancer whose execution looked so disembodied. It isn’t just that from the ankle up he does so little. It’s that from the ankle up he’s an ungainly bore, without physical grace or line or intensity.
I second the motion. But I don’t think it’s really about Glover. He’s a sign of our times, part of a general dance trend in favor of meaningless and extreme technique at the expense of everything else, including what makes dance joyful and meaningful.
The Nicholas Brothers were the opposite. As was the incomparable Fred Astaire (the dancing starts at about minute 1:35, after the singing):
And of course, this segue is irresistible: