August 9th, 2013

This may just be the cutest baby elephant video ever

Of course, I haven’t seen all the baby elephant videos in the world, so we can’t be certain.

But I think I’m on safe ground when I assert that it’s probably the cutest baby-elephant-in-an-inflatable-swimming-pool video ever:

And it almost immediately reminded me of this, which features a hippo in a pool:

That hippo dance from Disney’s “Fantasia” works not only on the level of humor, but of movement as well. It is a fabulous spoof of ballet, too, featuring authentic ballet steps performed exactly as one would imagine a hippo would perform them if a hippo were able to do ballet. Those early Disney animators were geniuses at that sort of thing; it’s my humble and curmudgeonly opinion that recent Disney computer animation has none of the same magic.

A little more YouTube research informed me that the inspiration for the Fantasia hippo dance above, in particular the prima’s grand entrance, was this choreography by George Balanchine for his then-wife Vera Zorina as a water nymph in the 1938 movie “The Goldwyn Follies.” Zorina herself bore very little resemblance to a hippo, as you will see:

And just to come full circle, here’s more of that sequence from Fantasia. Unfortunately I can’t find the section I’m looking for, with an elephant chorus blowing bubbles from their trunks. But this is a portion of the finale, which brings back all the animal dancers—including, for one very brief moment, the elephants. The choreography is a brilliant send-up of the cliches of dance, and expresses the feel of the music about as well as most serious classical ballet old chestnuts do:

12 Responses to “This may just be the cutest baby elephant video ever”

  1. Smock Puppet, Gadfly, Racist, Bon Vivant, All In One Tidy Package!! Says:

    }}} it’s my humble and curmudgeonly opinion that recent Disney computer animation has none of the same magic.

    I presume you’re not including Pixar, there. They do very very well on story in a way that I think the old cartoons are weaker, while still doing pretty well on the animation front.

    Animation was, back then, still targeting children as the baseline, though, which is why the stories were “weak” by standards of something typical of Pixar (still far better than any Saturday morning cartoon of the last 50 years, though).

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    Smock Puppet:

    I’m not referring to story lines. I’m referring to what I’m writing about in this post, which is the quality of the animation, in particular the quality of the movement when spoofing things like dance.

    However, I don’t like Pixar either. I discuss it here.

  3. Mn Jack Says:

    Hey, they stole that music from Alan Sherman!

  4. rickl Says:

    Off topic, but I saw a good quote the other day:

    “An elephant is a mouse built to government specifications.”

    Supposedly it’s from Heinlein.

  5. Beverly Says:

    I took a seven-year-old to see Fantasia. A precocious little chit. When we got to the bit with the dancing Hippo, she leaned over to whisper confidingly, “I know why he’s interested in her.”

    “Oh? Why is that?”

    “Because she’s not wearing any underpants.

    Good Grief.

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    Hey, that’s my zoo! If you ever have a chance to visit, it is one of the fine zoos of the world — extremely child friendly.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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