Sia's "Elastic Heart": Weirdly Uncomfortable or Just Weird?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you’ve seen singer/songwriter Sia’s (bizarre, minimalist) video for her newest track, “Elastic Heart.” The video features  “Dance Moms” superstar Maddie Ziegler and movie star Shia LaBeouf inside a giant, domed cage, alternately grappling with and supporting each other. There’s been some internet outrage over the two performers’ outfits (Ziegler and LeBeouf wear a nude leotard and nude briefs, respectively) and perceived sexual subtext.

But others feel differently. Thought Catalog writer Ann Midori and The Guardian’s Barbara Ellen argue that the only reason people find this video inappropriate is that they aren’t used to seeing male dancers perform this type of dance to popular music. Midori and Ellen point out what every dance teacher out there already knows: Only a small fraction of boys take dance class growing up—and those who do often endure bullying. If more boys danced, Midori says, this video wouldn’t seem so jarring and definitely wouldn’t come across as sexually inappropriate. Ellen wonders if people would have reacted the same way if the video were performed by two girls.

What do you think? Does “Elastic Heart” make you uncomfortable? Is it just a weird, intense dance?


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Alwin Courcy, courtesy Ballet des Amériques

Carole Alexis has been enduring the life-altering after-effects of COVID-19 since April 2020. For months on end, the Ballet des Amériques director struggled with fevers, tingling, dizziness and fatigue. Strange bruising showed up on her skin, along with the return of her (long dormant) asthma, plus word loss and stuttering.

"For three days I would experience relief from the fever—then, boom—it would come back worse than before," Alexis says. "I would go into a room and not know why I was there." Despite the remission of some symptoms, the fatigue and other debilitating side effects have endured to this day. Alexis is part of a tens-of-thousands-member club nobody wants to be part of—she is a COVID-19 long-hauler.

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Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

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Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

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