WhyNotWednesday: Polunin Parodies

After an internet sensation come the internet send-ups. Earlier this year, Sergei Polunin starred in a dance music video to the song “Take Me to Church” by Hozier. It was a viral hit. Then, parody videos began surfacing, featuring male movers making self-deprecating homages to Polunin’s powerhouse performance.

The first features actor and dancer Tim Lacatena (you may recognize him from Step Up) startling tourists and getting in trouble with security guards as he emotes in nude tights all over Los Angeles. The second was created by some genius in his garage, complete with Sharpie-drawn tattoos and—we have to assume—confused neighbors. Needless to say, neither dancer hesitates to play up the melodrama. Enjoy…

 

News
Layeelah Muhammad, courtesy DAYPC

This summer's outcry to fully see and celebrate Black lives was a wake-up call to dance organizations.

And while many dance education programs are newly inspired to incorporate social justice into their curriculums, four in the San Francisco Bay area have been elevating marginalized youth and focusing on social change for decades.

GIRLFLY, Grrrl Brigade, The Alphabet Rockers and Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company fuse dance with education around race, gender, climate change and more, empowering young artists to become leaders in their communities. Here's how they do it.

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Teacher Voices
Getty Images

I often teach ballet over Zoom in the evenings, shortly after sunset. Without the natural light coming from my living room window, I drag a table lamp next to my portable barre so that the computer's camera can see me clearly enough. I prop the laptop on a chair taken from the kitchen and then spend the next few hours running back and forth between the computer screen of Zoom tiles and my makeshift dance floor.

Much of this setup is the result of my attempts to recreate the most important aspects of an in-person dance studio: I have a barre, a floor and as much space as I can reasonably give myself within a small apartment. I do not, however, have a mirror, and neither do most of my students.

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Music
Allie Burke, courtesy Lo Cascio

If you'd hear it on the radio, you won't hear it in Anthony Lo Cascio's tap classes.

"If I play a song that my kids know, I'm kind of disappointed in myself," he says. "I either want to be on the cutting edge or playing the classics."

He finds that most of today's trendy tracks lack the depth needed for tap, and that there's a disconnect between kids and popular music. "They have trouble finding the beat compared to older genres," he says.

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