There were a lot of things to feel somber about in the lead-up to last night's Grammy Awards. The ceremony was clouded by the recent controversial suspension of Deborah Dugan, the Recording Academy's brand-new president and CEO. And the tragic death of basketball icon Kobe Bryant just hours before the telecast meant that celebs arriving for the red carpet were met outside the Staples Center by a crowd of mourning Lakers fans.
How did the Grammy performers respond to all that bleakness? With power, emotion, and—frequently—truly great dancing. Almost every performance last night included dance in some form.
Here are the dance highlights of the evening.
Lizzo Found Her Black Swans
Lizzo and Sasha Flute said "PERIOD!" #GRAMMYs https://t.co/uMQBQ0oWPp— MTV NEWS (@MTV NEWS)1580087284.0
The Jonas Brothers Were Born to Hand Jive (Baby)
Anyone else want to relive this JoBro moment at the #Grammys?? I’m here for the Jonas Brothers. 🙋🏻♀️ #Grammy… https://t.co/MeQpTuAvs8— Amy Kawata TV (@Amy Kawata TV)1580089637.0
They performed their nostalgia-steeped single "What a Man Gotta Do" alongside a group of dancers whose choreo threw it all the way back to Grease.
Tyler, the Creator Burned the House Down
.@tylerthecreator caused a literal earthquake with his seismic #GRAMMYs performance https://t.co/dQY9vcSwTP— MTV NEWS (@MTV NEWS)1580089667.0
Dance wasn't the point of Tyler, the Creator's incendiary performance—which featured an army of head-banging, blond-wigged doppelgängers—but it was a highly effective tool.
Usher and FKA twigs Recognized Prince's Dance Legacy
FKA Twigs makes an incredible entrance to join Usher for the #GRAMMY's tribute to Prince https://t.co/zRfkMKSBYR— MTV NEWS (@MTV NEWS)1580090429.0
Two of the best movers in the business (and formidable musician Sheila E.) paid tribute to one of its all-time great dancers. While we would've loved to hear twigs sing, too, her fluid pole routine was sublime.
Ariana Grande Threw an Inclusive, Dance-Filled Slumber Party
Ariana Grande just threw a slumber party for the ages with her #GRAMMYs performance https://t.co/RpMWuj8bhN— MTV NEWS (@MTV NEWS)1580092296.0
Grande's "7 Rings" riffs aurally on "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music; her performance last night riffed on it visually with the help of a crew of fabulously femme dancers, including Grande fave Darrion Gallegos.
The Nipsey Hussle Tribute Featured a Beautifully Choreographed Gospel Choir
John Legend, DJ Khaled and more end their Nipsey Hussle #GRAMMYs tribute with an image of Kobe Bryant next to Nip https://t.co/0l4STVoRcY— MTV NEWS (@MTV NEWS)1580095857.0
Their simple but powerful dancing took the star-studded performance, which included appearances by Meek Mill, DJ Khaled, John Legend, Roddy Ricch, Kirk Franklin, and YG, to an even more emotional place.
Rosalía Brought Flamenco to the Grammys Stage
Spain's own Rosalía shows how it's done with a dance break during her #GRAMMYs performance https://t.co/egLlCIWHjM— MTV NEWS (@MTV NEWS)1580096308.0
The breakout Spanish star and her huge crew of super-sharp dancers showed us the traditional form's connections to hip hop.
Lil Buck Jooked Alongside Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys (@aliciakeys) performing #Underdog at the #Grammys #GRAMMYLive is PURE TALENT & PURE ART. https://t.co/Bow8sy3Fvr— Alin (@Alin)1580116912.0
Halfway through Keys' "Underdog" duet with Brittany Howard, Lil Buck—always a welcome surprise—appeared for a typically fantastic dance break.
Misty Copeland Performed Choreography by Debbie Allen
We had to wait until the very end of the show for one of the most-hyped dance moments of the night: ballet legend Misty Copeland leading a group of beautiful young movers from the Debbie Allen Dance Academy in a routine to "I Sing the Body Electric" from Fame, choreographed by original Fame cast member Allen. (It was a tribute to longtime Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich.)