Our New Fave Dance Partners: Maria Kochetkova and Blood Orange

October 30, 2016

Just when we started to think Maria Kochetkova couldn’t get any cooler, the latest Blood Orange music video dropped. Blood Orange, if you’re wondering, is the name by which British singer/songwriter Dev Hynes has styled himself for his solo music work. “I Know” features the San Francisco Ballet and American Ballet Theatre principal/international ballet star/style icon performing opposite Hynes himself in an otherwise empty dance studio. For the first minute, Kochetkova warms up in the background (actually, it looks like she’s mostly doing snippets of Swan Lake in her socks) while Hynes sings to the camera, but once he joins her in the center the dancing doesn’t stop.

They start with a simple call-and-response—a quirky smattering of phrases originating from a second position plié, Kocketkova showing a crisp version of the choreography immediately after Hyne’s less technical (though impressively full-bodied) take.

And then there’s a glorious 30 seconds of slow-motion footage in which Kochetkova does a few partnered grand rond de jambes and développés—talk about motivation to spend a little extra time working on adagio.

Part of what’s so fun about the video is that the majority of it feels like fun outtakes—Kochetkova sweeping a foot past Hynes’ face when he’s looking the other way, the two conferring over a bit of choreography or laughing when something doesn’t go quite as planned.

It’s like getting to sit in the studio with the two artists collaborating, rather than just seeing a polished end product. The result is charmingly unstudied, especially since Hynes is so unselfconscious in his dancing.

Of course, this isn’t Hynes’s first foray into dance. The music video for Blood Orange’s “You’re Not Good Enough” features a whole cast of professional dancers. Even though their dancing is highly choreographed (credited to Sarah Shell), the setup recalls a rehearsal setting for a television appearance, giving the video a more relaxed vibe that is both refreshing and perfectly suited to Blood Orange’s chill music.

This fall has been full of surprising dance-centric video collaborations, from Ryan Heffington and Spike Jonze’s perfume commercial to Lil Buck and Jon Boogz’s “Color of Reality,” and we’re hoping that this won’t be the last of them. Check out the full “I Know” video below.


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