Young Dancers Are the Stars of This Fun New Music Video From Animal Years
How do you capture the bond of friendship in a four-minute video? Through dance, of course. Indie rock band Animal Years did just that for their new music video "Friends," highlighting some super talented young dancers in this cool video.
Directed by the band's base player and choreographed by Amy Gardner (whose long list of credits includes everything from working with Madonna to "So You Think You Can Dance"), "Friends" features Bella Klassen, Alexis De Lucas, Emily Armstrong, Xavier Mack and Sam Browne.
"I had worked with four of the dancers before and knew I could rely on them," Gardner tells us on choosing her cast. "I had seen my fifth dancer, Xavier, a while back during a mock audition at Broadway Dance Center where I teach and remembered him from that. I didn't have time to hold auditions for this video, which serves as a good reminder to dancers to stay in class and connected to choreographers and directors," she adds.
The whole video was impressively filmed in just one weekend, after around 10 hours in the studio and a quick location scout. "We drove up ahead of filming in order to map out where we would be dancing, and that is when all my ideas started to really come to life," Gardner tells us. "It was important to have very specific characters for this piece."
Gardner divided the dancing into three segments, starting with Klassen breaking into an energetic dance routine after climbing out of her tree house. As she makes her way through the woods, Klassen's solo turns into a trio, dancing in unison as they're joined by two more friends.
The choreography seems to perfectly match the meaning behind the song with its cheerfully frenzied movements, and the steps are all executed with sharpness and precision (something that's made even more impressive considering the dancers are dressed in layers and boots).
"Friends" will make you want to text all of your studio friends for a dance sesh, immediately.
It's a cycle familiar to many: First, a striking image of a lithe, impossibly fit dancer executing a gravity-defying développé catches your eye on Instagram. You pause your scrolling to marvel, over and over again, at her textbook physique.
Inevitably, you take a moment to consider your own body, in comparison. Doubt and negative self-talk first creep, and then flood, in. "I'll never look like that," the voice inside your head whispers. You continue scrolling, but the image has done its dirty work—a gnawing sensation has taken hold, continually reminding you that your own body is inferior, less-than, unworthy.
It's no stretch to say that social media has a huge effect on body image. For dancers—most of whom already have a laser-focus on their appearance—the images they see on Instagram can seem to exacerbate ever-present issues. "Social media is just another trigger," says Nadine Kaslow, a psychologist who works with the dancers of Atlanta Ballet. "And dancers don't need another trigger." In the age of Photoshop and filters, how can dancers keep body dysmorphia at bay?
If "Fosse/Verdon" whet your appetite for the impeccable Gwen Verdon, then Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon is the three-course meal you've been craving. The new documentary—available now on Amazon for rental or purchase—dives into the life of the Tony-winning performer and silver-screen star lauded for her charismatic dancing.
Though she's perhaps most well-known today as Bob Fosse's wife and muse, that's not even half of her story. For starters, she'd already won four Tonys before they wed, making her far more famous in the public eye than he was at that point in his career. That's just one of many surprising details we learned during last night's U.S. premiere of Merely Marvelous. Believe us: You're gonna love her even more once you get to know her. Here are eight lesser-known tidbits to get you started.
Every dancer knows that how you fuel your body affects how you feel in the studio. Of course, while breakfast is no more magical than any other meal (despite the enduring myth that it's the most important one of the day), showing up to class hangry is a recipe for unproductive studio time.
So what do your favorite dancers eat in the morning to set themselves up for a busy rehearsal or performance day?
When it comes to dance in the U.S., companies in the South often find themselves overlooked—sometimes even by the presenters in their own backyard. That's where South Arts comes in. This year, the regional nonprofit launched Momentum, an initiative that will provide professional development, mentorship, touring grants and residencies to five Southern dance companies.