BTS Releases Dance-Filled Art Film for New Song, "Black Swan"

The South Korean pop juggernaut BTS has released an art film packed with dance for "Black Swan," the first single promoting its upcoming album Map of the Soul: 7.

The video opens with the Martha Graham quote, "A dancer dies twice—once when they stop dancing, and this first death is the more painful." This intro complements the lyrics, which allude to grappling with the fear of losing artistic passion as creative success grows.


Surprisingly, BTS does not appear in the film. The Slovenian troupe MN Dance Company leads instead, performing eerily beautiful, arresting choreography that reflects the song's concept. The company briefly dances in—before breaking from—a cage of lights, and uses contemporary movement reminiscent of the iconic port de bras of Swan Lake throughout the piece.

"Black Swan" aligns with BTS' expanding efforts to champion artists beyond music. The pop titans recently announced CONNECT BTS, a global public art project in Berlin, Buenos Aires, London, New York City and Seoul.

We love how the members of BTS have used their platform to showcase a contemporary dance company, and can't wait to see what dance projects the band might pursue in the future.

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Stark Photo Productions, Courtesy Harlequin

Why Your Barre Can Make or Break Your At-Home Dance Training

Throughout the pandemic, Shelby Williams, of Royal Ballet of Flanders (aka "Biscuit Ballerina"), has been sharing videos that capture the pitfalls of dancers working from home: slipping on linoleum, kicking over lamps and even taking windows apart at the "barre." "Dancers aren't known to be graceful all of the time," says Mandy Blackmon, PT, DPT, OSC, CMTPT, head physical therapist/medical director for Atlanta Ballet. "They tend to fall and trip."

Many dancers have tried to make their home spaces as safe as possible for class and rehearsal by setting up a piece of marley, like Harlequin's Dance Mat, to work on. But there's another element needed for taking thorough ballet classes at home: a portable barre.

"Using a barre is kinda Ballet 101," says 16-year-old Haley Dale, a student in her second year at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. She'd bought a portable barre from Harlequin to use at her parents' home in Northern Virginia even before the pandemic hit. "Before I got it, honestly I would stay away from doing barre work at home. Now I'm able to do it all the time."

Blackmon bought her 15-year-old stepdaughter a freestanding Professional Series Ballet Barre from Harlequin early on in quarantine. "I was worried about her injuring herself without one," she admits.

What exactly makes Harlequin's barres an at-home must-have, and hanging on to a chair or countertop so risky? Here are five major differences dancers will notice right away.

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December 2020