Photo by Joe Toreno

Mark Kanemura Is Hosting Instagram Dance Parties That You Can Attend While Social Distancing

It's grim out there right now, as the world comes to grips with the scope of the coronavirus pandemic. But while social distancing efforts may mean canceled dance classes and performances, there are still so many ways to find joy in dance. And nobody combines "joy" and "dance" better than Mark Kanemura, the Instacelebrity and former Lady Gaga dancer, who has started to host virtual dance parties on Instagram.


Kanemura's 663K-odd followers have been (digitally) gathering daily since Thursday for his Instagram Live dance parties, in which he not only gets down "with" the crowd, but also checks in with everyone to see how they're feeling in this surreal moment. Because Mark is essentially a rainbow in human form, the 10-minute dance breaks involve "wigs, fans, confetti and a lot of really great pop music," as he told TODAY.

For more details about the next party, keep your eyes glued to Kanemura's (generally delightful) Insta account. If you're stuck at home, if you're missing the dance studio, if you're just looking for some more happiness in your life: Join in. BYORW (bring your own rainbow wig).

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Luke Isley, Courtesy Ballet West

How Do Choreographers Bring Something Fresh to Music We've Heard Over and Over?

In 2007, Oregon Ballet Theatre asked Nicolo Fonte to choreograph a ballet to Maurice Ravel's Boléro. "I said, 'No way. I'm not going near it,' " recalls Fonte. "I don't want to compete with the Béjart version, ice skaters or the movie 10. No, no, no!"

But Fonte's husband encouraged him to "just listen and get a visceral reaction." He did. And Bolero turned into one of Fonte's most requested and successful ballets.

Not all dance renditions of similar warhorse scores have worked out so well. Yet the irresistible siren song of pieces like Stravinsky's The Firebird and The Rite of Spring, as well as the perennial Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, seem too magnetic for choreographers to ignore.

And there are reasons for their popularity. Some were commissioned specifically for dance: Rite and Firebird for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes; Boléro for dance diva Ida Rubinstein's post–Ballets Russes troupe. Hypnotic rhythms (Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel) and danceable melodies (Bizet's Carmen) make a case for physical eye candy. Audience familiarity can also help box office receipts. Still, many choreographers have been sabotaged by the formidable nature and Muzak-y overuse of these iconic compositions.

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