This Underwater Dance Video Has the Internet Buzzing—But Something's Sorely Missing
As director/performer Julie Gautier's AMA is shared and reshared by video aggregators on social media, the late choreographer Ophélie Longuet has been largely uncredited.
Viral dance videos can be refreshingly surprising: You're scrolling through your Facebook feed, and suddenly a clip flashes by—maybe it's a ballerina's dizzying string of fouettés, a b-boy deftly spinning on his head or flamenco dancers in a fashion show. These days, it seems like movement-driven video snippets are being shared by fellow dancers and non-dance friends alike.
But along the journey from a few views to viral, something is sorely lost. The dancing is the only thing many viewers see, and the choreographers and dancers all too often remain anonymous and uncredited. Artful appreciation turns into "Simply Breathtaking Ballet Video" or "Jaw-Dropping Hip Hop."
Such is the case of the wildly popular short film AMA. Although it was released back in March for International Women's Day, it continues to populate Facebook feeds. For five minutes, Julie Gautier, an underwater film director, performs Ophélie Longuet's graceful, slow-motion choreography in the world's deepest pool—all while holding her breath.
It's a stunning feat, but many of the video's reposts and shares are devoid of Gautier's name. If they do mention her at all, she may be miscredited as the choreographer, and Longuet's name is rarely attached to the clips. (What's more, Longuet was tragically killed in a car accident in France in July.)
AMA has been shared by various Facebook pages worldwide, and often with vague titles like "Dancing Underwater !!" and "Wooowww Amazing Dance." Perhaps the most shared iteration was posted by Feel Desain, an online magazine, which, according to its page is "updated daily with the latest and coolest news." That particular post has garnered more than 19 million views and upwards of 372,000 shares.
As if only the "coolest" parts matter, Feel Desain's version is truncated, cutting off the first two minutes before Gautier is fully immersed in the pool. The full credit info is missing, and it's not even given in their accompany article. Although they didn't cut out the original credits which roll at the end of the clip, given the way we quickly scroll through social feeds, most viewers likely won't ever see them.
Even though AMA exploded on Facebook, that traffic doesn't translate outside of social media. An original post of AMA on Vimeo, uploaded by Les Films Engloutis (Gautier and her partner Guilliame Néry's company) only has about 748,000 views. As expected, the full, proper credits are easily accessible in the video's description.
When dancers and dedicated fans see an intriguing movement clip on Facebook, they might be motivated to do a little digging to figure out the artists involved and learn more about their work. But for the armchair dance enthusiast, they'll likely only see what's on their iPhone screen. No matter how small the virtual stage, all performers, choreographers and creative collaborators deserve proper credit.
Devon Teuscher performing the titular role in Jane Eyre. Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT
Story ballets that debut during American Ballet Theatre's spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House are always the subject of much curiosity—and, sometimes, much debate. Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre was no different. The ballet follows the eponymous heroine of Charlotte Brönte's novel as she grows from a willful orphan to a self-possessed governess, charting her romance with the haughty Mr. Rochester and the social forces that threaten to tear them apart.
While the ballet was warmly received in the UK when Northern Ballet premiered it in 2016, its reception from New York City–based critics has been far less welcoming. A group of editors from Dance Magazine and two of our sister publications, Dance Spirit and Pointe, sat down to discuss our own reactions.