Why you should care
From sizzling swagger to depth and darkness, from a transgender temple dancer to a cult classic with a dose of feminism, OZY has plenty to say about tripping the light fantastic.
USA Argentine Tango Stage Champions and Buenos Aires transplants Gustavo and Jesica Hornos serve up stylish, sexy and suave like they invented it. The dance is improvised yet so perfect that it seems planned. Three-plus minutes later, you’re surprised to find yourself standing, screaming and applauding. The second song in what is usually a three-song tanda, or set, begins, and it’s almost like you never saw what you just saw. You’re drawn in as it begins again, and there’s no better word to describe your state of mind during the experience than transfixed.
Butoh, or the “dance of darkness,” has in recent years emerged as a disturbingly exhilarating dance force, growing in visibility particularly among Brooklynites — although hipster crowds flock to performances all over New York, selling out nearly every show in every borough. CAVE and Resobox Theater, both in Queens, N.Y., have long been selling out shows. You can also find enclaves of interest in Boulder (Colo.), Seattle and San Francisco. If there is one thing this art form does for certain, it unquestionably forges a new, primal and instinctive mode of communication.
If you’re new to Bharatanatyam, think of this South Indian classical temple dance as stomp-the-yard-level footwork meets Swan Lake. The pieces are operas, set to wildly layered compositions — typically love poems written to the gods. Transgender temple dancer Mesma Belsare has been hailed by critics across the U.S. (even when she was still Sudarshan, back in 2008, and reviewers swore the man they were watching onstage was a woman). And she makes it quite clear why you shouldn’t give a flying you-know-what about her gender — rather, you should just watch her sway.
Patrick Swayze didn’t want to say the key line that defined this movie — but, thankfully, he lost that battle. But here’s a look at Dirty Dancing and its deeply feminist agenda. It was the first movie to sell more than a million copies on home video, and teenage girls watched it over and over, at first for Johnny Castle’s (Patrick Swayze) gyrating hips and preternatural good looks, but ultimately for Frances “Baby” Houseman’s (Jennifer Grey) gutsy character and coming-of-age story. And its writer wove an abortion into the story — intentionally.