What I Really Think of Interpretive Dance

We went to a local musical performance the other evening, which was very nice except for some interpretive sign language dancing that went on. I don't think we as an audience should have to watch that stuff. But, nevertheless, I looked it up when I got home and found some instructions on how to do it (in the privacy of your own home, please) :
  • Pick your favorite song
  • Write down what you'd like the song to communicate to others.
  • Find the sign language movements for the action words of your song
  • Make these sign language movements larger and more dramatic then the average sign language conversation(!)
  • Always try to make the action words as literal as possible so that your audience can understand the meaning of your dance.
  • Add turns, jumps and kicks in the appropriate places
  • Facial expressions are vital in interpretive choreography, and must be in line with the emotions of the song.
After seeing the above picture of interpretive sign language dance, it occurred to me how much of the choreography for Britney Spears' music videos must have been created with the help of interpretive signing. Take the music video for the song "Circus" for example. I think if you look at the pictures below and their meaning, you'll agree with me that there is a lot more depth to Britney than we give her credit for:

In this shot, Britney is using the sign for children, and since she has both hands up by her chin, there are 2 children that she is thinking of, and wishing she were spending time with rather than making this music video.

Here, Britney is using her hat to hide behind. She is dying to self, and trying to focus on others. What is ironic is that she is singing about being in a spotlight in a "circus" while she is actually hiding from the "spotlight". This tells me she doesn't want her life to be about herself, but about others, specifically the children in Africa who are dying from malaria, or starving.

Britney is signing the exaggerated motion for food with electric "manna" falling from heaven. I think what she is trying to say here is how thankful she is to live in a free country and have food on her table and clothes in her closet. She also knows that it could be gone tomorrow.

You see that Britney is essentially putting herself in bondage with her arms wrapping around herself, and her little whip. She is making a statement, I believe, about domestic violence.

Britney uses this sign to portray wiping her nose, or sickness. You can see in her eyes that she is crying without tears. Very powerful. Its quite obvious that she is concerned about Manchausen's syndrome by proxy, where a mother exaggerates or creates symptoms or illnesses in themselves or their child/children in order to gain investigation, treatment, attention, sympathy, and comfort from medical personnel. How profound for her to think about, and speak out about this!

Here Britney is motioning us to come to her. I think what she is trying to tell us with this sign is that children and adults who are illiterate should not be ashamed of not being able to read but to COME FORWARD and get the help they need to learn. WOW. I had not even considered this before seeing this music video.


Grégoire said...

This is great! I've never even thought about analyzing someone who would stoop to singing a song like *if u seek amy*:

'Amy told me that she's gonna meet me up / Dunno where or when and now they're closin' up da club yo! / O baby baby does she take a piecea lime / For the drink that I'ma buy'er do you know just what she likes yo!'

Who can deny the intense, meaningful, Pulitzer-worthiness of songs like this? Ha Ha Ha! You deserve a medal for your astute exegesis of the literary soul of this teeny-bopper skinhead.

Laura said...

Wow! What insight you offer into Brittney's video. :) Who knew that she was so concerned about so many important issues. :D

Dorothy L said...

LOL...very well done indeed :)
Have a great day!

the Mayor said...

I understand her appeal so much better now that you've illuminated this for us!
I thought that in the last picture she was extending an altar call to all the sinners in the audience.

Annie said...

You have justified Britney's existence for me. Thanks for bringing light to the depth of her music...

{I can't stop laughing}

Stephanie M said...

Thank you Greg, Laura, Dorothy, Mayor, and Annie - for your kind words, and validation of Britney's genius.

Barbra Novac said...

This is GREAT!
I'm still laughing myself silly!!!
i agree with the other comments.
Who would have THOUGHT I'd been missing all this deep soul searching stuff from Brit! Thanks for opening my eyes!