Sunday, April 12, 2009

Beyonce is a superstar

I post this for Siobhan and Mitchell and Jean and all those huge Beyonce fans out there. Her latest video ("Single Ladies, Put a Ring On It") is addictive (the tune, the beat, and then the video itself) and there are a couple of moments that are goosebump-worthy and I'm not sure why.

I will say this: How wonderful it is to see a dance video that shows THE WHOLE DANCER at all times - not cutting between her body parts to give an impression that dancing is going on, but somehow fearful, a la Flashdance of showing the whole girl at the same time. Beyonce - and her two dancers - are shown in full body throughout, and there are times where it actually feels (to me) like it's done in one take. It's not - but the impression is there: that we are seeing a performance, entirely - what the energy and synchronicity of these girls bring to it is NOT from editing or cutting to give an impression ... it is because they worked their asses off on that dance and are performing it brilliantly. I love the black and white, too, and I love the final seconds of the video, where the sound goes away, the song ends, and you can just hear the heavy breathing of the girls, breathless from the major WORKOUT they just went through.

The whole thing feels real to me, in a way that is so rare these days in filmed dance performance - it feels like a moment of live performance was actually captured by the camera. And there are no distractions either - no change of costume, no swirling lights, no set ... It's kind of old school and looks like it could be on Judy Garland's old television show. Just the stark black dancers against the white background - so all you have to look at is the girls performing.

Beyonce Biography
Born in Houston in the fall of 1981, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles started performing at age seven. From dance classes to singing in the church choir, Beyoncé was a natural. She and cousin Kelly Rowland met Latavia Roberson during this time, and the trio formed a group with Letoya Luckett. Mathew Knowles, Beyoncé's father and Rowland's legal guardian, signed on to be the girls' manager. This situation would ultimately lead to the formation of one of the most popular female R&B groups of all time -- Destiny's Child.

Destiny's Child made its debut 1990 and within ten years, the vocal act had experienced personal and political highs and lows that fueled the group's desire to make it big. Destiny's Child sold 33 million albums worldwide by 2002 and earned a slew of Grammys and additional music awards. "Jumpin' Jumpin'," "Bills, Bills, Bills," "Say My Name," and "Survivor" were smash hits, and the group appeared unstoppable.

In 2001, Beyoncé, Rowland, and Michelle Williams allowed themselves a break from the singing group and tried their hands at individual solo careers. Before landing several movie roles, Beyoncé became the first African-American female artist and second woman ever to win the annual ASCAP Pop Songwriter of the Year Award. An appearance in the MTV drama Carmen: A Hip Hopera quickly followed, but it was her role as Foxxy Cleopatra in Austin Powers in Goldmember in 2002 that eventually moved Beyoncé from the stage to the screen.

Her first single, "Work It Out," coincided with the release of the Mike Myers comedy and cemented her celebrity status. A guest spot on Jay-Z's "'03 Bonnie & Clyde" was equally popular when it appeared in October. In 2003, she rejoined Jay-Z for her proper debut single, the funkadelic "Crazy in Love," as the press and fans christened her a bona fide star. Beyoncé's debut album, Dangerously in Love, which appeared in June 2003, featured collaborations with Sean Paul, Missy Elliott, and OutKast's Big Boi. The multi-platinum album spawned a total of four Top Ten singles. Nearly two years after another Destiny's Child album (Destiny Fulfilled), Beyoncé released her second album, B'day. ~ MacKenzie Wilson, All Music Guide.

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