Sunday, June 22, 2008

Irene's "History and Origins of Follower's Adornment Techniques - Part I"

Ahhhhh. Inspiration. Nothing like going to the milonga and seeing various wonderful things that sets the muse in motion.

Friday was no exception, going to the milonga and seeing all the incredible dance stylings of the professionals and the would-be professionals on the dance floor. It was truly, really much more captivating than any episode of SYTYCD, or DWTS, or ABDC*, and more delicious (to borrow a quotation of a dear friend) than a Greek salad.

But people always ask me, "Ms. Irene, where did such-and-such come from? What is the history and origins of these great moves that express e.g. Biagi or D'Arienzo or Firpo's etc. music so well?"

So, what about those special tricks and adornments that make not only the onlooker but the leader and the follower shiver with delight at the ingenious conflations of timeliness, uniqueness, drama, quirkiness and musicality?

Without further ado, I present to you:


The Shoulder Shrug

Question: "Sure, I saw the young, nubile visiting professional do it on Friday night to the beat in such an enchanting manner, but where did it REALLY come from? And can I do it too?"

Before we proceed, please realize - the "Shoulder Shrug" is ONLY for Professionals. Us mere mortals simply do not have the kind of shoulder-to-torso, torso-to-head co-ordination necessary for this sophisticated move. Unless you want to risk a "Shoulder Shrug" mishap and spend months in traction afterwards.

I know you are feeling disappointed, but do not despair! I invite you to look and gawk in awe at the expert execution of this move in action. Look no further than the alumni of CITA for an example of the "Shoulder Shrug" from the most beautiful and talented, the hippest of the trendiest Senorita Eugenia Parilla, here with the incomparable Chicho Frumboli dancing to Francisco Canaro's "El Lloron":




But as lovely and gifted Senorita Parilla is, such genius shoulder adornment didn't spring sui generis from the risque fashions or beautiful Comme Il Fauts of the said Senorita Parilla. It takes real awe-inspiring, earth-shattering talent to invent such a move.

So, where did it come from? From the hot sultry Salsa clubs of Miami? From the monolithic aboriginal dances of Easter Island? From Monty Pythons' Ministry of Funny Walks?

Ladies and Gentlemen, the "Shoulder Shrug" came from no other than the one and only "King of Pop" himself, Mr. Michael Joseph Jackson:


To be precise, the "Shoulder Shrug" was unleashed upon the world in the King's 1983 ground-breaking video for his hit single "Thriller".

Left shoulder shrug? Right shoulder shrug? Both shoulders shrug? Shrugging alternative shoulders while stamping a sumo circle in the dirt? "Thriller" has all this and more. It is the be-all and end-all of shrug adornment, done relentlessly to the beat and synchronized mercilessly between the King himself and a team of top-notch zombie back-up dancers spewing zombie corpse fluids.

(Not to mention the iconic red and black leather "Thriller" outfit worn by M.J., which immediately brings to mind what else - TANGO.)

Because of YouTube and copyright restrictions, I can't embed the original 13:41 minute Michael Jackson video. You will have to follow the link here.

However, as a consolation, I have embedded a video of a very special "Thriller" tribute for your viewing pleasure.

This version, and the many different versions you can find on the internet, proves this: that the music, the dance moves, and the whole existential post-modern essence of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" have an all-encompassing, universal, cross-cultural, multi-generational appeal - THAT WILL NEVER DIE:





WOW! I say WOW! That was FIERCE!

This artist really knew his Michael Jackson's "Thriller" back to front, top to bottom. Highlights include the "One shoulder shrug" at 0:15, the "Roundabout shoulder shrug" at 1:00, and even the "Double shoulder shrug" at 1:05.

Michael Jackson - Record-breaking recording artist, World-reknowned Superstar, and TANGO PIONEER. I salute you.

*Also known as "So You Think You Can Dance", "Dancing with the Stars" and "America's Best Dance Crew".

1 comment:

Johanna said...

Dear Irene,
I just returned from the emergency room where I had to be rushed by my sweetie after I first spewed my juice out my nose, then almost choked on the rest, as a result of the subtitles in the Kill Her video.

Thanks a lot.

Alberto Dassieu

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