The Dance Troupe that Beat Susan Boyle:

Well-deserved, I think. (Click on number 3 on the playlist.)

UPDATE: BTW, Boyle sang the same song she sang on her first appearance on Britain's Got Talent. I understand the tremendous pressure she was under, but I suspect she would have been much more likely to win if she had shown the audience something new.

Not me.
5.30.2009 11:55pm
Eric Anondson (mail):
They are good, but I guess I just don't appreciate good dance as much as I good singing. Still, losing the finals is probably a better result for Susan Boyle's sanity and long term career prospects.
5.31.2009 12:08am
TTS (mail):
Absolutely agree. The choreography alone, not to mention the flawless execution, was out of this world.
5.31.2009 1:58am
zywotkowitz (mail):
How can you really compare a singer with a dance troupe? On American Idol at least the contestants are doing more or less the same kind of singing.

Also: the best pop singers can become a long-lasting cultural phenomenon ... something people will forever associate with a time or emotion in their life. No dance troupe will ever have the cultural resonance we associate with Elvis, the Beatles, etc.
5.31.2009 4:24am
Linda F (mail) (www):
You don't think the Ballet Russe, or the New York Ballet is long-lasting? Not to mention Riverdance.
5.31.2009 7:49am

You don't think the Ballet Russe, or the New York Ballet is long-lasting? Not to mention Riverdance.

Not to mention the greatest dance troup of all time, Fred and Ginger. Of course, that was only a two-person troup, but.... They could sing, too.
5.31.2009 8:30am
On that last, how about tap-dancing on roller skates?
5.31.2009 8:42am
Festooned with Christmas tree ornaments:
Linda F, those ballet groups might be long-lasting but they are not cultural phenomena.
5.31.2009 8:48am
I can't agree. Sure, the routine was creative and the choreography was tight. But compared to dance troupes who compete on America's Best Dance Crew (yes, I'll fess up to having watched it), these guys would only be in the top-middle of the pack. not the walking-away favorites.
5.31.2009 9:30am
But JonC, they were not in that competition. They were up against Susan Boyle who was, unfortunately, neither creative, nor tight.
5.31.2009 9:40am
dmv (www):
I sense that this comment thread is about to plunge into "name-calling and over-the-top accusations from both sides." Surely, DB, you know by now that a post on such a sensitive and divisive topic will generate the crazy. I can only conclude that you are flamebaiting.
5.31.2009 9:42am
Pro Natura (mail):
I agree with ValentinoRossi and dmv.
5.31.2009 10:08am
Fedya (www):

I think I prefer Gene Kelly on roller skates in Xanadu. It's worth sitting through the rest of that unbelievable mess of a movie just to get to Kelly on skates....
5.31.2009 10:21am
Chris Bell (mail):
I don't imagine the Queen is going to care for this.
5.31.2009 11:24am
Duffy Pratt (mail):
Have you ever seen Charlie Chaplin on roller skates? Amazing stuff.

Of course dancing can be a cultural phenomenon, whatever that means. Singers have occupied that place more often mostly because radio and recordings dominated for a fairly long time. Dancing has become more and more important since the advent of music videos. Right now, dancing ability is at least as important for pop stars as their singing ability, and maybe more so, since its very difficult still to "lip-synch" your dancing.
5.31.2009 11:28am
Perhaps song is more accessible to most people because it expressly communicates thoughts and feelings, whereas 'the language of dance' is just a metaphore.
5.31.2009 11:56am
Eric Anondson (mail):
I think Barbra has nailed it.

Plus, in the past 30 years, we may remember specific dance crazes, but not the dancers of them.
5.31.2009 12:42pm
Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, the boy bands, Usher, etc. are well known because their dancing as much as their singing, IMO.

When I think of Elvis, I think of his hips about as soon as I think of Hound Dog.
5.31.2009 1:18pm
Randy R. (mail):
What about break dancing? Surely that was a cultural moment. So too with hip hop. Disco? We still feel those reverberations!

I understand that we don't associate any of these with anyone in particular -- but perhaps that's because they are very different from pop singing.

But to say that the Ballet Russe, with it's ground breaking Nijinsky choreography in Rite of Spring, AFternoon of a Faun and others, isn't a cultural phenonema! Sure it was a 100 years ago, and affected just the elites, but we elites like to have fun too!
5.31.2009 3:01pm
I do agree that dance is a cultural phenomena; if you here some talk about the 50s/60s dances or even going back to the 20s, dance has brought down western civilization.
5.31.2009 3:07pm

I think I prefer Gene Kelly

I've no problem with that. My point was, if lamely made (yeah), that dance in certain periods of our history, on the screen anyway, was just as powerful a cultural phenomena as singing has become. I was thinkin of F&G in the 30s, but you could certainly point to those maginificent MGM musicals of the 50s as evidence for this, too (maybe moreso--just look at "Singin' in the Rain" and ask yourself what is most vivid in your memory, the singing or the dancing? Kelly in the rain dancing with that umbrella...matchless.)
6.1.2009 8:21am
There are relatively few individual stars in dancing. There are always a few, but mostly it's a synchronized group activity closer to choral singing than solo singing. The goal is usually to get everyone to blend together, not to make each individual stand out. Maybe 5% of the people on the stage ever get snazzy solos. At the most.

But pop music and musical theater are all about the soloists and their individual characters. That makes it easier for these genres to create individual stars. And careers are a lot longer. There's no Mick Jagger among dancers.

Even though she came in second, I think Susan Boyle will do just fine.
6.1.2009 11:16am

But to say that the Ballet Russe, with it's ground breaking Nijinsky choreography in Rite of Spring, AFternoon of a Faun and others, isn't a cultural phenonema! Sure it was a 100 years ago, and affected just the elites, but we elites like to have fun too!

Pretty much all dance in the 20th century was influenced by the Ballets Russes, not just "elite". They in turn were influenced by Isadora Duncan - and how about her for a cultural icon!
6.1.2009 5:29pm
Dan M.:
The Dancing Outlaw Jesco White is quite the cultural phenomenon as well.
6.1.2009 10:46pm

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