What happens when machines teach humans to dance?
Dance video games transform players’ experiences of popular music, invite experimentation with gendered and racialized movement styles, and present new possibilities for teaching, learning, and archiving choreography.
Dance games are part of a media ecology that includes the larger game industry, viral music videos, reality TV competitions, marketing campaigns, and emerging surveillance technologies. The circulation of dance gameplay and related body projects across media platforms illuminates how dance games function as intimate media, configuring new relationships among humans, interfaces, music and dance repertoires, and social media practices.
This according to Playable bodies: Dance games and intimate media by Kiri Miller (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017).
Above, a Just dance session; below, a Dance central session. Both game series serve as case studies in the book, which draws on five years of research with players, game designers, and choreographers.
Despite its hackneyed premise—a group of medical students trying to get ahead in the competitive hospital environment—the television series Scrubs had something special: a judicious selection of accompanying music.
Sometimes the choice was linked to the musical biographies of the prominent figures, and other times the lyrics referred directly or indirectly to the development of the plot, to particular events, or to important characters. The frequent fantasies involving the main character, Dr. John Dorian, are riddled with emblematic musical references to the pop–rock music of the last 60 years, offering a rich and representative sample of what the last three generations were listening to.
This according to “La inserción del número musical en las series de televisión: El papel de la música en Scrubs” by Judith Helvia García Martín (Cuadernos de etnomusicología 3 [marzo 2003] pp. 204–19).
Above and below, a fantasy sequence involving James Brown’s The payback.
Perhaps more than any other state, Tennessee is associated with music. The state, its cities, natural features, and historical events have been the subject of thousands of popular songs written and performed in almost every style. The idea of Tennessee is so popular that it has inspired great songwriting and performances not only by native Tennesseans but by people from all over the world.
My homeland Tennessee: A research guide to songs about Tennessee preserves and presents historic documents and recordings that illuminate Tennessee as represented in blues, ragtime, rock’n’roll, rap, folk, country, jazz, rhythm and blues, and other styles. This open-access resource also includes a special section on the several official state songs of Tennessee.
Below, Tennessee’s own Dolly Parton.
In 2007 Keith Richards joined the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise as Edward Teague, Pirate Lord of Madagascar. He was a natural choice for the role of Jack Sparrow’s father since Johnny Depp, a longtime fan, had partially modeled his character on the legendary guitarist.
Asked whether he saw any similarity between the roles of rock star and pirate lord, Richards said “Actually, you could look at it like that. Both are ways to make a good dishonest living.”
“The music business has never been any different. It’s a pool of piranhas. You want to get in there? You better not be tasty.”
This according to “Johnny Depp & Keith Richards: Pirates of the Caribbean’s blood brothers” by David Wild (Rolling stone 1027 [31 May 2007]).
Today is Richards’s 70th birthday! Above and below, Edward Teague comes to life.
Charles “Cholly” Atkins was a tap dancing star before the bottom dropped out for the genre in the 1940s.
In 1953 he was hired to coach the Cadillacs on their stage presentation, and he was so successful that he was given a steady job at Motown Records in the early 1960s; he went on to coach and choreograph for their top groups, including The Supremes, The Temptations, and Gladys Knight and the Pips, almost single-handedly keeping much of American vernacular dance alive for a new generation.
This according to “‘Let the punishment fit the crime’: The vocal choreography of Cholly Atkins” by Jacqui Malone (Dance research journal XX/1 [summer 1988] pp. 11–18).
Today is Atkins’s 100th birthday! Below, rehearsing with The Temptations in 1986.
BONUS: A performance with Charles “Honi” Coles from the early 1950s.
Related article: James Brown’s Deleuzian idiocy
Launched in 2012, Síneris is a monthly Spanish online musicology journal born from the experience of some of the members of the now-extinct Jugar con Fuego.
The journal aims to present research papers, essays, literary creations, opinions, interviews, and criticism of recent works, performances, and writings. It casts a wide net, including Western classical music, ethnomusicological topics, popular music, cinema, and dance.
Music magazines fly under the radar for many scholars, but they are often the most reliable sources for information about current performers and repertory. Providing interviews, biographical details, and information about works and performances, these periodicals fill the information gap that precedes the publication of scholarly studies on these topics, and they are less likely to perpetuate errors than unconfirmed Internet sources.
Sometimes these magazines also present research that may not be oriented toward making a scholarly point, but may still prove useful for scholarly projects; examples include surveys of the output of small record labels, the musical life of a city, or the history of an institution.
Music magazines covered by RILM include selected publications for Western music and popular music as well as those devoted to less mainstream genres such as blues, world music, and Indian performing arts.