10 December 2009

Hand in Glove



When in the summer i was thinking about Beyonce's single Sasha Fierce gauntlet as an homage to Michael Jackson's single white glove, I was really intrigued to discover their shared debt to Bob Fosse as a choreographer. This edit of Fosse's routine in The Little Prince is pretty extraordinary, a template for almost all of the moves and tics which we now consider to be characteristically MJ:





And then there's Beyonce's debt to, or rather deliberate homage to, Fosse in -- let me finish -- one the best videos of all time. I can't embed it but you can watch it here.

And this synchs up Fosse's original routine, devised for his wife Gwen Verdon, with Single Ladies:



The Fosse-MJ-Beyonce triangulation is so gloriously odd, the way it crosswires certain assumptions about gender and race, subverting projections like the idea that Jackson's performance of Billie Jean at Motown 25 'encapsulated a long tradition of African-American dance movements in one performance' (a view ascribed to Ian Inglis in the wiki for the moonwalk).

While I'm on the subject, I don't think I've ever linked from here to this post about Beyonce, the Sashe Fierce gauntlet as cyber-prosthesis and the etymological roots of cyborg in the concept of slavery.