Sunday, March 3, 2013

"Take You Down"...Brian Puspos

The word "SWASSY" was recently coined by NYC musician, Mila Jam. She created this adjective, which is the combination of "swag" and "classy," to describe performers and artists who brandish a bold bravado style, but play their cards cool and easy. In this stylized piece of choreography, ABDC alum Brian Puspos and The ARCHITEKZ not only create a tone and atmosphere, but pull off the entire affair with smooth alacrity. This confluence of flavors produces a textured and engaging product, that is simultaneously lively and other words, he and his crew hit the "swassy" sweet spot!

MUSICALITY: Ever since the hey day of Midnight Star, musicians have referred to downtempo soul tunes as "slow jams." This is a slight misnomer because the rhythmic content of these types of songs, can have a visceral undercurrent that propels movement at a quick pace. In other words, although the vibe might be languid and relaxed, the music actually has the capacity to support more vibrant movement phrases. At (1:09-1:16) you can see just how forceful the bass hits affect Brian's movement choices. Starting with the strong drop to open legged straddle, the sequence then moves through a cross arm strike, a side push, and fist pump in the air. All of these musical moments serve to accentuate the notion of machismo and "swagger."

DANCER SYNC: For this video in particular, it bears repeating that, for the purposes of this blog, the idea of "dancer sync" refers to the ability for a choreographer to create movement that is safe for the dancer's body. The movement must "sync" up well with how a dancer moves naturally. In this instance, although the dancers are moving together in a very synchronized way, we are only looking at the movement as it pertains to each dancer individually. I get the sense that Brian creates his movement from an "intelligent body" perspective, in that, all his choreo matches his dancers' bodies in a logical and intelligent way. If you watch (1:39-1:42) carefully, you will see how he protects his dancers' knees by placing the left hand on the ground, as they descend into the spiral leg twist. If he were to do this sequence without the preventative measures, he would be asking for knee injuries and ligament damage.

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: This piece is a perfect example of choreography that is self-aware and possesses a light sense of humor. There are so many hidden gems for the audience to discover, I was constantly finding new details with each consecutive viewing. At (1:45-1:46), (1:48-1:49) and (2:18-2:19) we see a few wonderful instances of cause/effect complimentary actions, where the choreography of one dancer visually augments the motion of another. In addition, Brian knows how to create visual illusions with the placement of the dancers. For example, at (1:01-1:02), by hiding the bodies, our eyes are tricked into seeing a solo dancer, with symmetrical triple legs; its as if we are suddenly seeing a person cut down the middle by a full length mirror. Adding to this choreographic slight of hand, are his double entendre references, such as (0:49-0:51) where he subtly lets the audience know what it is that "we came to do." It takes a mature, tongue-in-cheek sensibility to be able to execute these kinds of allusions in a manner that is "classy" and not crass.

KUDOS to Brian for providing us with a fantastic example of choreography that is both street and sophisticated...and altogether "SWASSY."

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