The pre-release single of the South Korean girl group BLACKPINK «How You Like That» was premiered on YouTube on June 26. It accumulated more than 1/3 billion views, 13 million likes, and more than 2 million comments in less than a month. Of course, the clip is perfect. It is all about perfection, the girls look ideally, move precisely, and the surrounding them scenery is flawless. Involuntarily one wants to dance with them since the dance video is seductive. When I teach dance courses as a part of my Ph.D. study here at UC Davis, I always ask my students at the very beginning how they define dance and what is their favorite dance. Some of them point to similar commercial dance videos.
Even though I appreciate the labor behind the commercial dance and truly enjoy watching BLACKPINK’s dances in particular, for some reason, I tend to explore the condition of being imperfect. To me, allowing myself to be imperfect and incomplete, even inducing the imperfectness into my work, is a way to produce a potential for finding something new, something unforeseen. I see it as a way to grow, to move forward. It might also be a desire to contradict the assumption that dance is only for entertainment, and since the commercial dance is perfect; thus, bringing an imperfectness is a way to oppose that. It is a desire to make my dance less a product for human consumption but a place/moment to contemplate about life/yourself/people around. Besides, it is a practice of self-compassion because working on perfection equals being cruel to yourself/myself (from my perspective).
The concept of opposing to commercial dance is questionable nowadays. I might need to change the paradigm. Suzannah Friscia wrote in this month’s issue of Dance Magazine on the deep interpenetration of two earlier parallel (never intersecting) forms of existence in the field of dance. Dance is getting more attention from the mainstream that leads to more jobs for dancers, so dancers are getting either versatile or change from concert to commercial and vice versa. For instance, Micaela Taylor, a young choreographer from LA, aims to combine both in her work as her «choreographic voice […] resonates across dance genres.» (Candice) Taylor is versatile and multitalented. What I also admire is that she nurtures a kind atmosphere in her dance company, The TL Collective. I would also like to find a way to perfect my skills as a dancer/choreographer/scholar/etc. staying kind to myself, and eventually develop an approach of a kind to myself and others perfectness or can I be perfect in being imperfect?
BLACKPINK. Pre-release single «How You Like That.» YouTube. Premiered 26 June 2020. https://youtu.be/ioNng23DkIM Accessed 25 July 2020.
Friscia, Suzannah. “Between Two Worlds: Is the line separating concert and commercial dance finally disappearing?” Dance Magazine, vol. 94, no. 7 (July 2020), pp. 26-31.
Thompson, Candice. «What’s Not to Love? It Seems Like Everyone is Falling for Micaela Taylor and The TL Collective.» Dance Magazine, vol. 94, no. 5 (May 2020), pp. 24-28.