This song was released a few years ago, but I just saw the video for it today.
The song is a scintillating piece of dance pop to be sure, but the video is just stunning. It’s premise is honest and perfect: put Robyn in an empty sound stage, set up some lighting effects, let her wear that weird cut-off feather blouse, and let that bad bitch dance. The video is shot from the vantage point of a single camera that glides graciously around her. All of the action is captured in a single shot, suggesting that the performance was done all in a single take.
Robyn is a great dancer but not in the way that dancers are usually great. She isn’t exceedingly athletic, nor is she particularly sexual. Anybody could do these moves and it wouldn’t seem out of place if a man where to do them in place of her. But the truth is nobody else could execute this the way she does it. It isn’t at all about communicating technical mastery or sexual allure. It’s just a human body moving in a way that’s completely natural to it and appropriate for the emotionality of the music within which it’s immersed. The dance is free, but it’s also disciplined and expertly done. It looks ex temporal and spontaneous but has undoubtedly been rehearsed fully and discovered by the performer to be beautiful. It’s exactly what dancing ought to be but almost never is.
Like pretty much everything, I have only a cursory understanding of how music and dance work, but I have seen this ‘dancing distinctly’ routine done successfully elsewhere. Best example is David Byrne dancing to Talking Heads music. Obviously Byrne isn’t the dancer that Robyn is, but he’s the absolute best at dancing the way David Byrne dances.
This is the way David Byrne dances: