Posted by: trailerpilot | 01:02::2009

Commercial work.

While I was out last night, I caught a video for TEPR’s remix of Yelle’s A Cause des Garçons from her more-Kylie-than-Kylie (and excellent) album Pop Up.  Like  Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) with label-conscious Gallic hipsters, it’s tightly hewn to a vaguely nostalgic, hyper and childlike dance form that I fell in love with, regardless of the fact that the video was muted and wholly unrelated music was playing.

I’ll elaborate on Beyoncé’s video in a bit.

TEPR’s mix isn’t as high-profile a single as the song’s original version [which is, nevertheless, awesome, and which features the über-chic Parisian holding court at a dance party with men dressed as her hairdryer, perfume bottle, camera and cell phone on a set reminiscent of Jill Sobule’s cottage from I Kissed a Girl, or of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse were it made (well, more obviously) out of corrugated cardboard.]  The dancers are the video–save two big E’s, two big L’s, a Y and ten minutes of post-production work–and as such are responsible for its 12 million-plus hits on YouTube, four times Julie Budet‘s take for the same song (which itself is no small potatoes, although she’s still “under the radar” here in the US).

What makes the video’s mulleted star so riveting is a style that coordinates beautifully in and out of symmetry, is musically precise, and has more than a touch of dorkiness in it that shines proudly through the plain material.  It’s a nice mix of casual and clean and an unexpected combination of wholesome and sexy.  As is de rigeur these days when it comes to video-spawned dance crazes, there are already a grip of  kids the world over posting their own tribute remakes, although it seems TEPR’s star may merely be performing a tribute of his own, to one of the best moments of BBC’s The Office:  An unforgettable work party improv by Ricky Gervais.

Now, to the super- (or, perhaps, non-) human Sasha Fierce, née Beyoncé Knowles, and the Single Ladies juggernaut.  I’ve been droning on for weeks now about how incredible it is that an Atlanta teenager and savvy industry producer with a good eye for memes made a three-minute dance the talk of the world, but to wrap up, JaQuel Knight (who was kind enough to accept my friend request on Facebook) is the good stuff.  I’m not sure how much life the J-Setting craze has left in it–given that most amateurs who attempt it are left looking like epileptics (and please, save the children)–but I’m beyond impressed that someone so young was able to keep static composition continually surprising.  It’s like Falling Angels, done as fast as possible in six-inch heels, an asymmetrical leotard and the hand from a T-800.  Brilliant.

The last 15 of BET’s top 100 videos of 2008 just wrapped and, besides these examples, it was just a great year for dance in videos in general.  It’s satisfying that the thing easiest for music videos to be a vehicle for, besides music, is dance, and that as the video form has evolved it’s become more and not less common for choreography and movement design to be the project’s principal creative priorities.  Incidentally, I found out last night that I know I’m having a good time when I’m dancing like Snoop in Sensual Seduction.

Happy New Year everyone,



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