ed. note: the opening words, here, from “The Motion Picture Academy Celebrates Eccentric Dance” published by Dance Magazine August 15, 2019. The author is artsmeme‘s Debra Levine.
There’s a type of dance you’ve never heard of: It’s called “classical ballet.” The progenitors included Mathilde Kschessinska, Vaslav Nijinsky and Anna Pavlova. The art form passed through generations from Margot Fonteyn, Rudolf Nureyev to Mikhail Baryshnikov. It continues in our own time—Misty Copeland!
It would be far-fetched, even absurd, to hear that in a lecture today! But that is how revelatory “The Choreography of Comedy: The Art of Eccentric Dance” was, at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles on August 5.
The evening program rediscovered a once-flourishing, but critically undervalued dance genre with deep historic roots. Betsy Baytos, an eccentric-dance expert and leading connoisseur of the loose-limbed, rubbery, out-of-joint, prat-fallish, snake-hipped and peg-legged, hosted and curated.
“It’s not exotic dance,” said Baytos, a former Disney animator who has been researching for 30 years in preparing a documentary. “Eccentric dance is its own unique genre. It’s a highly-skilled dancer with extreme flexibility. It’s storytelling; it’s pantomimic movement in dance. It implements a very specific repertoire of steps, and it’s wrapped around character, in a visual narrative.” [Read more …]