chapter  15
11 Pages

‘Dancin’ in the street’

Street dancing on film and video from Fred Astaire to Michael Jackson 1
ByBeth Genné

The street dance resulted in a reconceptualization of film dance as directors and choreographers began to realize that the camera as well as the dancer could be choreographed to create a new kind of dance – cinema. Kelly uses the long narrow street shape, to reconceptualize his dance space and explore the possibilities of the cinematic medium by choreographing for the camera as well as the dancers. The street dance was the perfect answer to Kelly's wish to create a new kind of dance with which ordinary working-class Americans could identify. The decline of the film musical as a form also contributed to the temporary disappearance of the street dance in movies. In the latter part of the twentieth century the street dance moves to another visual medium, that of video/dvd. Reflecting an urban culture where children carry uzis and kill over designer clothing, Michael Jackson's street dances get progressively more surreal and frightening.