Monday, February 22, 2010

"Ease On Down, Ease On Down The Road"

Alright, let's ease on back to The Wiz. (Sorry for the pun. I've been spending too much time with Mr. Lewis.) This time, rather than talking about the differences between The Wizard of Oz and The Wiz, I'm going to talk about the choreography and its relation to the Black Arts Movement. It's honestly just a reason for me to boast about the great choreography in this movie. (THANK YOU, Louis Johnson!) Johnson was the choreographer for the film and, let me tell you, he had some great dancers to work with. (Cough, Michael Jackson, Cough) Along with the four primary actors, Johnson had a cast of 120 dancers at his disposal, every choreographer's dream. Although "Emerald City Sequence," "You Can't Win," "Slide Some Oil To Me," and "He's The Wiz" have really great dance sequences, "Brand New Day" stands out as the greatest dance number in the film. (I've been looking for a video of it to link, however I can't find a video or pictures, so you'll have to deal with my visual imagery. It's really great though, so you should rent The Wiz.)

Although you can look at "Brand New Day" as just choreography, it means so much more. "Brand New Day" represents the liberation of the African American community. The dancers begin the piece in costumes that represent the enslavement that occurred in the United States. They dance in unison transmitting the idea that after their liberation, they were still unsure of the way to lead their lives, since they had spent years enslaved. Throughout their time in these outfits they slowly begin to separate from each other, marking the embrace of liberation by the African American community. About half way through the number, the dancers strip out of their costumes and reveal very small golden underwear. This costume change along with multiple groups dancing different choreography simultaneously denotes the acceptance of the African American community from the rest of the world. I know it's hard to imagine, but you should definiatly check out The Wiz, because the choreography is mind blowing. It also might give you a different view on the Black Arts Movement and the effect it had on culture.

1 comment:

  1. Molly I really like this post! I really want to watch this movie now and I love how you put the link to the movie trailer and everything. Your passion really shows for this movie in this blog :)