Raw movement from Wayne McGregor and Thom Yorke

Just as every individual has their own unique fingerprint and personality, every body has its own unique movement “voice”. Some of it is just a result of the nuts and bolts of how we are assembled – how tall we are, the length of our necks and arms, how our legs rotate in our hip sockets, how quick or slow our metabolism is. But much of how we move is informed by how we are wired emotionally as human beings. And when non-trained movers go after the raw germ of movement that is completely specific and unique to them with uninhibited gusto, the results at times can be riveting. Especially when it’s under the guidance of a great choreographer.

Wild dance in
Wild dance in “Lotus Flower”

Case in point, famed musician Thom Yorke, front man for Radiohead and Atoms for Peace dancing in this (now 3-year-old) music video for “Lotus Flower” with choreography by Award winning British choreographer/director Wayne McGregor. This week McGregor’s company Random Dance is making a rare appearance in Los Angeles with his newest work FAR, thanks to the visionary presentation of Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA’s Royce Hall. And while McGregor is known for works created with the highest caliber of dancers – Random Dance is the Resident Company at Sadler’s Wells, and McGregor also works as a resident choreographer for the Royal Ballet – he is also masterful at generating really radical movement from untrained “pedestrians”. Although it has no brilliant and thrilling combinations of dance per se, its for its very simplicity that I love this music video on a bare sound stage: How it relies solely on the out-there-ness of Yorke’s movement as captured in the stark cinematography of Nick Wood, the editing of Leila Sarraf, and the visionary and singular direction of Garth Jennings. And I also love it in part for the very reason of its focus on an untrained person dancing earnestly and wildly. I yearn for more of this in life and in media. Yorke’s first Atoms for Peace video, “Ingenue”, screened and picked up an award at last year’s Dance Camera West Film Festival, and interestingly enough, “Lotus Flower” is amongst Radiohead’s most watched music videos. Enjoy!

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