Madonna's Bulls, Sia's Alter-Egos: Dance Highlights of the 2015 Grammys
Yes, the Grammys are all about the music. But they inevitably also feature a bunch of great dancers. And this year, those dancers seemed to play especially large roles—from Maddie Ziegler as Baby Sia to Katy Perry's shadow selves. Without further ado, here are the top five highlights from last night's show.
5. Lady Gaga danced cheek to cheek with Tony Bennett. OK, it wasn't the danciest moment of the night, but how amazing was Gaga's duet with one of music's all-time greats? Not only did both show off their legendary pipes, but they threw in a little waltz around the stage for good measure. The whole thing was pitch-perfect, literally and figuratively.
4. Pharrell showed us a different kind of "Happy." Whoa, we didn't think there was any way this song could go dark and moody, but somehow Pharrell managed to make a boppy unicorn-and-rainbow tune into an emotionally-charged anthem. It was intense. And the sweats-clad crew of dancers brought things to the next level.
3. Katy Perry went gospel. Much as we loooove us some dancing sharks, we were excited to see Katy Perry do a complete 180 from her over-the-top Super Bowl show. Her stripped-down performance of "By the Grace of God"—a tribute to survivors of domestic violence—was perfectly complemented by its sole decoration: a simple white scrim on which the shadows of two Katy-proxies danced.
2. Madonna got her bullfighter on. Well, here's something we didn't see coming: Madonna decided to go all matador on us, performing "Living for Love" complete with a team of dancing, bedazzled man-bulls. The whole woman-on-a-giant-red-table-surrounded-by-shirtless-men thing is actually straight out of Belgian choreographer Maurice Béjart's playbook—take a look at his Boléro, choreographed way back in 1961 and still performed frequently by the Paris Opéra Ballet. Also, we totally spy Madge favorite Lil Buck among the bulls! (The Grammys performance isn't available online, but here's the official video for "Living for Love," complete with bull-dudes:)
1. SIA OMG SIA. Unsurprisingly, Sia declined to show her face during last night's performance of "Chandelier." Unsurprisingly, the amazing Maddie Ziegler was there to play Bizarro Sia, and unsurprisingly, she was fantastic. But that's not to say this act was devoid of surprises. Because grown-up dancing Sia? That was "Saturday Night Live" alum Kristen Wiig. And she was great! Turns out, Wiig actually studied ballet for several years. We loved the crazy-quirky rapport she developed onstage with Maddie. (Also, "Wiig in a wig" is our new favorite phrase.)
What did you all think? Did you love or loathe Madonna's bull-dudes? Are you currently watching the Sia performance on repeat? On a scale of 1 to COMPLETELY DEVASTATED, how sad are you that Beyoncé's performance was basically dance-free???
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
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Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
There's a story Kate Walker, director of dance at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, loves to tell about Emma Sutherland, who just graduated from the program. "We were watching the students run a really long, challenging piece," Walker recalls. "Several kids couldn't quite make it through. But Emma did make it all the way to the end, which is when she walked up to us faculty and very politely asked, 'May I please go throw up?' "