While the internet imploded on itself trying to figure out whether they love or hate Kanye’s new mini-movie for his latest effort, “Runaway,” (any negative rabble-rabble on it is a lack of exposure to the arts, frankly) I’ve gone full nerd and already gone above and beyond the call of duty to zero in and find out the details of this interesting, Arts-meets-Hip Hop video clip/perspective.
Frankly, all the attention should frankly be focused on Czech-born Yemi Akinyemi’s visually compelling choreography as performed by his own Prague JAD Dance company. Falling somewhere between modern interpretive and classic ballet, the ballet troupe’s circular set up, graceful yet sharp movements and wonderful execution of classic moves are (to me, anyways) a powerful complement to a pretty emotionally vulnerable song.
A personal word of congratulations to the 3 lead dancers of the troupe, notably the Principal Dancer centered in the middle of their set up. With willowy long arms and a control over them that is amazing (your wingspan must be ridiculous; that intro was like watching an eagle take flight, yo), and an Arabesque that BLOWS my MIND, there has to be some kind of written appreciation of your awe-inspiring talent. Please. If you read this, let me know where I can see more of you. All of you. Your Dance Company is amazing.
Initially, I had no interest in the song or its video. Once we got word his project was more of a mini-movie than video, my curiosity was engaged a bit… but I still decided to not really pay it any attention until MTVJams threw it into rotation as its “Jam Of The Week.” Now while it seems as if Kanye might have thrown himself under the Hype Bus before the video was even played (citing Stanley Kubrick and Frederico Fellini as inspirations/comparisons; possibly setting himself up for the ‘high expectations fail’), I personally never heard any of the malarkey and went into it not really expecting anything after that MTV Music Awards performance (I just… wasnt feeling that at all). From there… to be hit with such a wonderful combo of Performing Arts and Hip Hop… well, I’m geeked. And while I might be a bit biased towards this for several reasons (Yay! Thanks Colburn School!)… but F*ck how you’re feeling about it, really. Its pretty damn awesome. Kanye West and Yemi Akinyemi just made ballet cool again and exposed a whole new generation to the art.
If you’re a ballet nerd, watch the extended video where the Principal and Featured dancers all get their own solos. Worth the extra time.