Beyonce and the “Single Ladies” hand. Britney Spears writhing on the floor in “Toxic.” Lady Gaga’s monster arms from “Bad Romance.” These are just a few of the iconic dance moves many of us have spent countless hours pausing, rewinding and repeating music videos in hopes of mastering. Music videos have been teaching the youth culture how to move since the 1970s, but modern videos that incorporate intricately choreographed routines are much harder to duplicate without a little help.
Enter the Videodance series at Ballet Austin’s Butler Community School. These classes take famous choreography from the likes of Britney Spears and Lady Gaga and teach them in several class sessions.
Vicki Parsons, director of the Butler Community School, and Kody Jauron, a Ballet Austin II dancer and the Videodance instructor, created the series together in fall 2011.
“[We] wanted a fun contemporary class that was less about teaching technique and more about just coming to dance and have fun,” Parsons said. “Due to the popularity of ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ dance is a big interest. With the interest in pop singers and their music videos the idea came to combine the two.”
When creating a new Videodance series, the choreography selection is left up to Jauron. He said the real difficulties don’t arise in learning choreography, but in choosing which dances to teach.
“Because the class is marketed through the artists and the particular singles, it’s always hardest to decide exactly what would be the most successful in terms of numbers of students and which piece would be the most enjoyable to dance,” Jauron said.
Videodance has spanned genres and age groups, bringing in an unexpectedly diverse audience of dancers.
“The audience is so broad because the music videos range from the early 1980s to present day,” Jauron said. “It’s interesting to see how each video brings in different dancers and different generations. Despite this difference, the energy is always high and vibrant which is my favorite part.”
The classes also take on seasonal twists, Parsons said.
“Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ was popular at Halloween,” Parsons said. “We try to offer songs that will be familiar and artists people know. We even did a piece from ‘Mean Girls’ around the holidays. Santa hats and all.”
Jauron cites the King of Pop and recent Superbowl queen Beyonce as the series’ biggest crowd-pleasers. The most recent series is Beyonce’s “Single Ladies,” which Jauron said has been a huge hit.
“Just recently we began our ‘Single Ladies’ workshop with over 40 dancers in the class,” Jauron said. “Talk about high energy.”
Despite the crowd favorites, Jauron admits to having his own favorite artists to teach.
“My personal favorite is always Lady Gaga,” Jauron said. “Her choreography is a really great fusion of hip-hop, jazz and of course plenty of theatricality because it is Gaga. I think the ‘Marry the Night’ choreography is my favorite because of its energy and choreographic versatility as music video choreography.”
Videodance is currently teaching Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” and is set to begin Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” in March.
Published on February 25, 2013 as " Music video dances taught as Ballet Austin".