Birds in Human Form: Lemi Ponifasio’s Birds with Skymirrors

© Paul Townsend with CCLicense

© Paul Townsend with CCLicense

Birds with Skymirrors is a provocative and beautiful dance work choreographed by Lemi Ponifasio, one of New Zealand’s most famous artists. It was inspired by a walk on the beach on the Pacific island of Tarawa, during which Ponifasio observed seabirds flying with pieces of plastic hanging from their beaks. The dancers embody the movements of birds, sometimes soaring and inspiring, sometimes tense and mechanical. This video gives a glimpse of how mesmerizing this work is as it celebrates the complex fragility of birds and humans with stark eloquence. Birds with Skymirrors does include reverent nudity, which is handled very tastefully in the video.

Video via samukunsamukun on YouTube.

Alien Birds of New Guinea: The Birds of Paradise Project

© Ivan Teage with CCLicense

© Ivan Teage with CCLicense

Evolutionary biologist Ed Scholes and wildlife photographer Tim Laman have spent a great deal of the past ten years in the untamed wilderness of New Guinea studying the family of birds known as Birds of Paradise. The 39 species which are native to this range of forested islands are anomalous. Nowhere else on earth have birds evolved to possess the astounding variety of colors and behaviors which the male Birds of Paradise employ in their courtship displays. Brilliant plumage and skin colors, voices that sound like aliens from outer space, shape-shifting abilities, specially designed feathers and bodies, and elaborate choreography can be found among these extraordinary birds.

The Cornell Ornithology Lab continues to sponsor the ongoing work of Scholes and Laman and has put together an amazing website containing many videos of their work. I could spend a week there and not grow tired of the beauty and uniqueness they have captured on video. Here is an introductory video for the project, sure to peak your interest, followed by three videos that focus on a specific type of bird. There are plenty more on the website!

Next, the amazing dance of the Carola’s Parotia. Check it out, this guy has the moves!

Do you remember a strange bird from the introductory video that looks rather like a psychedelic smiley face, hopping around on a branch in front of a female? Known as the Superb Bird of Paradise, he is a fantastic shape-shifter with a built in ability for optical illusion. Weird and stunning.

Finally, the King of Saxony is notable for his gorgeous “wire” plume feathers and his voice, which sounds like it is from another planet. Watch what happens when coordinates his voice and his feathers. These birds are showmen.

The Masks of Hip Hop Dance: The Jabbawockeez

JabbaWockeeZ  This image is used in accordance with Fair Use Policy.

JabbaWockeeZ
This image is used in accordance with Fair Use Policy.

If you are at all familiar with hip hop dance, then you are familiar with the Jabbawockeez. If you aren’t, well, sit down for a few minutes and watch this video of them at the 2012 Hip Hop International dance competition. The amazingly clever choreography, both eye-catching and subtle, will knock your socks off. Watch them move, pulse and fly in their white masks. Marvel at the larger forms which take place onstage as well as the individual strength, flexibility and attention to detail. This group is strong because each one of these guys pulls his own weight. Enjoy!

Video via OfficialHHI on Youtube.

Coming of Age in Red and White: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s Furisodeshon

Happy Valentine’s Day 2013 to everyone! Here’s a little eye candy and ear worm.

In Japan there is a holiday called Seijin no Hi, or Coming of Age Day, celebrated in January. Girls who have reached the age of twenty in the past year are dressed in elaborate, long-sleeved kimonos known as furisodes, signifying their entry into adulthood and availability for marriage. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu turned twenty at the end of last month. Here she wonders what growing up will be like and imagines herself celebrating in the “adult” way, a child’s vision of smoking and drinking (and getting sick). The title of this song is Furisodeshon, or Furisode-tion. Kyary doesn’t wear the furisode here and seems somewhat loathe to grow up. She fears she will lose her dreams, although she is excited about the future. Red and white are considered an auspicious color combination in Japan, reflecting both maturity and purity.

Video via warnermusicjapan on Youtube.

Rough translation from hallyu8.com:
20 20 20 20
I’m I’m 20 years old furisode~tion
I’m just 20 20 20 years old
Isn’t that right? I’m 20 years old furisode~tion

Hello, this kind of anniversary
I’m able to say “thank you” from my heart
Usually it’s embarrassing, but
It’s a once in a life time special day

Chocolate’s bitter parts
Are you an adult? Are you a child?
Because I want to have dreams forever
Go along with this rhythm

20 20 20 20
I’m I’m 20 years old furisode~tion
I’m just 20 20 20 years old
Isn’t that right? I’m 20 years old furisode~tion

What am I going as far as saying “thank you” for?
I had various experiences
It’ll be good if this year is like that too
I won’t forget this excitement

To you who is always falling in love
Like the sour filling inside a shortcake
Let’s turn off the lights and light candles

20 20 20 20
I’m I’m 20 years old furisode~tion
I’m just 20 20 20 years old
Isn’t that right? I’m 20 years old frisked~tion

When I become an adult, will I be happy?
When I become an adult, will I be sad?
What will I do? What will I be able to do?
Will I be unable to do more than now?

20 20 20 20
I’m I’m 20 years old furisode~tion
I’m just 20 20 20 years old
Isn’t that right? I’m 20 years old furisode~tion
Furisode~tion
Furisode~tion

We’ve featured Kyary before here.

In Memoriam: Taffety Punk’s Interpretation of Sylvia Plath’s Tulips

© Tim Green with CCLicense

© Tim Green with CCLicense

Fifty years ago today, a brilliant young poet sealed her kitchen off from her sleeping children with towels, placed her head in the oven and turned on the gas. Unable to reconcile the red passion of her existence with the blue of her depression, Sylvia Plath took her life before her thirty-first birthday. Today she remains an enigma that continues to dialogue with us about creativity, feminism, and depression.

This is a lovely, touching choreographed performance of Tulips from Plath’s famous collection, Ariel, by Taffety Punk Theatre Company in Washington, DC.

Rest in Peace, Sylvia.

Directed by Joel David Santner, Concept & Narration by Lise Bruneau, Choreography & Performance by Erin F. Mitchell, Narration Recorded by Paul Boehmer, Music & Sound by Marcus Kyd. TPUNK004

Video via taffetypunk on Youtube.

For more on Sylvia Plath:

What you Don’t Know About Sylvia Plath [Photos] (Huffington Post)

50 Years after Her Death (Boston Globe)