It’s National Dance Week! – or maybe it’s next week, or a combination, the internet has some pretty conflicting information…but it’s definitely somewhere around now – and SMGM would like to step in on the celebration, in a couple different ways.
First and foremost, this whole week (or two, we’ll see how it goes) will be a tribute to one of my oldest and bestest buddies, the lovely and talented Jody Hirsch, owner/director of the Hudson Dance & Tumble Center in Montrose, New York. Operating now for 15 years, Jody has built a superb facility and a remarkable family, with 10 staff members providing classes in tumbling, ballet, hip-hop, and jazz dancing that serve hundreds of students per season ranging in age from 18 months to 18 years. It’s an outstanding space and an even more special community of people, and if your family (preferably located in Westchester County, NY) includes anyone with an interest in dance I can’t recommend it highly enough.
You can check out Jody’s site here https://www.hudsondance.com/
And secondly, notwithstanding the wonderful professional activities cited above, there’s the recognition that dance does come in many forms. My daughter Mary and her boyfriend Iain took a credited tap dance class at their very liberal Liberal Arts college; my son Max has been known to inspire (and occasionally take part in) some sweaty moshing at punk rock shows; my friend Walt has an impressive repertoire of moves that include The Lawn Sprinkler, The Pigeon, and The Blueberry; my friend Bags has perfected an odd routine called The Shower Dance; and back in college days of yore my frat gents and I took part in a somewhat disturbing thing called Gatoring. Best not to ask further about that one.
So in keeping with our own mission here at So Much Great Music, over the coming days we’ll be presenting a series of artists, from a wide array of genres, whose music videos all feature some serious, and seriously impressive, dance steps. Alright then, let’s get to steppin’, with something timely.
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As bandleader and sidekick for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert since its 2015 premier, Jon Batiste has become somewhat of a low-key but beloved national television figure. Last night at the 64th annual Grammys the music industry officially caught up. Having received a gaudy total of 11 nominations – 8 times for his 2021 record We Are (the most for any nominated album) – Batiste certifiably stole the night (well, other than Silk Sonic), winning an incredible 5 times, including for the marquee, show-closing award, Album of the Year.
People in the know in his hometown of New Orleans, of course, already held Batiste in that treasured esteem long before this. Last year he returned to the greatest musical city on the planet to film this radiant video for ‘Freedom,’ the lead single off the now lionized album (which also won another Grammy for Best Music Video). As he sings in this euphoric number: “When I move my body just like this, I don’t know why, but I feel like freedom.” Batiste may not have what you’d call classic dance steps, but every strut, bend, shimmy and twirl he takes has that unmistakable feeling.