Shane Sparks is an American hip-hop choreographer, best known for his works on “So You Think You Can Dance”. Shane Sparks noticed his talent for teaching dance when he started teaching from his own back garden. Sparks said dance became a bigger part of his life after the murder of his sister’s boyfriend, as it became a way for him to escape and feel safe. Sparks began making a name for himself as a well-respected, famed choreographer after his move to Los Angeles, California. It took him a lot of hard work, but when he started working as a choreographer on the US TV talent search, “So You Think You Can Dance”, his career really took off. Earning a multitude of credits and awards, his passion for dance is clear and people of all ages and races admire his style of dance and attitude towards it.
The piece shown in this video above is one of Sparks’ works for “So You Think You Can Dance”. It is a hip-hop piece but with a slight contemporary twist. I really like the style of this piece. It is altogether very modern but there are aspects from previous practitioners in the theatricality of this piece, such as Bob Fosse and Pina Bausch.
There is a lot of unison in this piece, particularly in the separate groupings of dancers. They seem to be portraying a dance battle of sorts, each trying to out do and scare the opposition. Also there is canon used during this piece, taking certain highlights in the music where opportunities for canon is used. This is seen at 0:51 and 1:27.
For my own inspiration taken from this piece, I can take the battle aspect of it. In the script we are portraying, The Trojan Women, the Trojan’s and Greek’s have been at war. I can use the basic emotion behind this piece, the want to beat someone, and use this in my own portrayal of choreography when dancing a scene where this can be used.
I particularly like the start of this piece, where the 3 girls are dancing in a staccato style. They remind me of dolls being manoeuvred as opposed to women dancing freely. I also like the way this piece uses the highlights in the music to enhance the dance, even though the music itself is not really what you would expect a piece like this to be danced to. It is primarily violins, which isn’t a typical hip-hop instrument, but with the added drum beats among other additions, it turns the music into something you can dance hip-hop to.
I also like the way each group gets it’s highlight section of the piece. It’s not all centred around one group of dancers and gives each group a chance to show off their dance skills, which every dancer wants to do. It also adds dynamics to the piece as you get to look around the stage, there isn’t just one group of people to look at and each group has something slightly different to offer the audience, in relation to the choreography.