Waking the Witch

There is no question that Kate Bush has had a great influence on bodycity. We are no strangers to youtube, researching birds, dressage, foreign dance shows, Janet Jackson, and cat videos to name a few. But I find myself (this is Lake btw) always coming back to Kate Bush’s videos.

Kate Bush is a powerhouse choreographer songstress who was at the front of the music video revolution. Each music video tells a story with her as the main character dancing through foggy futures, forests, and shattering glass. Her choreography has the elements of modern dance that we all know, everyday gestures exaggerated to sweeping moves, enthusiastic prancing and the precision of a trained dancer. The dancing can be as narrative as her videos, clearly trying to tell a story and lead her audience, but what I love is her very particular attitude, enthusiasm and weirdness. Her quirky facial expressions, “edgy” costumes and bizarre sets are what make her videos so charming and entertaining. Looking back, the videos seem a little amateurish, lots of fog machines and dudes with beards, though I would guess she was on the cutting edge of video fx. But this just adds to the pleasure of her videos, and it’s that aspect, the enthusiastic awkwardness (as well as the straight up humor) that has been most inspirational to me, especially when we built the Halloween dance, “through the Glass Mass.” Here is a smattering of some favorite videos:
The set and costumes alone make this video amazing, that and her signature all male back-ground dancers.

This is the classic folk story of the wife thinking her husband is cheating on her so she disguises herself to trick him into adultery, note the double bass as the symbolic gesture of her husband.

She was only 19 when this single came out, signaling the beginning of many cross-fades, mirroring effects, and fog machines.

Everbody knows and loves this song, right? The video is a classic and very modern dancey, with fans.

I also have to mention “Army Dreamers” which features an incredible sequence of her being blown up and flying backwards, ass over teakettle. In “Sat in your Lap“, the fx is taken to another level with video inserts of dunces and jesters dancing in her palms and rollerskating. In “Breathing” she is in a plastic womb with an umbilical chord. “Cloudbusting” features a paternal Donald Sutherland and is similar to “Hounds of Love” in that they are her most narrative videos. And she just looks so freaking cool in “Them Heavy People.”

All of these videos are little masterpieces of music, dance, and video fx, they also hold a special time in television history. I grew up in the music video age when MTV still was music television and musicians were besting each other with the coolest videos. I was listening to the radio today and heard tell of the virtual death of the music video. It saddens me to see that imaginative, original, and weird music videos like Kate Bush’s have been replaced by uninspired reality tv shows of washed-up actors and wannabes. Perhaps this is our cue to bring it back around and make a bodycity pre-MTV music video. Stay tuned!


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One Response to Waking the Witch

  1. Matthew says:

    I really really like the idea of bodycity making a pre-mtv music video. I’ve never really know much about Kate Bush, but these are so rad and bizarre. I really enjoyed the Cloudbusting video where she is his kid. Anyhow, thanks for this background. 😉

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