Ridiculous eyes and elastic hearts

You know how when you give someone a gift, once you give it to them it’s theirs? It belongs to them?
As in, you have given it completely, you no longer have ownership over it, you can’t get all butt hurt if they don’t use it the way you intended,
(Why don’t you wear that shirt I got you tonight? You look so nice in it, I wish you would…)
I felt like that while watching Sia’s Elastic Heart video for the first time. And the second and third.
Here’s a link to it on YouTube.
My husband came home and was like, “Sia issued an apology for this video, let’s watch it,” so we started watching and I was like, ok, it’s about…he’s representing Human and she’s representing Other, like as Animal specifically…maybe…No…omg, he represents Parent and she represents Child, omg I think I’m crying…
I mean, it hit me in a super overwhelming way that the video is about being a parent and seeing this thing before you that is so foreign and beautiful and terrifying and yours, I mean, you can protect your own heart and keep it safe but then in your child is your own heart that you can’t protect anymore, it’s got it’s own journey and you’re not in charge of your own heart anymore, and that’s terrifying,
And you’re fascinated and in love and terrified and you can’t look away,
And the cage they’re in, that’s the scope of the parent’s influence, or maybe even the span of the parent’s lifetime, encircling the parent but not the child, and at the end of the video they push and pull through the bars because it’s hard to break free of your parents and it’s hard to let go of your child but ultimately the parent is confined in this circle,
Oh man, I felt this so strongly, like the meaning could not have been clearer,
Is Sia a parent? I don’t know, I don’t even care, that’s not the point, the point is this is what she was saying to me, she gave me this gift and and this is how I am wearing it.
So it was interesting to read Sia’s own discussion of the video, that her intention was to represent two parts of the same self, battling, and later in a Making Of Video someone referenced the cage as being the mind in which these inner selves chase and bite and hit and play and carry and comfort. I can see that now, but I didn’t see even a hint of that before I read her take on her own work.
This is one of the neat things about dance.
It’s the most open to interpretation of all the art forms, I think.
Like if we had a scale where on one end the audience receives exactly the message the artist intended, and on the other end the audience receives a meaning that maybe has nothing to do with the artist’s intention, I’d say that scale goes from writing to dance, with music and visuals in there some where.
Maybe I’ll draw it out someday.
Right now I need to go dry my ridiculous eyes and go get my sweet baby up from his nap.
Peace out Gentle Reader.

About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
This entry was posted in ce n'est pas une mom blog, Movies, tv, and live stuff and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Ridiculous eyes and elastic hearts

  1. Your interpretation is really interesting and one that I haven’t read before. I loved (!!!) the video and interpreted it as an alcoholic parent with a child who has to deal with it.

    I feel like throughout the video there was a lot of exploration of her conflicting feelings towards him – anger, frustration, sorrow, trepidation, love.

    I can’t go through the whole video but a few examples are like when he climbs the cage and is hanging above her then drops down and she looks like she’s either sleeping or dead and he touches her to see if she’s alive – I interpreted that as he hurt her in a drunken rage and is remorseful. Then when she’s thumping him on the forehead near the end, that symbolises treatment.

    Then after that she guides him and he can’t fit out of the cage because his addiction has too strong of a hold on him and he finally gives up.

    I also have a few other interpretations after watching it maybe 100 times, one being quite similar to the above but instead of parent/child it’s two sides of one person who is fighting against themself to overcome hereditory addiction or just addiction.

    I don’t know. This was long and possibly makes no sense… I’m on a train and I have nothing else to do!

    Sia has said she’s making a trilogy and I’m really hoping the next music video is to her song Big Girls Cry.

    In conclusion ugh Maddie is such a talented dancer and who knew Shia Labeof had that in him (not me) (i love him now).

  2. wedoballet says:

    Cool. As with all dance, it’s fun to watch with different stories in mind. (I guess that’s why ballets always tell you up-front what they want you to see happening scene by scene). I watched for parenting… bam. Watched for the Id and Ego stuff… there it was. Watched for the addict… tada.

  3. Carla Escoda says:

    This is the problem with “interpretive” dance: choreographers can easily invoke the noble claim of “pushing boundaries” and shrug their shoulders if some viewers read pedophilia or other yuck into the narrative.

    In dance, as you point out, the field of interpretation is wider other art forms.

    But context is everything. Art doesn’t get made in a vacuum.

    In a time when the world is shocked by news of the abuse of children in brothels, in football locker rooms, in church confessionals, it’s understandable that many viewers are put off by the image of a practically nude 11 year old wrestling with a practically nude older man in a dirty cage.

    It doesn’t matter how well Maddie Ziegler dances, or how artistically the set is lit, or how cleverly the film was edited, or how much Graham technique was tossed into the choreography. It matters even less what Sia thinks she was saying in the lyrics. None of that hides the fact that a child is being exploited on camera. That Ziegler herself in interviews can’t spot the exploitation proves that she is too immature to be put on show in this way.

    It was troubling enough to watch the waif-like, anorexic, drug-addicted Gelsey Kirkland at age 25 pretend to be a 16 year old in the Nutcracker. Now 82 million viewers are watching a 12 year old pretend to be a dominatrix in a cage.

    Childhood as we construct it now was not established until the mid to late 19th century. In the Middle Ages children were viewed as mini-adults (art reflected that too.) Into the early 1800’s children were not seen as needing any special protection but were made to work in factories, farms and mines, and were punished for crimes with the same severity as adults.

    Today, however, child psychology has taught us a lot and parenting has become a complex science. We are in the odd situation where we understand what is appropriate to expose our children to at different stages in their lives, and yet we frequently cross those lines, regularly exploiting them in the media and hyper-sexualizing them in our drive to make them and their moms and their dance teachers and their product sponsors famous.

    Most professional choreographers understand how to use children on stage – especially when they are in scenes with adults – sensitively and appropriately. They are careful not to over-expose even those with unusual talent, knowing that until they are past puberty and until their bones have hardened around age 22, they have a lot of growing and maturing to do, and you can destroy that budding talent, physically and mentally, by showcasing them too much. Maddie Ziegler at 12 is no more precocious than many talented youngsters being nurtured in ballet academies around the world. She is agile and flexible, fearless and ambitious, and enveloped by a publicity machine that will use her up and spit her out most likely before she hits 18.

  4. Carys says:

    I love this video! I also nominated you for the infinity dreams award!

    Carys x

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