according to emily zager…

Dance + Pop Culture

Posted on: July 13, 2011

As a lifelong performer, it’s been interesting to observe how dance has become a driving force in popular culture. The movement continues to expand, flourish and grow.  A snapshot of today shows how mainstream media embraces the diversity and energy of dance styles in movies, reality television shows and other outlets.

The struggles, feats and successes of dance have been featured in movies such as  “Save The Last Dance,” “Center Stage,” and “Step Up.” Hollywood actress Jessica Alba portrayed an up-and-coming choreographer in “Honey.” Recently, the representation of drama and classical ballet earned dance thriller “Black Swan” Oscar nominations and awards while impacting audiences worldwide.

Seasoned artists and dance crews across the country compete and showcase their talents and personalities season by season on major networks such as Fox and MTV.  Popular and prominent companies like Apple are known for utilizing dance in memorable advertisements. Who doesn’t enjoy the AT&T flash mob commercial?

It’s exciting to see how outreach and marketing efforts are broadening audiences and enlightening people of all ages to a skillful, inviting and evolving art form.  Dance in movies and media has certainly come a long way since “American Bandstand,” “Fame” and “Soul Train,” and some of these beloved blasts from the past have been recreated (“Hairspray” and “Footloose”). Years later the premise is still the same: Style, attitude, confidence and a willingness to put it all on the line prevail.

However, a more competitive edge has been added to the mix – which only heightens the excitement and dynamics of dance in media. Today, audiences young and old have a say in the fates of performers on reality shows such as “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Dancing With The Stars,” and MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew.” A nation of observers deem who is worthy to compete and continue to fame and glory through phone calls, text messages and voting online.  Social networking communities unite to discuss and dissect episodes and results of shows.

The ratings are high for these shows, and today’s media allows for the exposure of an endless spectrum of dance styles ranging from contemporary jazz, salsa, the waltz and break dancing.  The humor, the talent, the tears, frustrations and triumphs – all displayed from contestants and hopeful individuals, front and center on your TV screen.

What aspects of dance and performance in media excite or inspire you the most?

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Emily received her BA in Advertising & Public Relations from Loyola University Chicago in May 2010. She is inquisitive by nature and loves to surround herself with new situations, people and the world around her.

Emily is a lifelong dancer, a current ballroom dance instructor, and lover of all things social media. She's currently searching for a new career opportunity in PR, event planning or advertising. Take a peek at her musings about media, branding & the PR indsutry.

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