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Posted at 12:16 PM ET, 12/22/2010

The Year's Top Boundary-Busters in Dance

By Sarah Kaufman

The most fabulously transgressive dance events of 2010:

1. Kanye West's performance of his hit single "Runaway" on "Saturday Night Live," in October.

West's new album has justifiably been earning praise, but how about his reimagining of a "Swan Lake"-like corps de ballet, which forms the backdrop to this confessional song? The willowy dancers in snowy tulle who surround him are--shocker-- black and Latino as well as white. It's a stunning picture, especially given the makeup of most ballet troupes, with their paucity of African American women. West gives us a dream of a multiracial ballet corps, and achieves what so many ballet directors can't, or won't. To paraphrase the rapper's lyrics: Let's have a toast to ...a breakthrough.

2. U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan remaking Lady Gaga's "Telephone" video.

Seven Americans in the 82nd Airborne stripped off their fatigues and showed their tender side
in a homoerotic video that went viral. It brought a distant war closer to home--and our hearts.

3. The Paul Taylor Dance Company performing the male quartet from Taylor's "Cloven Kingdom" at the White House in September. Man's unsettling animal nature rocked the East Room, as Taylor's tuxedoed swells crawled around on all fours and leapt at one another's throats. This was a cheekily provocative work to show in such a civilized setting; kudos to Taylor for not playing it safe.

By Sarah Kaufman  | December 22, 2010; 12:16 PM ET
Categories:  Dance, Sarah Kaufman  
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