A dance expert dissects Lorde's 'brave' VMAs dance video

MTV/SUPPLIED

Lorde confused fans as she performed an interpretative dance to her Homemade Dynamite track at the VMAs.

Lorde's performance at the MTV Video Music Awards left some fans confused.

When the Kiwi songstress took the stage on Monday, she surprised the audience by not singing, instead opting to dance her way through hit Homemade Dynamite.

Lorde later revealed that a bad flu had prevented her from singing, and rather than lip synch she chose to perform a dance piece.

Lorde's performance featured lots of lifts despite her being a "grounded" dancer.
MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS

Lorde's performance featured lots of lifts despite her being a "grounded" dancer.

She told a disappointed fan to "challenge your ideals to expand beyond what's traditionally good, beautiful or 'right' in a context like this".

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Though the performance had its critics, it also had its fans - and one of them was University of Auckland Dance Studies associate professor Carol Brown.

Lorde's performance at the VMAs earned her criticism from the likes of Maroon 5's Adam Levine.
DANNY MOLOSHOK/REUTERS

Lorde's performance at the VMAs earned her criticism from the likes of Maroon 5's Adam Levine.

"It's a beautifully flawed performance. It's awkward, but at the same time it's joyous and it's exuberant and it's exploratory and it's experimental," Brown said. "I think it's a really brave choice by Lorde."

Brown was initially taken aback by the performance, but it quickly grew on her after a couple of viewings.

She said the dance's flaws and rawness were a radical departure from typical polished pop acts, and were something the world of pop music needed more of.

Brown said Lorde's outfit for the performance appeared to be "deconstructing that image of the feminine dancer."
"It's ...
MARIO ANZUONI

Brown said Lorde's outfit for the performance appeared to be "deconstructing that image of the feminine dancer." "It's got an interesting mixture of references between what you usually wear in a dance studio, those pants with trainers, plus the slight suggestion of a sort of ballet tutu, almost, with the silver satin gather."

"Lorde is not a trained dancer. So we're looking at someone who - she's not a Beyonce who's been spending years really refining her moves. It's not a refined performance, it's got a rawness in its physicality.

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"But that's what we need today, we need to see women who take risks, and who really are prepared to put themselves out there in all their extraordinary uniqueness. [Lorde] is not fitting into a mould or modelling herself on anyone else, she's being really individual with it and you have to admire that."

Brown interpreted Lorde's VMAs performance as being in the tradition of female solo artists expressing themselves through physicality.

"As a dancer and dance scholar, I look at her work in relation to that tradition of modern female soloists who are emancipated. There's that notion of the liberated woman, who puts her body first as a sort of expressive tool, who doesn't need words, her body is actually speaking its own language."

The choreography of the performance, with its numerous lifts, seemed designed to challenge Lorde.

"I don't think she's naturally an aerial dancer, you can see she's quite a grounded dancer, her weight is really dropping into the ground on those feet, so when she's lifted up off the ground she has to really let go, and that takes quite a bit of courage and a kind of voluntary surrender in a way, which is interesting," Brown said.

"What an amazing thing for a young woman, to see her taking that risk, not putting out the usual moves."

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 - Stuff

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