Dancing lightly on the edge of time

This post is long overdue, but it took some Sherlock-Holmes-level Internet searching to ascertain the facts about what I want to say. So now, belatedly, I can tell you, factually, what I’ve found about about the dancers in the video clips that I have bought from Artgrid or got for free from Pexels. If, like me, you produce your own music videos, you probably spend hours and hours staring at a screen when you have to synchronize the clips and the audio track, frame by frame and note for note.

When fuzzy-fuzzy won’t do

You can just add fuzzy-wuzzy, ambient or atmospheric type of video clips to match the general feeling of your song. But if you are trying to do a lyric video, in which the subtitles have to match both the audio track and the video, then fuzzy-wuzzy won’t work. You will conflate, and thus blur, the meanings and connotations of all the components. Also, if you are trying to do a music video for an instrumental, you have to use very specific artistic expressions to illustrate the meaning of the song.

So, for the video producer who has no actual studio, actors, musicians or money, the best option is to find affordable, high-quality video clips of dancers (rather than singers or instrumentalists). You then synch their movements with the music, and the titles. All of this is seriously time-consuming and you end up staring at one person’s face and movements for literally days on end, inspecting those clips by the millisecond.

Dump the clip – now what?

This leads you to either dump the clip because the dancer turns out to be not so good, or not on a beat, or not in the right style (sometimes ballet fits, sometimes hip-hop, popping or jazz), or the camera angle is weird or it’s wobbly or it’s got a rolling shutter effect or some other technical problem. So what do you do then? Search for more.

I have seen some brilliant dancers in footage that you can get from Artgrid, Pexels, Rotor, etc. I had no idea who they are, however. I think they deserve credit and publicity. It turns out that those clips of a few seconds’ duration are often part of longer, continuous filmed dance routines for promotional purposes – for the dancer, the studio or the videographer, or all of them.

green with envy

I cannot tell you how envious it makes me to see these dancers perform – the tantalizing, beautiful movements, the almost supernatural power and grace of their leaps and turns, the lightning-fast precision of their steps, the smiling nonchalance with which they do it, and just the sheer sculptural beauty of their bodies. I could never do that, or be like that, even with a lifetime of lessons. I feel the same way when I hear a pitch-perfect vocal recording. To have that magical instrument in your throat so that when you open your mouth to sing like a bird, out comes a perfect note that sets off a frisson of delight in the listener. My word. Imagine being able to do that, and being born to do that.

They seem to personify this adage by Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore:

“Let your life dance lightly on the edges of time like dew on the tip of a leaf.”

who’s that dancer?

But, with the tagging and descriptions as limited as they are on all of these platforms, you can just about figure out who filmed the clips, and that’s all. The who, where, when, why and how are missing. But this is not an impediment to a nosy parker and Internet sleuth like me.

So, ladies and gentlemen, here they are: – the most awesomely talented, best looking bunch of dancers you can hope to employ or use in your film or music video.

1. Stanislav “Stas” Litvinov

This is Stas Litvinov, full name Stanislav Vladimirovich Litvinov. Recognizable by his beard, earrings and compelling eyes. His nickname is “Dance Machine”. He features in the music videos of “Hirajōshi and Air“, and two more upcoming releases of mine. The footage of him that I’ve used most often was produced by Cottonbro Studio in early 2019, and is on his Instagram page (link at the bottom). Footage of him can be downloaded from Pexels.com – search for “Cottonbro”.

An admirer called the famous 19th century surgeon, Dr. Samuel Pozzi, “disgustingly handsome”. Well, is this man not disgustingly handsome? He sure is. I mean, for heaven’s sake, look at those eyes, those cheekbones, those lips, that smile… did I mention those eyes? It’s enough to make you break out in a cold sweat. And when he dances he sometimes does this thing of just looking into the camera with an intense gaze, or grinning with a flash of super-white teeth before he whizzes off in a pirouette. And man, can he dance! He looks super cool and relaxed in the footage, and happy! How can you resist that occasional boyish smile?

11 seconds video clip filmed in about 2019, four years ago, by Cottonbro Studio, available for free download on Pexels.com.

Stanislav Litvinov (Станислав Литвинов),known as “Stas”, was born on November 14, 1990 in the Ukrainian city of Dnepropetrovsk, so he’s about 32 years old now. He is a professional dancer, choreographer, dance teacher, and musician. He is a member of the dance group of the Leningrad Centre Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. He studied folk choreography from 2008 to 2012, and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from the State Academy of Culture in Kharkov, Ukraine (KSAC/ХГАК). During his final years he also took master classes in modern dance; house, hip-hop, jazz-funk, etc. The first master class he attended was with choreographer Denis Mirgoyazov in 2011, and since then he has attended numerous other master classes by dance professionals from around the world.

As a child, nicknamed “Stasik”, he had problems with his legs, his weight, and clumsiness, but he overcame those obstacles. He has taken part in many dance competitions, TV shows, and dance projects, performed with numerous singers and bands, and is by now established and well known as a solo artist as well as a dance crew member. He is a very determined person:

There are two types of people: those whom God has endowed with natural data [данныеability], and those whom I call “pieces of wood.” It is to them that I belong – to people who, without [natural ability] and without talents, made themselves. It took a very long time, but I am determined and I am a workaholic. I believe that work will always be rewarded, especially if you say to yourself “you know you can.” More than once situations arose that jeopardized [my] further dance activities. Of course, there were professional injuries – for example, [I] tore the meniscus, [and] thought: “That’s it, I’ll become a locksmith now.” By the way, my first education was “car mechanic”. Recently they cut out a tumour on [my] spine, stretched the ligaments – but nothing. [I am] alive.

Stas Litvinov, quoted in The Strip, 04.02.2020, retrieved July 19, 2023 (edited for translation errors, changes in brackets)

Links: YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/@stas14111990 / Instagram channel (Russian): https://www.instagram.com/stas_litvinov/?hl=en

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