Lindsey Stirling Became a Robot on DWTS

Lindsey Stirling is an artistic chameleon, pushing the boundaries of creative self-definition and repeatedly blowing people’s minds. The same can be said about Mark Ballas, her dance partner on the current season of Dancing With The Stars, a show I would watch if it broadcast here, but thankfully there’s YouTube.

It’s a dance partnership made in heaven. Like many others, I was not expecting a sci-fi theme for their tango. I was also convinced after the first few seconds of viewing that Lindsey Stirling had special powers and had indeed turned in to a robot. I would believe it of her. And not just any robot, but one of the most stylish, disturbingly attractive and potentially menacing robots I’ve ever seen. At least on a dancefloor.

Mark Ballas is immediately recognizable as a mad scientist drilling with enthusiasm in to what appears to be a severed future robot leg, as smoke trails across the floor of the darkened stage. Three robots start to move with precise, elegant jerking of limbs a short distance away. The suave sounds of Human by Sevdaliza successfully meld with the robot’s mechanical, yet pristinely executed movements. The music matches the story unfolding – the Frankenstein and Pygmalion elements, the thrill of invention and the lines of passion, as well as the threatening possibility of machines going loose on the world.

It’s a complicated, interesting, out-of-the-box take on the passion element that is part of tango as such. It’s also simply visually stunning, as my friend @junperlu put it. Lindsey Stirling’s unwavering multicolored gaze has you hooked as she tangos her way through the number. But what sealed the mind-blowing aspect of this whole performance for me was how she nailed those mechanical movements in time with the clicking noises from the song. I’d say the head turns in the beginning win hands down.

The fact that they got a perfect score was immensely satisfying.

 

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The Arena by Lindsey Stirling

The inspirational, home-hitting and ever relevant quote from Theodore Roosevelt about facing life and what courage really is opens Lindsey Stirling’s latest music video, The Arena. And Lindsey would know, through personal experience, and in thinking this I immediately go back in my mind to her autobiography The Only Pirate at the Party. Many will shout, only a few will do – an ongoing theme in her music.

Visually grittier than most of Lindsey’s previous music videos, The Arena shows a story set in a seemingly fantastic space, but immediately painfully realistic in the scenes it depicts. People are thrown in to the fray of life for whatever reason, and even without actual lions waiting to pounce, the frowning crowd watching emanates a threatening sense that this could get ugly, as Lindsey and her partner, played by Derek Hough, move towards the center of this arena.

Is it a dying circus? A gang? Steam punk meets tribal meets Western meets dystopia? As always in Lindsey’s videos, the myriad of genres, ideas, associations and styles blends together to create something unique and memorable. Stepping next to a partner (relatively new for Lindsey) who looks like one of the fastest ballroom dancers in the world, her petite form is more obvious, but her posture is both graceful and determinedly strong at the same time.

It’s like Roundtable Rival flipped over, a mirror version, but in a world grey and desolate. Something needs to be reclaimed here. Love? Self-respect? Bravery? Happiness?

The sharpness of Lindsey’s violin cuts through my hearing, matching the dizzying speed of the dance movements. Once again both take mybreath away.

Anyone can become a target and be forced in to the arena, and it seems the message in the video is that a battle, whether big or small, is never far away, but whether fighting or not, it’s about not stopping being yourself. And, importantly so, to look around and realize that you don’t always have to do it alone, as you might have thought.

Welcome to The Arena.