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james2015
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There has been a lot of lip synching for a long time. Not all performances, but even dating back to some old Soul Train perfromances it was not uncommon for an artists to lip synch. Now it is more common than ever and some artists never perform fully live:

 

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/pop-stars-lip-sync/story?id=24086986

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/michelecatalano/2013/01/25/from-michael-jackson-to-beyonce-a-brief-history-of-lip-syncing/

 

My favorite dance acts were forced to combine them at least some of the time. Live or not, here are some of my favorite 'moves.'

 

This performance is clearly desynched with the audio consistently, so it's tough to tell how live Ruffin was, the rest of the band didn't have mics. But wow, that is one o the coolest moves ever at 1:39:

 

 

On this one, Jackie doesn't have a mic on this music video here, but check out 1:07:

 

 

He was nicknamed "Mr Excitement" and was a primary inspiration on Michael Jackson. Both were heavy influences, and Jackson paid for Ruffin's funeral. I think when dancing matches the energy of music it can have a cool performance art effect, but I would prefer these moves fully live, even with vocal hiccups. It must have been a huge joy to see them in non televized performances, where audiences were more likely to see the raw energy and performances, prior to technology making lip syncing possible and even easier no matter the venue.

 

As or the technique, I wouldn't know, but I know that Jackie Wilson was a boxer prior to being a singer, so he wouldn't be easily winded. Cardio is probably really helpful. I definitely preferred the older era of soulful style dancing before it became overly choreographed. Felt more primal, like a raw energy in the performance rather than rehearsed to a symmetrical and bland perfection. Like most arts, I prefer dancing to emotional, which means someone would feel compelled to move by the music, and not feel compelled to move because of some kind of imposed conformity to a 'rule set.' For that reason I prefer solo dancers or loosely assembled acts where individual freedom of expression is more present.

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I loved your post Killer. I am a ballet dancer and I feel the same way. "solo dancers or loosely assembled acts where individual freedom of expression is more present" <-- this, haha.

I will definitely try to do some stuff live when the opportunity comes! haha

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I loved your post Killer. I am a ballet dancer and I feel the same way. "solo dancers or loosely assembled acts where individual freedom of expression is more present" <-- this, haha.

I will definitely try to do some stuff live when the opportunity comes! haha

 

I'm not a trained dancer on any level, but I wondered if trained dancers had similar feelings in the arts. It's nice to hear you're a free spirit too and channeling your own identity into the arts is important to  you.

 

The issue goes a bit deeper still for me. I get uncomfortable when people conform 'too much' with movement in general. If you look throughout history, conformity of movement was used to build strong cults of personality. It seems to have some kind of psychological effect on populations: 

 

 

 

It's like when people see a really high amount of cohesion, it makes them more likely to assimilate behind the group leader, for better or worse. In a sense. I could theorize there is a cult of personality built up around many celebrities. Their dancing is a lot more complicated than a military march, it's more challenging, it require a lot of skill, training, and so forth, and I wouldn't want to rob any of the dedication, but going from Jackie Wilson's antics, to seeing like 20 people line up and assemble and conform to say Britney Spears as the 'leader' as the new default pop industry standard,it  gives me weird vibes. Feels vaguely fascist.

 

It didn't bother me all that much when Michael Jackson really got it swinging with Thriller. It didn't seem as much like a calculated ploy, so much as maybe Jackson and his group had a different artistic vision. But when the pop industry conformed to this as the new standard, and Jackie Wilson/Temptations era kind of free spirited excitement faded away, it reflects a lot of things I don't like about the modern pop music industry and maybe some broader elements of society in general.

 

If you look at this:

 

 

The first thing you'd notice is how terribly synchronized they are. The first impression people might get is how more they suck at marching, but the second one, ... And I hope this is true, is maybe they just don't want to follow orders to the same degree. Their bodies, spirits, souls, maybe they are more their own. Maybe they could refuse a horrific order from a superior.

 

Dancing as an art lets people express freedom. Freedom of mind, freedom of body, freedom of movement. I hope if you can hit it big, you can bring some of that back to the masses. I suspect it helps people feel more free in their lives when people are baring their souls, maybe it isn't lock step, but it has its own beauty, and is a release. To be less controlled in your life and it can inspire others.

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Excellent post, Killer. That said, I can only add that I have always felt that anyone who wants and tends to do things differently -even if it has been done before-, be it singing, dancing, writing, painting, doing scientific research or whatever, is an artist. Doing what you want in your own way is a form of art by itself.

Think Leonardo DaVinci. He probably even exhumed tombs with style, LOL
 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks for the great post Killer. I also hear that some train by having to pick up coins on the ground and singing too to minimize bumps in their vocals like this group.

 

I know this group here minimizes their lip sync quite a bit and have the back tracks turned down more often than not, but you're right, lip sync  just seems like standard nowdays.

 

 

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Killer - I find military marches boring (and as a military veteran I've actually marched a few times at boot camp) but I don't think they cancel one's human spirit or something.

 

And there's a lot to be said for working with others in sync. In a band, I like a tight groove... I'm a fool for 60s R&B bands where every instrument comes in in sync... it also works well for rockers such as AC/DC... dancing in sync is more or less the same.

 

Trust me, a whole lot more is needed, and efficiently applied, to erase one's individuality... 

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Killer - I find military marches boring (and as a military veteran I've actually marched a few times at boot camp) but I don't think they cancel one's human spirit or something.

 

And there's a lot to be said for working with others in sync. In a band, I like a tight groove... I'm a fool for 60s R&B bands where every instrument comes in in sync... it also works well for rockers such as AC/DC... dancing in sync is more or less the same.

 

Trust me, a whole lot more is needed, and efficiently applied, to erase one's individuality... 

 

Pop music isn't the best comparison for unison, because while it retains tempo and key most of the time, the instruments are collaborative, the leader is less defined, (although the singer gets most attention). A drum line is more comparable, where movements are required to be synchronized and creativity is frowned upon. If in pop music, the singer, bassist, guitarist, drummer, keyboardist, all were required to play in exactly the same notes together in perfect sync with no room for creativity, improvisation, or input it would be closer to a march or the choreography displayed by Britney's dancers. 

 

Still, forcing a synchronization of movements would only be a component of a set of tools rather than a singular tool at gaining power. I'm not implying being forced to march a single time or being forced to dance behind Britney Spears would brainwash people instantly, but if we lived in a culture where people were expected to dance very cohesively behind Britney Spears on a regular basis it would put her in a position of significant power and authority.  

 

Merely presenting the image of her as leader on a regular basis is a weaker stimulus, but it's still there and doesn't exist in a vacuum. It's human nature to want to look up to leaders, be part of groups, conform to group expectations, reward and adhere to, and look up to authority figures most of the time.

 

Jonestown wasn't built in a day. First Jim Jones had to be presented as a leader figure through imagery and people needed to respond psychologically to that by conforming to this. Eventually people were selling their homes in order to give him the money. Even then, a full scale brain washing wasn't possible, as some people had the autonomy to try to escape the massacre.

 

So you can't completely erase people's autonomy, but you can influence it. It usually starts with an image. The image can influence people's behavior into a further goal (money, power, etc). It's the concept behind marketing. Images have power.

 

I would find it soul destroying to be forced to imitate Britney Spears movement exactly with no creative input. But on the spectrum of things, I'm a pretty staunch nonconformist and really value creativity and autonomy. I likely couldn't survive in a military because of my nature. I'm the kind of person that cannot follow any order without questioning it, which in the long run is not very adaptive. Having studied history I'd have died or been killed in many of the cultures where adherence without questioning is more enforced.

 

I think I would have been most compatible with a hunter gatherer society that was collaborative and small scale, but even if someone told me to march, I would ask why and refuse unless there was a valid justification.

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Man, that's a lot of philosophy and social commentary based on singers that could dance a 4-step. I think I would like to dance with Ms Spears, she could probably teach me a few things, as I am not much of a dancer. Also, I think the synchronicity in a show is for a different reason than that in the military. Synchronicity in a show is for a visual effect, an integral part of the whole performance. Marching in the military is about cohesion of the unit, the ability of individuals to sublimate, not subjugate, their impulses in order to serve a goal that benefits more than just themselves.

 

So, you're asking, "Ron, where did you learn to march?" Boy scouts. Our assistant scoutmaster was an Army Ranger LRRP. We learned parade drill with wooden guns but later, we did learn to use pistol and shotgun. And our scoutmaster, a former army pilot and a commercial pilot (he learned to fly planes without box cutters) was a 5th degree black belt in Kenpo Karate, so he taught us hand-to-hand. And we learned to ignore the elements of weather. So, while I did not get to serve in the US military, I did learn something about the structure and practices.

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 Marching in the military is about cohesion of the unit, the ability of individuals to sublimate, not subjugate, their impulses in order to serve a goal that benefits more than just themselves.

 

So, you're asking, "Ron, where did you learn to march?" Boy scouts. Our assistant scoutmaster was an Army Ranger LRRP. We learned parade drill with wooden guns but later, we did learn to use pistol and shotgun. And our scoutmaster, a former army pilot and a commercial pilot (he learned to fly planes without box cutters) was a 5th degree black belt in Kenpo Karate, so he taught us hand-to-hand. And we learned to ignore the elements of weather. So, while I did not get to serve in the US military, I did learn something about the structure and practices.

 

I understand and respect that perspective and do believe it promotes cohesion, but I don't really believe in the concept of sublimation. In order for something to serve a higher purpose above the individual, you'd have to define what a higher purpose means. If it means war, I think the species has already failed at this higher purpose.  

 

Since I believe all cultures are concepts existing in people's minds, I'm not sure they can ever serve a higher purpose than real human beings that exist regardless of these concepts. I don't find cohesion valuable in itself unless it directly achieves an objectively valuable goal. I'd walk a meaningful destination with a group, but would not march meaninglessly. 

 

I don't think it's a choice either. I find following orders traumatizing. It's related to this concept:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

 

The closest I've found to a higher purpose is for an individual to reduce harm as best as they can and attempt to create value the limitations of being an ape. As best as I understand I happn to be a psychologically distressed ape (psycholigical distress is viewed as mental illness in this society), and I chose art, where as others I knew chose violence, crime, and suicide.

 

In art there is true freedom. As close to as I can figure, that is why I sing. Singing is the freest expression I've ever known and it is not harmful.

 

I do very much understand why you find value in sublimination. I don't think I'm capable. People like me were amongst the first slaughtered, even prior to the Jews during the holocaust as a trial run for the 'higher' purpose. I don't think there is one. I think we're a bunch of individual, flawed people, who may try to stop hurting each other, and that may be the highest purpose there is.

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That's parallel comradery though. There isn't an authoritarian structure involve. There is no leader and the dance steps are loosely synced without a care in the world.

 

You also see shared vocal duties which was common in ZZ Top. And even have Dusty screaming an out of tune wail at 2:33 with Billy thinking it was cool.

 

No backup dancer for Britney could do any of that. Pawns and tools. :D

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