Another week….. “Another Star”….. Another #MusicCrushMonday….
I went to see Stevie Wonder in concert this past weekend at he Verizon Center in DC. It was his “Songs in the Key of Life” tour that he claimed would be his last musical tour in the United States. When I first saw the notice of his tour posted on Facebook (of course) back in August, I knew that I had to get these tickets. I even skipped out on a professional development workshop to make sure I was logged on to ticketmaster.com at 10am to get the best seats possible!! This week’s honor goes to the Myth… the Man… the Legend… the One… the Only…. STEVIE WONDER!!!
During the 4 hour concert, I realized just how much Stevie Wonder’s music has contributed to not only my musical horizons, but also to my dance life. As a dancer of 29 years, and a dance teacher of 6 years, Stevie Wonder has been played in many a dance classes/workshops and used for multiple choreographic works and dreams. Currently on my Spotify Playlist entitled “To Choreograph”, I have at least 3 Stevie Wonder Songs. As the concert began and Stevie Wonder began to dazzle us all with his poignant lyrics, graceful musical stylings, captivating musicianship with a full orchestra in tow, and pure artistry as he drew in the crowd, I began to feel my body move to each song. And each song invoked its own choreography, whether taught to me, or created by myself. So in honor of Stevie Wonder’s musical catalog, I give you my Top 5 Stevie Wonder Songs to Dance to:
- “As“ from the album Songs in the Key of Life- In 2000, I saw a dance piece by my former modern teacher Alvin Mayes at the University of Maryland College Park at the Maryland Dance Ensemble performance, and I have been obsessed with choreographing the song ever since! I tried once in 2011 and cut it from the performance, simply because I didn’t think it lived up to Stevie Wonder’s standard. Still chasing this golden unicorn choreographic dream.
- “I Wish“ from the album Songs in the Key of Life- I learned a tap dance routine to this song in 2012. I still remember how intricate the steps were to the multiple rhythmic layers of this song. Im posting the version sung by Lady Gaga at the Stevie Wonder Tribute in 2015 (which won
an Emmy by the way) because I admire her artistry with this great song.
- “Dancing to the Rhythm“ from the album Natural Wonder. This song is my musical happy place. It is thrilling, enthralling, upbeat, melodic, graceful, passionate, and strong. Not to mention the fact that it speaks about dancing as a way to invoke pure joy within oneself. I have used this song of modern dance warm-ups and jazz dance pirouette combinations. It’s a fantastic song to use for choreography.
- “Master Blaster” from the album Natural Wonder. I have used this song for many a tap dance warm-up sequence and for many a nights-in dance party.
- “Higher Ground” from the album Innervisions. This song is a staple piece of choreography that I pull out for any jazz class or introductory level dance class! I have used it for 4 years now and it never feels to invoke sass, funk, energy, and freedom! (Thanks to the movie CenterStage for giving it a spotlight… click below to watch) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZfzdR_J_3c
Thanks for reading and listening to this week’s #MusicCrushMonday dedicated to Stevie Wonder. Til next time, keep it #PopStyle!!
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