First off, if you are not familiar with the band/dance troupe, World Order, then here is an apt introduction:
I think one of the reasons I keep watching their music videos is because there is this prideful strangeness or eccentricity that seems to be expressed by these virtually expressionless men, that, and the exactitude of their dance that makes it mind numbing to even begin to think about how they pulled these moves off. I was introduced to this band almost a year and a half ago by none other than Roger Ebert who linked a video on one of his many posts during a random day. Watching their videos for the first time sparked an unrestrained amount of excitement and curiosity within me.
World Order, their history in a nutshell, is a Japanese music group and dance troupe started by a former mixed martial arts fighter named Genki Sudo. Their music and dance are hinged upon the motivation to find a certain commonality within our modern age, an age rampant in busyness and technology. This commonality, Sudo believes, is what can bring us together. If I were to generalize the dance style of World Order, it would be something along the lines of scientific chaos or mechanical harmony...a combination of both...but that's why I don't want to generalize. There are many things that are going on within each and every video of theirs. One thing is for sure is that they embody the sporadic pace of our civilization. This is not to say that they are satirizing it in any way (though there are moments where that could be the case). Rather, they are expressing it unabridged and unaware. For instance, I feel their signature move is the way they run from one place to another, shown briefly in the video above, their running is characterized by a rhythmically quick change from fast to slow, usually when one foot is in the air. The spastic subtlety correlates with such rhythms like traffic accelerating at a green light and coming to a stop at a red light, among other things we find in our contemporary landscapes.
The rest of their choreography can be described by a multitude of adjectives including explicit, thought-provoking, minimalist, and robotic. Take, for example, the last piece they performed in 'Machine Civilization,' which seemed to reflect the way gears work or, in other words, they way small parts run together to move a bigger machine (this dance was introduced by several shots of giant pieces of machinery). It is a way to inject our sense of humanity within the machines we create and vice verse because our world is dependent on such machinery. World Order strives to interpret such a need through their dances. In another video, 'Boy Meets Girl,' they illustrate the modern relationship through dance that evokes almost sporadic, but certainly fragmented, emotions, maybe highlighting the nature of text messaging and social networking in which feelings are not felt in a continuous manner as one would expect when talking face-to-face but rather isolated from one another, one feeling per text or instant message and then you must await for the next one. Nevertheless, the quite funny video also reflects what you may expect in a pop video, seen through some of the dances and most certainly through the cinematography and setting.
Though 'Boy Meets Girl' does not really depict this, one key aspect to the novelty of World Order is its knack for public dancing. Most of their numbers have them go virtually anywhere and dance their odd dances. What is remarkable about this from the standpoint of performance art is how the bystanders react or even their lack of reaction. These dances pulsate with the vitality of the modern age, yet they provide an interruption of this normal vitality by offering an illuminating reflection of what we take for granted. Moreover, the exactitude of such numbers asks not just the bystanders but the viewers of the video, as well, to regard subtlety and minuteness, something we may not regard in our busy, everyday lives. The public spaces they perform in are crucial to stress these themes as well as to advance their unifying motivation. These bystanders regard the group but do they simply ignore them or do they contemplate? There are a wide variety of reactions from many of the videos. Here is one video they performed in New York City.
The swiftness of the internet, the lumbering nature of city traffic, the movement of automatic doors, the serenity that is man and machine working together to create a functioning, well, machine civilization: this is represented through the dance of World Order. They express an almost limitless range of feelings yet do so with measuring sublimity. Their bodies show both an outflow of feelings but also restraint; their faces remain dormant while their bodies move in what seems like tedious precision, the same way we communicate instantaneously without seeing each others faces, so why would their facial expressions matter?
Dance is an interpretation of feelings, and the act of dancing creates a gateway between one's feelings and the observers. It is one thing that the feelings of an individual are expressed, but it is another thing that such dancing transcends such expression and provides a gateway into our ways of living or our feelings towards our constructed environments, virtual and physical. World Order represents our symbiotically complicated relationship with the modern age and this representation induces imagination and contemplation (as well as an ample amount of awe).
Ah, well that is the reason why I love dance so much and why I participate in such expression. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.