Christian Long

Kenichi Ebina: Magic Moves

In TED Talks on April 10, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Reflection by HERSH T.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Kenichi Ebina:  Magic Moves

If this video had just been a person dancing, then what was the reason that it was chosen and not thousands of other for the prestigious award of being presented at TED?

The most obvious appeal it seemed was the phrase “self-taught.” In many areas teaching oneself something is quite possible and can be more satisfying then learning from someone. However, as I myself am a self-taught dancer and break-dancer, I understand the extreme difficulty involved in dancing and on top of that teaching oneself how to dance.

Practicing everyday in my basement and working on strength build up and many other things that are required for dancing force oneself to set goals and accomplish these. Taking a class is often easier than self-teaching because the limits and time spent on something are routine and required. By oneself however, it takes much more willpower and self-determination to accomplish things.

When a person does something by themselves, i.e. teach them, and then what they learn and understand is completely unique to them and further emphasizes the beautiful individuality of the human mind.

Kenichi Ebina mixed some typical dance moves that I have studied before with some rather remarkable dance moves. Namely, he combined a little bit of magic into his routine. From the beginning it seemed as though his costume would provide a little leverage allowing his arms and legs to do moves that would cause the clothes to give the impression that he was moving more than he actually was. Since magic is simply tricking the audience, this maneuver was a stroke of genius and very obviously worked. The rather simple looking moves that he did on the ground actually require an incredible amount of upper body strength.

I have a challenge for you.

Get on the ground, and try to raise your whole body including your legs into the air and hold it. This is what Mr. Ebina is doing and he is making it seem effortless. The true magic in this dance video is the joy we can so obviously see in the face of Kenichi. When doing the thing someone loves, often a smile is the lowest level of enthusiasm a person can express. Kenichi Ebina is smiling throughout the performance which allows us to enjoy it even more.

Even if the greatest dancer in the world performed, unless he/she was able to connect to the audience the performance would pale in comparison to a person who did establish a relationship with the audience. Just recently I watched a video from Britain’s Got Talent and a street dance crew named Diversity was participating. In it I watched as the crew connected with the audience on such a primal level (excitement, anticipation, and the “wow”-factor) that the audience could not stop cheering. Similarly, by putting the audience at ease and reaching out to them, the audience wishes for you to succeed and because of that you do.

The final point that I would like to bring up is that Mr. Ebina, Diversity, and many other dancers and crews are transforming the very thing that defines dance. By allowing it to blossom into more than just moving your body, these people have allowed the best form of expression to adapt to today’s day and age. These people have helped make dance, the easiest way to communicate across cultures, the most powerful form of expression, and the most exciting thing to do on a weekend in your basement.


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