The most influential name in today’s dance world isn’t the latest European enfant terrible or Balanchine reincarnation. The one who has Perhaps you’ve heard the name TikTok? The level of engagement that dance companies have spent the past 2 decades reinventing in hopes of has been achieved by this app (for the attention span challenged) in a matter of 5 years.
And talk about engagement! Dance challenges spread like wildfire if they catch on. One person has an idea for a dance and then variations upon variations spill through the platform as the idea is shared and the concept is injected with newer and fresher ideas. And then the new idea is presented in a short performance. Imagine a dance craze of the 1950’s being shared amongst teens, but instead of a community on a dance floor, there is a presentation in the virtual community.
One of the more interesting and technically developed dance-challenges is the Buttercup Challenge in which segments of body parts, props, and facial expressions that the dancer will eventually arrive in time with, float through space until the perfect moment of alignment. It is a dance of entropy that plays with time that can be thrilling to watch. Each person has their own spin on it as a new dancer learns it from the upteenth variation on the original. This is the one claimed to be the actual original but who can say?
My favorite one is by a user called issei0806. His enthusiasm and ambition with props and costume changes creates the illusion that he is racing against time rather than arriving with the inevitable moment that has already occurred. His whole profile is worth a look at as he has turned this premise into his medium. This is a dancer generally about to explode at the seams with hyper-active energy and his silly, explosive movements have moments of meritful excellence.
Unlike most of the low-tech special effects that dominate TikTok, this challenge does require some technical expertise and special software, the most common of which is probably a combination of Adobe software.