Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Mike Silas A Star Of Warholian Proportions

Mike Silas ready to firefight and cool the bad.

I believe the reason why Gaga hired Michael Silas was because she saw the Andy Warhol in him. Anyone who knows about Warhol knows that one of the biggest superstars he created was Joe d’Allesandro. Joe was a muscular Italian-American actor with golden skin and he looked like a softer, sexier version of movie star Robert DeNiro. He was a star of indie/art house films during the 1970s and ‘80s. Joe’s screen presence is what made him special. He appeared confident at some moments, yet sensitive and shy at others. This also describes Mike Silas who owns a quiet confidence. He’s heavily tattooed, yet he doesn’t look rough. There’s a mysterious look in his eyes. Mike sort of has that Joe d’Allesandro/DeNiro look, a reluctant mouth that rarely smiles. The eyes are innocent and soulful, yet intensely sexual. He has the type of eyes that can undress a person, a peanut butter-colored beauty with a trim, athletic body, full of sculpted muscles.

So who is this sexy dance prince named Michael Silas? Well, he’s a German-born dancer who has competed on the Bravo television show Step It Up And Dance and after dancing for artists as diverse as Christina Aguilera, Kelly Rowland and Hilary Duff, Mike is currently a dancer for Lady Gaga. He’s danced with her for almost two years evolving with her style and becoming a major part of her Performance art. Mike brings an intensely masculine aura to Gaga’s stage shows, yet he performs all of the sassy choreography like someone out of the ballet Giselle. (Read: graceful).

He seems like a hustler who will do all he can to get money (except crime). He’ll use his body because he’s knows it’s a gift from God. Being a dancer, he knows how to move his body, which is a skill not many have. It’s clear that he likes to be watched. He likes to put on a show, perhaps an exhibitionist to a degree. Just check the passionate kiss of French nationality between him and fellow Lady Gaga dancer Asiel Hardison at the conclusion of an “Alejandro” performance in Japan. The kiss is at the 2:47 mark.

In many ways, Lady Gaga fashions herself after Warhol, discovering and developing talent. Back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, there was something called the Warhol Superstar, which was a person Warhol discovered and developed. His Superstars accompanied him in his social life. Mike has been in Gaga’s circle for almost two years, so in that sense Mike is like a Warhol superstar, except he’s a Gaga Superstar. He has thousands of fans around the world. Never has there been a time when a backup dancer has gotten so much recognition.

Mike is a performance artist as much as Gaga is. For each song he dances to he plays a different role, wears a different outfit with different makeup and therefore gives a different performance. On November 25, 2009 when the 2009 American Music Awards aired, Lady Gaga performed her song “Bad Romance” for the first time on television. Choreographer Laurie Ann Gibson’s dance moves were fresh and kinetic, sexy and artistic and other worldly. The expressions of the dancers are pretty much detached, which is the intended effect of most of Gaga’s Performance art, like her idol Andy Warhol. Like Warhol, Gaga is preoccupied with mirrors and how mirrors can reflect distorted images.

The song “Bad Romance” is itself about Gaga looking into a mirror and seeing all these strange versions of herself, from a leather-clad S&M maven to a murderous Norman Bates. The Performance art communicates the mirror concept in the choreography. The slender, yet muscular dancers line up each of their palms with the each other and create an image of a reflection, as if they’re looking into a mirror.

Part of being a dancer is about always having the ability to play the role given to you. Mike does this well. The female dancers start out the show and then the male dancers come in like wolves pawing the air and stomping their feet. The Gary Card-designed bone masks and accessories that all the dancers wear mean more than affection for the movie A Night at the Museum. Instead, it’s a commentary on self-identity and how humans have to look inside themselves all the way down to the bone, hence the translucent bones. By looking in the mirror, a human should be able to see through to their soul. Mike and the rest of the dancers play the roles of distorted images, which represent their true souls, their essences.

It’s clear that Mike listens to the style of dance that is aesthetically best for a song he will dance to. He doesn’t only perform dance moves choreographed by others, but he teaches Master classes where he creates his own choreography for students to learn. For instance, Mike interpreting 1981 Hall & Oates hit “I Can’t Go for That” as homage to Michael Jackson’s Thriller era choreography.

He opens up the song by performing a graceful, well-balanced arabesque position from ballet, with one leg on the floor and the other leg extending back. His arms open up like a bird in flight. The Mike morphs into a monster making his hands into claws thrusting his body up, reminiscent of Michael Jackson dancing as a zombie with his iconic red leather jacket from the “Thriller” video. As the Hall & Oates’ synthesized violins soar beautifully Mike moves with them, opening up his arms at full extension like some beautiful creature whose found comfort in his own body. He glides back, gliding each foot against the floor like a figure skater. When Daryl Hall starts singing the first verse, singing the lyrics “You got the body, now you want my soul,” it’s clear how Mike’s mind was working. He saw the concepts from Jackson’s “Thriller” about the creatures taking over the bodies of humans. Mike honed in on the supernatural element of Hall & Oates “I Can’t Go for That.” The song also has a percussive bounce similar to the bass on Jackson’s “Billie Jean.”

A true choreographer is the equivalent of a songwriter who creates melodies and lyrics. A dancer/choreographer speaks the lyrics to a song with his body. His body does the talking. Mike says it best: “Life is my canvas, the beat is my soul, crank it up and watch me roll.”

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