Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cassidy Noblett Role-Plays with Lady Gaga and Brings Class Back to Dance

He smiles with pleasure. His eyes twinkle with seduction, and his body moves with the elegance of the Nutcracker Prince or the darkness of a monster. This body belongs to a professional dancer named Cassidy Noblett.

Cassidy is the master controller of his body, yet he never seems robotic and never unnatural. When a performance calls for energy and joy, he flashes his big, life-changing smile, and when a performance calls for tender sexiness, he becomes William Shakespeare’s Romeo. When Cassidy needs to be strong and graceful, he becomes Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Prince, and if he needs to be dark and dangerous he becomes a monster. All of these expressions show how Cassidy uses his great acting skill to make his dancing come alive, and touch your heart.

Right now, Cassidy is most famous for being one of Lady Gaga’s dancers on her ongoing Monster Ball Tour where he gets to play many different characters. The tour plays to all of Cassidy’s strengths as not only a dancer, but an actor. Recently, on July 9, 2010, Cassidy performed three songs with Gaga on NBC’s The Today Show Summer Concert series. For the first song “Bad Romance,” Cassidy’s hands become monster claws and he lopes around the stage like a panther who’s both beautiful and lethal. His hair is styled in a looser version of Elvis’ famous pompadour hairstyle. His white vest, corset, tights and Dr. Marten boots make him look like a ballerino turned punk. The peeling black polish on his fingernails adds to this image. There’s a standout moment when he gives a smoldering look of seduction that’s sexy, yet baby-faced and innocent. For the majority of Gaga’s songs, Cassidy embodies the fiercely stylish monster that knows how to work the runway and eat you for dinner at the same time.

During the song “Alejandro,” Cassidy plays three different roles in the space of three minutes. He begins the song a dancer acting out the narrative of Lady Gaga’s narrative about a woman and her struggle with resurrecting a love. By the time the second verse comes, Cassidy is a Spanish lover boy dancing a passionate tango with a female dancer.
The musical crescendo of “Alejandro” arrives and now Cassidy is strutting like a catwalk diva like Naomi Campbell, full of long strides and attitude. All of these performances show that Cassidy is one of the dancers most dedicated to his roles.

A few years ago, Cassidy said that he wants to bring a classical element to the commercial dance business because classical training allows for artistic depth. What he’s saying is that classical training is ageless and stands the test of time, as well as the basis for many other types of dance. I’ve heard that classical ballet training is good to have because it gives a dancer a base for his body, a good foundation, physically and mentally. Of course, Cassidy was trained in classical ballet at the North Carolina School of Arts. From what I’ve seen, classical ballet training makes dancers look like sculptures molded in the right stances. Their posture is regal, with shoulders firm and relaxed, and the lyrical lines when they dance look like they’ve been drawn by a painter. Cassidy is a perfect example of this because he moves to the strokes of the music, where he uses his body as the paint and texture atop the canvas of the music. Clearly, Cassidy is an artist, a human artist who makes each dance a work of art.

In a 2004 article from ExploreDance.com, Jennifer E. Wesnousky describes Cassidy Noblett as “technically and emotionally brilliant" in her review on the dance production Rhapsody: The Company. Wesnousky writes, “Poetry in Motion was both awe and tear-inspiring as Mr. Noblett, shirtless yet sheathed in intricately-tied white cloths which resembled bandages, unselfconsciously revealed his raw sentimental range and determination to continue on in the face of lost love and pain.” Cassidy Noblett is flesh and blood and makes you feel better of life when you watch him perform. His fluidity and spirit make me glad to be a human, and glad that Lady Gaga introduced me to such an extraordinary artist.

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