Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Why We Can’t Get Enough Of The ‘Wednesday’ Dance | CNN


Wednesday Adams doesn’t just do anything. The most stoic and deliberate member of the Addams family, she rarely makes unnecessary movements, smiles and winks.

So when the dance spirit put the usually sullen teen at her school dance in the new Netflix series with her name, it caused an immediate stir, onscreen and off.

The brief scene makes up less than three minutes of the entire series, but it’s quickly become “Wednesday’s” most iconic moment of how free our kooky hero feels. His eyes reveal a rare, hideous passion. His limbs, usually sticking out at his side, move around freely. The dance is hers, to be sure—lots of grimy, stooped movements and cues from the decades. Surely one can’t mistake Wednesday’s dance for the latest TikTok trend, right?

Something about that strange dance kindles something strange within all of us, and it burns brighter than the fire at Camp Chippewa. The choreography clip inspired viewers to watch the series, making it one of the streamer’s most-watched shows ever (“Stranger Things,” huh?). Its online popularity brought Lady Gaga’s “Bloody Mary” back on the charts more than a decade after the song was released, and it was only featured in a fan-made TikTok, not the show itself! “Wednesday” star Jenna Ortega’s confession that she choreographed the routine herself invited new fans — celebrities included — to give it a whirl and even adapt the routine with moves from their own cultures. to impress.

Wednesday Addams would probably be very embarrassed if she knew her moves were made, shuddermainstream, but her dance just won’t die – and He, she can just enjoy. Here’s what gives the “Wednesday” dance its uncanny staying power.

The “Wednesday” dance scene only started a month ago, but it already has a certain “mythology,” said Jenna Drenten, associate professor of marketing at Loyola University Chicago, who studies how TikTok and other digital platforms grow. How users express their identity.

Most of the scene’s lore was developed offscreen. Ortega plays a teen with his pitch-black humor on Wednesday, saying he choreographed the routine himself. He counted His influences included Bob Fosse, Siouxsie Sioux, and the goth dance clubs of the ’80s (he also included some references to “The Addams Family” TV series from the ’60s).

The Cramps soundtracked Wednesday's dance in her Titanic Netflix series.

What’s more, Ortega has admitted she’s not a trained dancer, making her routine perhaps even more inviting to non-dancers who found routines on TikTok, Drenten said.

“I’m not a dancer and I’m sure that’s clear,” Ortega told NME.

But Ortega’s dedication has also inspired outrage – she told NME that she filmed some of the dancing while waiting for Covid-19 test results, which later came back positive. This prompted some to condemn the production for failing to follow proper COVID-19 prevention protocols on set — but even so, “Wednesday” continued to make waves.

Drenten noted that the longest-lived viral trends in cultural conversations don’t just stay on their platform of origin. Check out Korn Kid: He appeared in a YouTube series singing Cobb’s praises, then clips of his appearance went viral on TikTok and has since gone on to work chipotleGreen Giant and the state of South Dakota are promoting corn offline.

“To be sustainable, TikTok trends need to leap beyond the boundaries of TikTok into a cultural trend,” he added. “The ‘Wednesday’ dance had an advantage in that sense because the dance and the legacy of ‘The Addams Family’ originated outside of TikTok from the start.”

Another thing goes in favor of the “Wednesday” dance – the human tendency to learn dance for social posture.

Think “electric slide,” “macarena,” “cupid shuffle”—standard at bat mitzvahs and weddings, tricks many of us know so well that we can perform them without thinking. Drenten said that performing them en masse at such an event might seem like a Pavlovian response to the DJ’s song choice, but it is also a shared ritual that fosters “a sense of togetherness and belonging”.

“Every gesture and movement enables the person performing it to naturally say, ‘I understand, I know, we have this shared experience,'” Drenten said.

That’s why dance routines, from “Renegade” to Lizzo’s “About Damn Time,” often take over TikTok. But contrary to those trends, the “Wednesday” dance was not set to a popular song, although The Cramps punk anthem “Goo Goo Muck” has since earned some new fans. The tricks were easy enough to pick up, Drenten said, “straightforward but unique.”

Lady Gaga put her own spin on the now-iconic

But Lady Gaga had to take “Wednesday” into the dance stratosphere. The version that’s gone über-viral on TikTok is a “fancam” of sorts, or a mashup of clips, aptly set to Gaga’s “Bloody Mary,” a biblical song for dancing demurely. There is a song. Even Mother Monster herself performed a version of the “Wednesday” dance, wearing two long braids.

Since then millions of users have put their own spin on Wednesday’s school dance solo, with some users incorporating Polynesian or Indian dance styles into their versions or including their own Wednesday forms (Thing, Untied Hands, !) are making.

Belonging, of course, runs counter to the ethos of Wednesday, which has never cared to fit in. He’s perfectly content on an island of his own, where the sun never shines and old-timey torture devices abound. That Wednesday’s idiosyncratic moves have been so widely copied as to threaten to undermine his status as a peculiar patron saint—except that Wednesday’s style and approach have been copied for decades. .

Wednesday Addams has existed in some form since the late 1930s – first as an unnamed comic character, then as a young child on a TV sitcom, then, in his most famous iteration before “Wednesday”. , as the dead-eyed Christina Ricci. Wednesday fans have been dressing like her for decades, Drenton said, often inspired by Ricci’s portrayal. Addams’ eldest child is no longer a secret that her biggest fans can keep from mainstream pop culture.

Since her Wednesday debut, she’s been a strange symbol for reclusive and goth-adjacent people for her unapologetic commitment to the macabre. Yet she is still an “outsider” among the women and girls of fiction, wrote Emily Alford for Longreads, because she never softens or bows to certain story tropes. She is who she is, and she isn’t changing.

“She brought to the screen a morbid self-acceptance that set her apart, and became an important template for a generation of girls developing their own gallows humor,” Alford wrote.

And now, many of those girls and other users are finding each other on TikTok, where niche communities can flourish (or reach mainstream users). The app is “a place for people to discover who they are, and more importantly, to find other people who share their same interests,” Drenton said, even if those interests are a Get involved cosplaying as the decidedly controversial teen.

“TikTok arguably promotes a lot of reproduction and users can feel pressure to act, perform and look a certain way,” Drenten said. “But Wednesday reminds people to free themselves in that sea of ​​sameness.”

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