Several years ago I remember discovering some of the great talents of yesterday. My father and I would have conversations about some of the wonderful Vaudeville performers. As my father explained, and I would come to realize after viewing recorded performances, the Vaudeville entertainer was not one dimensional. Even the great comedians were able to put on a full show for an audience. I’m sure many of you have sat and laughed at an episode of the Three Stooges. Their brand of slapstick comedy still garners laughs even after over sixty years since their time in the limelight. However, I remember certain episodes where the three would show their ability to sing and dance that entertained me more. The Three Stooges were not alone as my Dad helped me to understand that all those entertainers had to be multi-faceted in order to make it to notoriety. The late, great Sammy Davis Jr. was an entertainer who seemed to be limitless in abilities. If you needed him to sing, dance, perform comedy skits, dramatic role, he would bring it effortlessly. Even in our time of specialized performers, we still see a few come on the scene with great dancing abilities who also are vocalists. Much like our featured artist this week: Ciara.
Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I am not comparing relative newcomer Ciara Princess Harris (known mononymously as Ciara) to legendary Sammy Davis Jr. I do not compare musicians or entertainers to each other. I feel that they all must stand on their own merits. My point is that Ciara, and many other performers have come into the music industry recognized for dancing first, and then vocal ability. Two weeks ago Weekly Music Commentary featured Chris Brown who also is widely known for his exceptional dancing ability. Nothing new. Both Ciara and Chris Brown list Michael Jackson as their primary performing inspiration. Michael Jackson was one of the greatest entertainers of all time but was not the first entertainer to exhibit talent in various areas. As I stated before the traditional multi-talented entertainer has been a fixture in the industry for centuries. It seems that the song and dance man (and woman) continues to cast a large presence in popular music.
I remember the first time I saw Ciara perform. She appeared on one of Dick Clark’s New Years Eve specials and brought a lot of energy. As she performed I thought, “I never knew she danced like that”. Yes, she was all over the stage and the crowd loved her. If you have not seen Ciara perform perhaps the words of Dalondo Moultrie of The Morning Call after a 2006 performance at Allentown’s Crocodile Rock Café will give you an idea of what you would witness:
“CeCe hit the stage about 11:15 p.m., and for 45 minutes, she gave the crowd of about 750 in the 1,000 capacity venue high-energy songs, sexy dance moves, flawless vocals and a top-flight light show. Ciara would have none of that yelling into a microphone while pacing across the stage so common at Croc Rock hip-hop shows. Wearing a headset style of microphone reminiscent of Janet Jackson in the 1980s, Ciara effortlessly breezed through high-octane choreography without missing a note, or a step — as did her back-up singers and dancers, whose bare midriffs exposed taut abs of steel. The dance steps were incredible, in sync not only with the music and each pelvic thrust or body-bending twist but perfectly timed to periodic bursts of light from behind the stage“.
I view Ciara as part of a new trend in musical artists who burst upon the scene very young, take a slight break, grow up a bit, and come back with a refined sound and stage presence that are uniquely their own. Now after an over ten year career Ciara has released her fifth studio album ready for the musical world. Also of interest is her relationship with rapper Future which may end in marriage. We’ll see about that one. No matter what happens in Ciara’s future, (no pun intended) right now she is here to entertain us all.