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Critical Analysis Of What Makes Disney's The Lion King A Successful Musical

1125 words - 5 pages

Through dance and movement, the storyline were expanded with the assistance of choreographer, Garth Fagan. A well-renowned choreographer for his innovative choreography primarily for Garth Fagan dance, Fagan used his unique style of choreography to the Lion King by combining a variety of Ballet, Jazz, Modern Dance, African Dance and Balinese Dance to suggest representations of nature without making a replica itself and use dance to help tell the story (Exploring the Lion King, 2010). Taymor’s idea of expanding the film by adding in choreographic elements not only will set the overall concept, it would additionally guide the visual aesthetic by allowing dance as the main element that balances musical numbers in all categories: effects, music and so on into the choreography (Bluemental et al 210:1999). Both Fagan and Taymor gave major contributions to the different styles of dance and performance techniques from around the world creating the precision and versatility that is being portrayed in the musical. In order to create the ideal staging of the hunting lionesses, flying dancers in the aerial ballet to the takeover of the hyenas at Pridelands, the collaboration between Fagan and Taymor gave suggestions of how these movements being performed with grace and poise using different dance styles and are cultural based be the forefront of the production(Taymor 148:1997). By looking at three notable dances in the musical, this chapter will analyse the presence of dance and movement being portrayed in the musical and how are these dances create the drama, still giving the idea of moving in an African Savannah. Furthermore, this will give an insight to all challenges and pitfalls both Fagan and Taymor endured during the development of the choreography to make it a success.

Dance and movement plays huge part from the opening sequences of Act 1’s Circle of Life to Act 2’s spectacular movement of the grasslands and through the key and understanding aspects of the storyline. From Ballet to Hip Hop to cultural dances such as Balinese and Indonesian, the incorporation of these dance into the musical enabled critics to see actors not just dance as humans but also as animals (Schumacher 2010). In contrast to the film, the animated classic gave the storyline it’s basic outline of seeing the characters have their own pathways in the Circle of Life potentially. This is due to animation’s ability to demonstrate advanced technology in a cinematic level which the Lion King when first released. However, in musical, choreographer Fagan ‘wanted the choreography to look unlike Broadway dancing. I want the dance to look like an integral part of this Lion King land’ (Bramley 22:1997). By taking this particular approach in dance, it formed its own fluidity and strength that dancers themselves made evident throughout all dances. Furthermore, the choreography that both Fagan and Taymor visually created provides movement metaphor and vocabulary that Fagan uses to assist...

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