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January 12, 2012 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 3B

The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Thursday, January12, 2012 - 38

Does 'Titanic' sink or sail?

Here's hoping
for Hollywood

Like in the salons of 17th
and 18th century France,
this weekly installment
will feature two Daily Arts
writers discussing the finer
points of arts mediums
from at least 10 years ago.
Of course James Cameron
has found a way to make more
money without making a new
movie. Of course. This April,
Cameron's romance-disaster
drama "Titanic" returns to the
big screen ... this time in 3-D.
As the acclaimed epic sud-
denly re-emerges, I'm forced to
remember that this movie is still
undeservingly heralded as a cin-
ematic masterpiece.
"Titanic" is over three hours of
stock characters, swelling music
and sudden passion, capped with
a tear-jerking ending. Sure, the
stunningAmerican socialite with
the overpowering fiance and the
poor artist lover-boy are played
by the undoubtedly talented Kate
Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio,
but this duo didn't become
dynamic until starring side-by-
side in "Revolutionary Road" in
2008. Their acting in "Titanic"
is wooden at best, barely capable
of bringing life to their formulaic
Cameron is a wizard of spec-
tacle - he can masterfully sink
a ship or take you to a whole
new world populated with blue
people and rocks of a much-too-
obvious moniker, but in his many
years as an action-film director,
he still hasn't learned how to
write a script. This matters less-
so in his more action-packed
films, where the explosions are
exciting enough to let lines like
"I may be synthetic, but I'm not
stupid" slide.
But in "Titanic," things don't
get action-y (i.e. the ship doesn't
hit the iceberg) until about 100
minutes in. Uh-oh, Cameron has
to write real-life dialogue. And
surprise, he fails! The utteranc-
es between Rose and Jack might
From Page 1B
Connection to
classic Indian styles
As for the multiplicity of
groups with experienced danc-
ers, another group trying to
integrate different styles is
Michigan Sahana, which spe-
cializes in Indian classical music
and dance.
India has eight recognized
forms of classical dance that
Sahana tries to represent in its
repertoire. The group's goal as
dancers is to stick to the tradi-
tional techniques and style as
much as possible.
"I feel like nowadays in the
Western world ... the modern
Indian styles are coming up,"
said LSA sophomore Vertika
Srivastava, Sahana's dance chair.
"I feel like in the Western view
when they think Indian dance,'
they think 'Oh, Bollywood.' And

that's not really what it is."
"And then also at the Uni-
versity there's a lot of (Indian)
fusion groups," she added. "We
have TAAL, Maya, which are
cool ... I think a lot of us also
do those types of dances. But I
think (for) all of us, ... our pas-
sion lies in retaining the authen-
ticity of the classical forms."
Indian classical dance forms
can be traced back hundreds of
years; many find their origins in
ancient Hindu stories. Watch-
ing classical pieces immediately
exposes the audience to char-
acters and themes prevalent in
A topic often discussed at
Sahana board meetings is how
to keep the dance exciting when
the styles have been watched
and performed for centuries. At
December's performance, "Sat-
kala," one of the pieces, blended
the styles of Kathak and Odissi.
Kathak emphasizes footwork
and is performed in large, swirl-
ing skirts, while the East Indian
Odissi focuses on isolation of the
Though the forms and styles
have been adapted over time, the

"This door isn't big enough for the two of us."

elicit an emotional response
from the audience, but their
words are flat and romanticized,
solely intended to force out those
emotional responses and make
you forget these characters are
like the unfinished, underdevel-
oped outlines in Jack Dawson's
sketchbook. It's OK if you were
tricked into thinking the script
was substantive - the Academy
obviously was too, as evidenced
by Cameron's nomination for
Best Screenplay.
I do recognize that "Titanic,"
like most of Cameron's films, is
visually incredible, but let's be
real: Give anyone a $200 mil-
lion budget and they will make
a damn aesthetic masterpiece.
Disaster films are known for
breaking the bank, but a few
standout productions within
the genre, like the classic "The
Towering Inferno," managed
to succeed on more fronts than
"Titanic" while operating on a
fraction of Cameron's budget.
"Titanic" is a lazy amalgama-
tion of spectacle and romance. It
takes a catastrophic event and
reduces it to a love story backed
by a poor script. The rich girl
breaks class barriers for the
free-spirited boy, they pretend
they can fly, do it in the back-
seat of a car and then an iceberg

ruins all the f
get to see it all
dimension? I'll
When I hee
speak about his
Titanic, it was
manic energy
hunting charac
Brock Lovett w
cussing the shi
he sought with
safe, buried be
waves for over
That diam;
Lovett's obsessi
carefully laid
plans didn't p
ble. That is, ur
DeWitt Bukate
her dreamlik
experience on1
sel. Suddenly,
stands the hun
treasures he s
"Three years,
nothing excep
never got it ... I
I understar
obscure reason
why I appre
I'm a student.

un. And now we cal archaeology with a passion
again in the third for underwater archaeology, so
pass. it shouldn't be shocking that I
LA UPADHYAYA watched Cameron's film with
a slightly different focus than
*** other movie-goers.
Lovett's reaction to DeWitt
ard Bob Ballard Bukater's s'tory is what I hope
discovery of the more treasure hunters and
with the same archaeologists bring to their
the treasure- searches and research: It's not
:ter expressed by enough to find artifacts like
when he was dis- the Titanic, it's perhaps more
ny big blue rock important to appreciate the
in Cal Hockley's human element behind those
neath the frigid discoveries.
50 years. About 1,500 people sunk with
and had been the ship when the Titanic hit
ion, and when his that fatal iceberg - let's not get
(and expensive) carried away in the spectacle of
an out, Lovett's high-profile finds and remember
t was palpa- that these were real people who
ntil he met Rose died traumatic deaths.
r and heard her Whether or not James Cam-
ig narrative of eron intended to portray this in
e-turned-horrific "Titanic," and I assume he did
the doomed ves- not, as he is callously re-releas-
Lovett under- ing the movie in 3-D to rake in
sans behind the the moolah, that message still
eeks. He admits, resonated with scenes of lower-
I've thought of class passengers being barred
t Titanic; but I from access to the lifeboats and
never let it in." people screaming "Just give us a
nd this is an chance."
n, but Lovett is But do I need to see that in
ciate "Titanic." 3-D? I don't think so.
of anthropologi- -LEAHBURGIN

A new year means a clean the cou
slate, a time to believe - apart.
that life from the first couple
day of 2012 forward will be examp
different. We had the pleasure lywoo
and the ing foo
misfortune nuptial
of watching perforr
the lives of last Fel
Hollywood's norma
hottest n their d
throughout Brand
2011, from root fo
the comeback HALEY love ag
of Britney GOLDBERG refer tt
Spears to Got Aw
the fall of BLU
Arnold Schwarzenegger. As we MAK
all embrace a new year with Saturd
a new perspective, let's hope welcoc
celebrities can do the same. Here Blue Iv
are a few gossip headlines we power
can hope to see on the cover of Z. Whi
US Weekly and People in 2012, for a fu
a year when celebrities have a little B
fresh chance to find happiness. made h
As a youngster, Lindsey Lohan the init
introduced her acting skills the son
in "The Parent Trap" and as a love fo
young adult showed her comedic a beat!
skills in "Mean Girls," but lately, along i
the majority of Lohan coverage track.'
shows her taking the familiar ingly, s
walk in and out of the courtroom viously
as she battles her many legal feature
issues, like the misdemeanor she beat fa
was charged with after report- track.
edly stealing a $2,500 necklace. alread
While the online blog LimeLife duet. V
has grimly predicted Lohan to to the
be a celebrity who might die in will sh
2012, we hope to see a differ-
ent - and living - Lohan in the
new year. She had the acting
talent as a child, and maybe, VW
if given yet another chance, 20
Lohan can prove herself worthyo
of her stardom outside of the
courtroom with a strong film. If
Lohan could rediscover the tal-
ent that made her famous, she
could climb her way to fame as
an actress, not a criminal.
thought we had safely made shenan
it through the big divorces of captiv
2011 (Jennifer Lopez and Marc former
Anthony, Maria Shriver and star ga
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ash- his life
ton Kutcher and Demi Moore, his "tig
Kim Kardashian and Kris consta
Humphries), but Katy Perry and Sheen':
Russell Brand, who married in hande
October 2010, added yet another and as
divorce to the list of Holly- appear
wood heartbreak. While Perry His "V
and Brand seemed just quirky tour w
enough to last as a couple, the ing in I
divorce rumors swirling around claime
their marriage at the end of last into ba
month weren't false, as the cou- antics!
ple repeatedly claimed. Brand thatth
filed for divorce on Dec. 30, and
7(ai arfen

aple spent the holidays
Once, this oddly matched
seemed like the perfect
le of true love in Ho!-
d, with Perry even show-
tage from their secret
Is in India during her
mance at the Grammys
bruary. Of course, both
l and famous couples have
ifficulties, but Perry and
were such a fresh duo to
r. Maybe if they find their
ain, we won't have to
o Brand as the "One That
vay" this time next year.
ay, the hip-hop world
aed the eagerly awaited
y Carter, daughter of
couple Beyonce and Jay-
le this headline hopes
ture Baby B solo album,
lue has already somewhat
er music debut. On Mon-
pper Jay-Z released a song
Glory featuring B.I.C.,"
tials of his little girl. In
g, Jay-Z raps about his
r his "greatest creation" to
by Pharrell, as Blue coos
n the background of the
The song, which, shock-
uggests that Beyonce pre-
'had a miscarriage, even
s the cries of Blue as the
des out at the end of the
At three days old, Blue has
y accomplished a hip-hop
Ve can only look forward
talent this future starlet
ow in the years to come.
ith any luck,
12 will offer
clean slate
for celebs.
S: This year, the frantic
igans of Charlie Sheen
ated the nation as the
"Two and a Half Men"
ve us an inside look into
with "the goddesses,"
er blood" and how to
ntlybe "duh, winning."
s role on the sitcom was
d off to Ashton Kutcher
for Sheen's sanity, that
ed to be traded in, too.
iolent Torpedo of Truth"
as a giant flop at its opn-
Detroit, and the self-pro-
d "warlock" quickly faded
ckground noise as his
became unprofitable. Now
e firestorm that

stories behind them tie modern
dancers to ancient traditions.
"We're living in this Western
world where there are ... differ-
ent cultures all around us," Sriv-'
astava said. "We don't all have
a class to go to in order to learn
about these stories. Through
dance ... you're just forced to
understand these on a new level
when you're asked to portray it
through your face, through your
body. And every part of your
body has to be feeling the emo-
tions of the person you're trying
to show."
Acting out the stories of
ancient Hindutexts with expres-
sive dance gives dancers a direct
connection to characters and
situations they might otherwise
have difficulty understanding.
"I feel like that makes you
connect so much more, even if
you don't believe in it," Srivas-
tavaexplained. "I have Christian
friends who do Bharatanatyam
who are equally good, and I don't
think there's any correlation ...
in that moment when you are
dancing to this music and you're
expected to be another per-
son. I feel like in that moment,
you have to believe what you're
"Those little moments, they
add up," she added. "And it's this
connection you have with this
' classical form."
Belly dancing for one and all
While Sahana appeals mostly
to students of an Indian origin,
Jackie Davis said the Arabian
Dance Ensemble provides begin-
ner lessons for students from all
over the globe.
"We don't have any interna-
tional students that have joined,"
she said. "I'm not sure why. We
get people from all over the U.S.,
like California and Chicago, and
we just all found the group and
liked belly dancing."
Routines are set to traditional
Arabic music and use recogniz-
able movements such as shim-
mying and figure eights. Dancers
wear scarves and coin belts to
accentuate the hip movements.
Davis believes that the diver-
sity of its members makes the

Arabian Dance Ensemble's rou-
tines easier for the audience to
connect with.
"It is harder to connect when
it's belly dancing just because
it isn't as mainstream," Davis
added. "Something like hip hop
is really easy because it's so
integrated in our culture today
... I think it's nice that we can
expose a dance that isn't typical
to people and maybe hope that it
would be easier to connect with
Davis feels that the ensem-
ble's work is even more impor-
tant given the recent negative
attention to Arabic countries
in the media. Oftentimes, such
artistic aspects of the culture
are overlooked in light of the
global political climate.
"Especially with everything
that's happened nowadays, ...
here is something interesting
and good that you can see about
this culture," she said.
The art of Congolese dance
one of the youngest perfor-
mance groups on campus is
Amala, which performs Western
African dance, mainly of Congo-
lese influence. The word amala
means "grace" in Igbo, a Nige-
rian dialect.
"The goal of Amala is to let
our campus as a whole see the
type of dancing that is done,"
LSA sophomore Karen Coker
said. "They can see the culture
of West African dance and music
and see how exciting and fun it
is. When we perform, we're able
to show ... a bit of our culture.
You can enjoy the experience
and also learn more about it."
Coker added that dance is a
form of expression and that Afri-
can dance culture, for most audi-
ence members, is different from
anything they have seen before.
"I guess with Amala, you
don't have to be African. When
we're dancing, the people who
are watching are people who
would want to dance. It's like,
'You can do it too. You don't have
to be African in order to learn to
dance, to learn to do what we're
doing.' "
Amala aims to promote what

Coker described as "self-love
and pride and unity."
"In Amala, ' not everyone
is from the same region," she
explained. "People in Amala are
from Nigeria or Ghana or Cam-
eroon or the Congo. The mission
with Amala is to promote pride
for our different countries and
where we're from and our love
for ourselves and to show how
united we are, coming together."
The African continent is
diverse in itself, with dozens
of countries and subcultures.
Coker believes that Amala show-
cases how people from these dif-
ferent backgrounds can enjoy
themselves together and be
proud of where they are from.
Dance also provides Coker
and her peers with a respite
from academic life.
"I joined second semester of
freshman year, so it was really
helpful. It was ... a good stress
reliever, just having something
fun and being able to meet new
people," she said. "Now I always
look forward to going to practice
... after classes and everything,
I'm able to go and just have fun."
The arts promote culture
and diversity, but with dance,
simply viewing the art form is
not enough. Dancers sometimes
engage with foreign concepts
and must actively seek cultural
"I feel like anyone can dance.
You just have to practice," Coker
explained. "You have to practice
and get good at it and be excited.
If you have the passion and the
excitement to learn how to do it,
then you'll get it."
"You don't have to be African
in order to do African dance,"
she added. "I guess that's part
of diversity because with that
you're ... immersing yourself in
that culture. even if you're not
from there. It doesn't matter
where you're from or what your
culture is. It's just about enjoy-
ing the dance."
There is no dearth of cultures
and ethnic groups to choose
from at the University or ways
to actively engage with diversity.
Dance is one such form - a way
of learning about other cultures
even if one is not part of them.


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