Netflix’s brain-teasing science fiction series The OA has set the internet abuzz. Part of the show’s appeal lies in the fact that dancing is a crucial part of the story — a theme that Dance Network, an online dance community, believes more media forms should focus on.
Comprised of eight episodes, The OA features cosmic visions, brain experiments, theoretical physics, and unexplained phenomena. It is a new mystery drama that hammers home an unexpected, yet important message: dancing represents hope in an otherwise violent reality.
Body Movement Liberates the Body
In The OA, the characters perform a dance ritual known as the Five Movements. This dance, when performed simultaneously by a group of five, has the power to liberate the body. In fact, the dance routine gave the characters the power to bring a dead person back to life, prevent a school shooting, and travel to a different dimension. While trapped in Dr. Hap’s underground laboratory, Prairie, an amateur dance instructor and her fellow prisoners discover that the dance is their only chance for survival.
Movement as a Unique Cinematic Technique
The show doesn’t only use words to tell a story — the plot reveals itself through movement. Ryan Heffington, the choreographer of the show, says The OA is different from Step Up or Dirty Dancing where the main character searches for the most potent dance step. Rather, it is about the individual’s struggle to discover the right movements. In the narrative for The OA, the Five Movement dance accumulates more power after repetition.
Defying Contemporary Dance Routines
The Five Movement dance defies contemporary dance routines, which revolve around fluid movements and controlled legwork. The OA’s dance creates a sense of order and ritual: the characters form triangles out of their hands and stretch out their arms like wings. The slow movements make the dance appear genuine and transformative.
The show gives people the power to turn into heroes through dance. Furthermore, it proves that dancing has a healing effect: it pushes people out of their comfort zones to become someone bigger than themselves.