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The 2019 Grammys was one for the books!
The evening’s host, Alicia Keys, won the praises of the live audience and those watching at home not just for her relentless talent but for her relaxed, chill, and positive vibes emceeing the awards show.
The entire program celebrated diversity, culture, and women. The first segment of the evening even wrapped up with four of music and culture’s most powerful women gracing the stage together. Lady Gaga, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, and former First Lady Michelle Obama joined each other on the Staples Center stage to recognize and honor the wide-spanning abilities of music to both bridge social gaps and serve as the universal language of understanding and acceptance.
Obama, who after she began speaking was forced to stop due to the overwhelming applause and cheering she received, voiced her love of music and its significance in her life.
Video Courtesy: Recording Academy/GRAMMYs
“From the Motown records I wore out on the South Side, to the 'who run the world' songs that fueled me through this last decade, music has always helped me tell my story,” Obama said. “And, I know that's true for everybody here. Whether we like country, or rap or rock, music helps us share ourselves, our dignity and sorrows, our hopes and joys. It allows us to hear one another, to invite each other in. Music shows us that all of it matters, every story within every voice, every note within every song — is that right ladies?”
A strong and celebrated sense of feminism dominated the night with major awards going to musicians like Cardi B for Best Rap Album, H.E.R. for Best R&B Album and Best R&B Performance, Ariana Grande for Best Pop Album, Lady Gaga for Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Pop Duo Performance for her duet, ‘Shallow’ from A Star Is Born, with Bradley Cooper, Dua Lipa for Best New Artist, and Kacey Musgraves who won Album Of The Year for Golden Hour.
Donald Glover, the musician behind Childish Gambino, won Song Of The Year and Record Of The Year for ‘This Is America’.
While the show itself was awesome, there were only a handful of truly exciting dance moments— and we’ve got them for you right here.
Here’s Dance Network’s list of the FOUR MOST INTERESTING DANCE MOMENTS from the Grammys:
1. The Opening Number
The 2019 Grammy Ceremony's Opening Number. Photo credit: NBC
Camila Cabello’s ‘Havana’ has surely been stuck in your head a million times this year, but the live performance that opened the 2019 Grammys was exhilarating, poignant, and timely. The hidden — yet, not so hidden — commentary on the border and immigration issues at hand in the US was apparent. The number celebrated the strength and unending persistence of the Latin community, on a set that has been alluded to by commentators as reminiscent of everything from Hitchcock’s Rear Window to West Side Story.
The electrified piece, choreographed by Calvin Hodge and Sara Biv, featured Cabello, alongside Ricky Martin, Young Thug, the iconic trumpeter Arturo Sandoval and, J Balvin. Balvin, who was seen sitting on a park bench throughout the number leading up to his performance, was holding up a newspaper with a headline that read, “Build Bridges Not Walls”.
The multitude of incredible dancers featured in the piece performed a fusion of Latin-inspired classic and pedestrian style choreography that blew the roof off the venue and set the scene for what would be a remarkable evening.
2. Janelle Monae
Photo credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
The seemingly endless talent that pours out of Janelle Monae was another huge moment at the 2019 Grammy Ceremony.
Monae, who took the stage playing an electric guitar and singing her hit song ‘Make Me Feel’, was like a next level performance by the late Prince. Monae skillfully sang and danced alongside her ensemble of fierce backup dancers, choreographed by the magnificent Jemel McWilliams.
McWilliams, who also choreographed the ‘Make Me Feel’ video, built the performance’s movement around the capable Monae and the masterful dancers who joined her onstage. The piece featured a layered and textured sensuality and a strong vibrant feminist tone.
3. Cardi B’s Performance of 'Money'
Cardi B performing on the 2019 Grammy Awards. Photo credit: Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock
Cardi B proved to the non-believers that she’s not just a social media super-star and a Grammy Award-winning musician, but that she also can still hold her own onstage.
The Grammy-winning artist’s performance of ‘Money’ was staged on top of a plush, cushion-backed, multi-leveled set of platforms, and featured some fiery, intense and sharp choreography with an amazing group of backup dancers.
Cardi, on top of her memorable performance, became the first solo woman to win the Grammy for Best Rap Album.
3. J-Lo’s Motown Medley
Jennifer Lopez in the 2019 Grammy tribute to Motown Records. Photo credit: Getty
Though there has been blowback about the choice of Jennifer Lopez to perform the 2019 Grammy’s tribute to Motown — a music label established in 1959 in Detroit by legendary producer Barry Gordy that helped shape the way for African American musicians into mainstream music — Lopez showed she’s still a top-notch performer.
Lopez performed songs like ‘Dancing Machine’, ‘Dancing In The Street’, ‘That’s What I Want’ ‘Do You Love Me’, and others. She was also joined onstage by legendary singer Smokey Robinson for a duet of ‘My Girl’.
After the performance when the critical response had come quickly, Lopez clapped back via Entertainment Tonight.
”Any type of music can inspire any type of artist… You can’t tell people what to love,” Lopez reportedly said. “You can’t tell people what they can and can’t do — what they should sing or not sing.”
Robinson, too, defended Lopez, even before the performance, telling Variety, “Motown was music for everybody. Everybody… Who’s stupid enough to protest Jennifer Lopez doing anything for Motown?”
For more videos, pictures, and a full list of nominees and winners from the 2019 Grammy Awards, check out www.grammy.com.
Michael Mahany serves as the New York City Correspondent for Dance Network. He is also a professional actor, musician, dancer, and writer. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, or click here to find out more.