'Bohemian Rhapsody,' Freddie Mercury & Dance: Their Surprising Connection
Updated: Jul 26
Over the last few weeks, the "Rock Like Queen Sing-Along Bus Tour" has inched its way across the United States to honor the #1 biopic of all time, Bohemian Rhapsody. The double-decker bus was in Los Angeles on Tuesday and it didn't disappoint.
The karaoke-style set-up had everyone on the bus decked out in Freddie Mercury mustaches as they sang their favorite Queen songs from "We Will Rock You" to "Another One Bites the Dust." While participants couldn't dance while the bus moved through West Hollywood, everyone danced from their seats and jumped up at traffic lights, including Washington Redskins player Andrew East, who might have had the most fun on the bus. (We also wondered if he received some dance tips from wife and Season 8 Dancing with the Stars winner, Shawn Johnson.)
While Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment was promoting the digital and Blu-Ray release of the film, we couldn't help but think it was also shining a light on Mercury's influence on dance and vice versa. He was never a trained dancer, but the musician never shied away from collaborating with dancers and choreographers.
Mercury teamed up with The Royal Ballet back in 1979 for a sold-out concert. He danced with the professional dancers while singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love." He found the experience humbling.
“They had me practicing at the barre and all that, stretching my legs… trying to do things in a week that they’d been doing for years," He explained in a 1979 mini-documentary on the concert. "It was murder. After two days I was in agony. It was hurting me in places I didn’t know I had, dear.”
That collaboration continued into 1985 when he used members of The Royal Ballet in the band's music video for "I Want To Break Free," you can see what a natural mover Mercury was. Decked out in his cow-print unitard, he had an elegance to how his body organically moved. While not every toe was pointed in his contemporary dance scenes, there was a commitment and focus on how he used the stage.
For the 40th anniversary of Bohemian Rhapsody in 2015, the English National Ballet released a pas de deux with their reinterpretation of the music. It's not how anyone would classically define the music, but the contemporary ballet takes you on a ride in the same way Queen's music takes you on an adventure with their six-minute piece.
With the success of the biopic and Rami Malek as the current frontrunner for the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Mercury, another generation of dancers and choreographers will be inspired by the music of Queen. It's the legacy that Mercury predicted all of those years ago, “I won’t be a rock star. I will be a legend.”
Bohemian Rhapsody is now available for purchase on digital and Blu-Ray from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
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