The term “backup dancer” might bring to mind the army of women on
Beyoncé’s Formation tour, or the men who didn’t miss a beat during
Mariah Carey’s recent New Year’s Eve performance, maintaining ;awless
unison as she dealt with technical dif;culties. Choreography for concerts
tends to be almost aggressively slick and synchronized, a sea of dancers
serving to multiply the image of the star.
But when it comes to making dance for the music industry’s stages,
the Japanese-born, Brooklyn-based choreographer Juri Onuki is in a
league of her own. Last fall at Terminal 5 in New York, Onuki, 34, was
one of three dancers accompanying Dev Hynes (also known as Blood
Orange) during the tour of his new album Freetown Sound. The choreography, which Onuki whipped up in just a few rehearsals, ranged from
;uid pop-and-locking to angular balances you might ;nd in a Merce
Cunningham technique class. And it gave each dancer a moment to shine.
“It’s the most mixed bag of choreographic styles I’ve ever experienced
in one show,” says dancer Jordan Isadore, whose free-spirited duet with
Hynes, in which Isadore lifted and spun the singer, was a high point
choreography to the music industry,
Juri Onuki has learned how to
scale up—and be flexible.
BY SIOBHAN BURKE
in concert at