Kanye West‘s song Runaway about having it all and losing it all, about magpies loving peacocks, about putting work before your family, about not facing-up but running away.
And for the video the song is put to dance. And as you can see not a dance of slow-burning sweating night-out clubbers or lithe writhing lap-dancers but ballet-dancers. If no typical classical treatment rather a free-form jam, a bevy of black-swans.
To see the ballet performance in its entirety from their running entrance in two rows as the repeated piano-motif of Tuxedo-wearing Kanye West on an old upright chimes the song and the ballerinas in to the exit in same style you need to watch the 8 minutes 29 seconds version. There is a shorter version – a mere 5 minutes 40 seconds and this longer 8 minutes 29 seconds version is itself an excerpt of the video-film ‘Runaway’ of 34 minutes and 33 seconds. Like 1960’s Bob Dylan album-tracks you have to be committed to them to hear them out.
Prior to the ballerinas’ entrance a banquet had taken place in a huge vaulted abandoned ware-house space.
This huge industrial space the stage for the black swan dance, its cavernous dilapidated brick-wall the backdrop.
Only as the piano entrance fades and the synthesised drums kick into life do the swans dance into life.
A brief cut-away to the banquet table for toasting for the douchebags and ass-holes and scum-bags and jerk-offs.
Later in this self-directed video Kanye West steps-up upon the upright but of course the piano chords continue their plangent pace.
The ballet theme was perhaps already heralded by the single with its cover a George Condo photograph of a ballerina. Another cover of the song also featured a ballerina image by George Condo this time a painting. The video in the same year 2010 as the Darren Aronofsky directed, Natalie Portman starred Black Swan film opus clearly left its mark here.
As the orchestra emerges on the soundtrack the video tracks back to his romantic love-phoenix (played by model Selita Ebanks) watching seated at the banquet table.
Cuts back to the ballet and the orchestra dies from the soundtrack and the dancers become statues. The orchestra re-emerges and they resume their dance.
So the dance continues, they exit with the song.