Sia’s “The Greatest:” A Breathtaking Tribute to Orlando

September 12, 2016

If you think Maddy Ziegler as a soloist gives you chills, then you haven't seen Sia's latest masterpiece: "The Greatest." Think powerful choreography. Picture a set that is so surreal you actually believe you're in the video. And now just try to imagine what these 49 voices are trying to say to you.

 

Yes, 49. "Dance Mom's" alum, Maddy Ziegler, is accompanied in the video with 48 other young dancers, and since the video has gone live it's been made clear that they represent none other than the 49 beautiful lives lost this past June in Orlando's Pulse Nightclub massacre. 

 

Sia's work is different; we've known this from the beginning. She's the opposite of mainstream; we never know what to expect next. Unlike the handful of other tributes to the horrifying event, "The Greatest" is upbeat. It gives hope. It's not charity or a message saying "it will get better." It sends a message of liberation, a message of "we will not stand for this" (note 1:20 where Maddy busts open the "jail cell" and all others follow). 

 

Though there is speculation as to whether this was written before the massacre even took place, the video mirrors the tragic night. Dancers who performed in the video have also confirmed that Sia's goal was to reflect on the lives lost and provide us with a message. Matt Moseley, a 16-year-old dancer featured in the music video, explained to reporters, "The message behind it is so strong and emotional. We all have lost or know someone that's lost someone from discrimination, and losing the people we love, from something as simple as loving who they love, is tragic to say the least." Furthermore, the climactic burst shows the 49 children dancing positively, hanging out and having the night of their lives. Then suddenly everything stops and all fall to the ground, lifeless. We see disco lights. We see a wall riddled with bullets. Moseley reflected on this scene specifically, expressing that it "Was almost more powerful than anything that could have been choreographed, and I think all the dancers were very emotional after that take." 

 

Thank you, Sia. 

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