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BaBUSHka :: Kate Bush, “Babooshka”

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Kate Bush is unrivaled for theatrical melodrama in music videos. Her eurythmy moves, fierce hair and flouncy costumes eclipsed only by her stunning facial expressions. The closest contenders are Nina Hagen and Björk.

Kate Bush tears herself asunder in \"Babooshka\"

Trained by choreographer and mime artist Lindsay Kemp (who also trained Bowie), Kate Bush takes what most of us wouldn’t dare do anywhere else but our cloistered bedrooms and turns it into gold.

The clip to Babooska opens with Kate pole dancing (or dry humping) with a double base, dressed in a black lycra bodysuit with gold belt and tulle veil, with a hairdo that could’ve inspired Cate Blanchett’s Indiana Jones character. All very surreal.

The real fun begins with the chorus. Kate, looking like some kind of Tartar incarnation of an Amazonian, wields a sword as she dances around like a sex goddess (very Xena meets Jeanne D’Arc, with a dash of Cher).

Watch the Babooshka clip

The song is about a woman who sends letters to her husband under the guise of a seductress, and signed “All yours, Babooshka“. She’s testing her husband’s love after some years. The seductress is everything she was “before the tears”, “before the years flew by”. The husband meets with the seductress (his wife obviously very well disguised) and she reminds him of his wife. He declares: “All yours, Babooshka”.

In the clip, the wife is there dressed in black with a veil, dancing with a double bass. The chorus (“All yours, Babooshka”) is when warrior woman seductress comes out brandishing sword and chainmail breast plate.

Kate’s expressive lusciousness is centre-stage in her other videos.

In “Wuthering Heights”, Kate is looking very National Velvet with red flouncy dress, thick black belt, red lipstick and emerald eye shadow as she winds out her interpretative dance around a paddock.

Dance is a key feature of Bush’s work. “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” has a spectacularly beautiful classical dance routine with Kate and professional dancer Michael Hervieu. Everything else in the clip (colour, costumes etc) is extremely pared back so that the dance between this man and woman remains the focus.

Kate is a patron saint of self-expression. Bless her.

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Written by Darren Smith

17 July 2008 at 5:11 am