July 28, 2013

Ballet dances to 1977’s Star Wars Theme in cowboy outfits

Filed under: Music by Branko Collin @ 11:09 am

Back in 2007 we mentioned Showballet Penney de Jager dancing to Meco’s disco version of the theme of Star Wars on 1970’s Dutch TV show Toppop. This is that video.

In the 1970s bands would playback live—if that description makes sense—to their pop songs on television. Sometimes an artist would not or could not show up and Toppop solved this by having its in-house troupe, Showballet Penney de Jager, do a bit. As for why this pre-recorded routine contains cowboys and motorcycle riders, I don’t know.

In the mid-1980s Toppop was pushed out of the fish tank by Adam Curry’s Countdown which focussed on showing music clips instead of live acts. The ballet’s front lady De Jager, now 65, still performs. Her current troupe Burlesque Express is part of the travelling theater festival De Parade at the moment. The festival has set up its tents in Utrecht and will leave for its final stop this year, Amsterdam, in the week of 5 August.

See also: Dutch 70s hit music show revived on the web

(Link: Boingboing. Photo of Penney de Jager in 1970 by AVRO, some rights reserved)

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April 25, 2007

Dutch 70s hit music show revived on the web

Filed under: Music,Shows,Weird by Branko Collin @ 10:39 pm
Illustration: Blondie on a tin foil mointain on TopPop

The biggest pop music TV show in the Netherlands during the 1970s and the early 1980s was TopPop. This was the time when artists still had to show up in shows all over the world to have their faces remembered. Then video clips came along, and a competing channel brought Adam Curry back to the country to ride their wave. His show Countdown was the end of TopPop.

TopPop had several things going for it, not in the least its host Ad Visser, a slightly goofy looking guy who was into tantric sex and writing space operas. Artists would lip-sync against psychedelic backdrops, and if they were unable to come on the program, the show ballet of Penny de Jager would dance to a pop song. There was something oddly discomfitting about the show that was at the same time its biggest asset.

Clips of the show can of course be found on Youtube, but a few weeks ago an official archive was launched, which publishes themed compilations of performances. Think Blondie, Duran Duran, Randy Crawford, The Jacksons, The Carpenters, Grace Jones, Nina Hagen, and TopPop’s ballet dancing to the theme of Star Wars.

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