Recently, ASTRO's Rocky released a brilliantly sentimental and cinematic dance/choreography video titled "ROCKY GA HOWGETZ : ICE FLOWER" on YouTube which garnered incredible attention from viewers, including both AROHA as well as others who were drawn to the video because of its artistic quality alone. In other words, Rocky's collaboration with AROHA brought forth a gift for not only the latter but for the world of art in general and was received with the utmost grace and joy.
It all started when Rocky shared his plans for filming an exclusive dance video where he'll be selecting the song, making the choreography, and directing the entire thing. The song he chose was Hikaru Utada and Skrillex's 'Face My Fears'. He then called for a Rocky-Roha V-Live meeting where he decided on the title of the video. Right from the beginning, Rocky placed immense importance on his audience and their opinions to make sure that the message he intended to put across was received universally without being lost in translation.
While discussing the concept itself, Rocky revealed that the idea he had was to visualize and present himself as an ice flower. An ice flower is not a flower of ice but rather a flower that has been taken over by ice or frost. To Rocky, the frost that has covered the beautifully bright flower represents the perspective of others that is often projected onto it. This is not to say that it is perceived negatively or with indifference but rather that one's projection is often a reflection of their own self. Such external gaze tends to build pressure on the subject (here, the flower) to appear a certain way, hiding its true qualities. The flower's beauty lies not in how it is perceived or in the eyes of the beholder. The flower is beautiful by virtue of its inherent existence. However, just like winter does not last forever, it is impossible to keep a flower from blooming in all its glory.
To understand the extent of Rocky's symbolism, it is important to start with the song, 'Face My Fears'. Hikaru Utada sings of the struggle that comes with breaking out of society's often oppressive shell and re-establishing one's own identity beyond the boundaries set by the world. No matter how difficult that process might seem, the truth cannot remain latent for long.
The dance video starts off blue. Rocky is wearing a powder-blue flowy satin top with pants of the same colour. His top is fringed to resemble a flower, albeit one that's not able to show its true colours yet. Rocky uses a mix of lyrical and modern contemporary dance styles to create a unique mode of self-expression. It is theatrical yet moderated, grand yet subtle.
Rocky's facial expressions betray a sense of loss, a lack of self-confidence and submission in the very first few moments of the video. He's dormant and seems to have completely given in to the pressures of the outside world. However, he's also the source of his own impetus. It is clear that he has attempted to awaken his true form but to no avail. The set is entirely barren with nothing but snags barely holding up. However, once Rocky is able to bring himself up to rediscover himself, the set changes to a dark room with a spotlight shining entirely on Rocky.
This set seems to represent his subconscious, an inner world built entirely of Rocky's own beauty, art, light, and darkness. There, he shines and encounters his true self, one that simply cannot be held back anymore. It is also here that he realizes that the only one keeping him in this prison of frost is himself.
In the following sequence, Rocky has come to terms with the ice that covers him. Rather than fearing it and surrendering without a fight, Rocky now expresses his own shadow work through his art. He is painfully aware that the ice won't melt itself, it never has, but what is important is that he has now reignited the fire within himself that will bring the change. It is here that Rocky smiles for the very first time in the video.
Even if the darkness and the cold overwhelm him, he navigates them with grace and patience, working towards eventual victory. Finally, he blooms, bolder and brighter than ever, signified by the bright sunrise orange that the set changes to.
The dance style in this solo sequence mirrors a previous one where Rocky breaks free for the first time, even if it's still in the dark. However, he is more vivid than ever before. However, this is still not the end. A sudden bloom cannot be sustained in the cold. It is only when one embraces the light and dark, the deepest fears and the fanciest dreams, can one move forward with conviction.
Even when doubt, despair, grief, or criticism try to take a hold of him, he doesn't fight such feelings but rather, calmly walks past them, taking them in his stride while retaining his true value.
This performance is poetry incarnate and there cannot be any comparison to how beautifully and intently Rocky expresses a deeply human struggle. He flows like water and is light like a dewdrop on a flower petal at dawn. We've never seen anything like this before.
You can watch Rocky's full performance here!
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