Elastic Heart VEVO
Sia, the artist behind the song is no stranger to interpretive dance. Her recently famous video, Chandelier also features the art of interpretive dance and Maddie Ziegler. This video, however received far less publicity for having Ziegler at the center. It can be assumed that this is because Ziegler is dancing solo around a bleak apartment as opposed to side by side with a [much older] man. The video for 'Elastic Heart' is unique in it's borders as well; Ziegler and LaBeouf are trapped in an aviary-looking cage. The duo appears to be fighting back and forth, he for her attention and she for freedom from him. My interpretation of the video is that Ziegler is embodying a female trapped in a relationship where she has had enough; she physically feels trapped. She has had enough of succumbing to her "thick skin and elastic heart" the lyrics go on to say "I'm like a rubber band when you pull too hard..." Literally, when a rubber band is pulled too hard, it snaps. LaBeouf's character seems to be filled with anguish and longing for his female companion, but he also looks dangerous in a way, further leading to the belief that she is trying to escape the cage.
The signifiers here are the cage in which she is trying to escape and the lyrics to the song. You see with your eyes that there is some sort of domestic dispute taking place within the confines of the cage and within the lyrics you hear about someone who is trying to be released from said confines. The speaker of the song knows that they have yet to win "And another one bites the dust/ Oh, why can I not conquer love?" Syntadgmatically speaking, you cannot understand one of these signifiers without the other. Without the music and lyrics, the dancing, while beautiful, holds little explanation. Without the dancing, the lyrics and music serve as "just another good club song" or "good song to belt out in your car with your windows rolled down."
I shy away from using the word "obvious" here, but it is quite possible that the intent of this video is to show how see-saw style the reality of a possessive or unhealthy relationship can be. The choreography is not meant to focus so much on who the dancers are, but what they represent: a man and a woman. I am reminded of "death of the author" theory with the dancers here representing the author of this text. Their personal lives are left at the door before entering the world of interpretive dance and what this video entails.
There is reality all over the place in this video. Interpretive dance, of course, is cryptic. Much of the meaning behind the dancing is left to experiencing the lyrics of the accompanying song. In deeply evaluating the lyrics to the song prior to, during, and after watching the video (multiple times) I am left to the conclusion that the video is, in many ways, a testimony to releasing oneself from an abusive/controlling relationship that you always end up debating going back into. (SPOILER ALERT: The video ends with the girl outside the cage, with the man attempting to pull her back in).