Music Video Relapse: "She Wolf" by Shakira (2009), directed by Jake Nava

Posted by Adam Fairholm on June 27, 2013 in Music Video Relapse

Staff Post


Director Jake Nava has a talent for directing really great dance videos (with the help of some talented choreographers and performers, of course). One of his videos, "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" by Beyonce, was good enough to cause Kanye West to take the mic away from Taylor Swift at an award show to tell us all about it. That's some good dancing.

However, we're not watching "Single Ladies" today, we're going all the way back to 2009 to check out one of our favorite dance videos from the last few years - "She Wolf" by Shakira.

When Shakira released the album She Wolf in 2009, it came with some signature dance moves. One of them was the one where she arches her back backwards and stuff and the one where she does the things with her stomach. (I'm sorry, I don't really know how to describe dance moves.) But watch any live performance from this era and you'll see some signature dance moves repeated. They are mesmerizing.

As the lead single from the album, the video for "She Wolf" acts as a sort of showcase for these moves. Choreographed by Hi Hat, the video features Shakira waking up in the middle of the night and walking into a closet, which turns into a pink sparkley cave (the best kind of cave). She dances in a club, and in a gold cage that says "Do Not Feed the Animal" on top of it. There is a wolf. We're going to ignore the leotard outfit.

The video received some criticism for some of the imagery - mainly Shakira in a gold cage acting like a sexy animal - but the criticism missed the point that Shakira's moves are way too cool not to be in a cage. Sure, some are goofy, but let the first one of us that has not performed goofy dance moves in a music video throw the first stone. Mostly, the moves are really impressive. To get a sense of how athletic you have to be to pull some of this off, try lying flat on the floor and raising your butt like Shakira does in the video at around 1:20. I pulled multiple muscles and I still hurt badly in all areas of my body. In a video for a song that features howling in the chorus, I'm willing to give Shakira a pass if she wants to hang out in a cage and show off some of the advanced stuff.

We get a lot of great Shakira shots for most of the video, and then we get a transition that is a little jarring. Suddently, Shakira is dancing on a rooftop in San Francisco and is styled so differently that it takes a little bit to recognize that it's her. Her dance moves and wardrobe are also completely different. It ends up transitioning back to her closet to wrap the whole fantasy storyline, but on first viewing it can throw you for a loop.

All things considered, however, Shakira knows how to bring the moves and Jake Nava knows how to show them to us. Now get on the floor and try to do the butt lift thing and let us know how it goes.

jake nava, shakira

Adam Fairholm is the co-founder and lead developer of IMVDb. You can find him on twitter at @adamfairholm.

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