With just days to go until the release of her highly anticipated new studio album ‘Madame X’, Madonna has unveiled the records fifth single and it’s accompanying music video ‘Dark Ballet’.
Quirky, artistic and creative the track is Madonna at her most experimental, singing with total control and authority across the tracks robotic chant like verses, before segueing into a hypnotic, confessional chorus.
‘Dark Ballet’ is not a traditional pop/dance song, it’s genre cannot be defined – it is conversational, unconventional, dark yet meaningful. Madonna has something to say, a clear message to convey… and you’d better be listening.
“Cause your world’s in so much pain…”
Directed by Emmanuel Adjei, the ‘Dark Ballet’ music video is 6 minute visual masterpiece, starring American performance artist Mykki Blanco, as French national heroine Joan of Arc.
Opening with a quote from 15th century martyr, set to the sounds of gusts of wind, burning flames and Blanco sobbing, a dark mood of mystery is created before the song even begins:
“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.”
Awash with symbolism, religious imagery and hidden meaning, the narrative of the video sees Blanco imprisoned, menaced and, eventually burned at the stake by Catholic leaders.
Intense, jarring and powerful, the clip closes with an emotive spoken-word by Mykki:
“I have walked this earth, Black, Queer and HIV positive, but no transgression against me has been as powerful as the hope I hold within.”
In a statement accompanying the release of the video, Madonna explains her long time attraction to, and fascination with, Joan of Arc as a fearless female figure:
“She fought the English and she won, still the French were not happy. Still they judged her. They said she was a man, they said she was a lesbian, they said she was a witch, and, in the end, they burned her at the stake, and she feared nothing. I admire that.”