“A dancer dies twice — once when they stop dancing, and this first death is the more painful.” A quote from famed modern dancer and choreographer Martha Graham starts off BTS‘ video for their newest single, “Black Swan.” This isn’t your typical music video, though. This is an art film.
The first thing fans will notice is the absence of the group’s members throughout the entire video. Instead, the video stars MN Dance Company, a Slovenian dance troupe. The troupe performs an emotive routine set to an orchestral arrangement of the track. The group moves amongst the ruins of what appears to be an abandoned shopping mall, falling away to years of decay. It creates a stark contrast between the lively movements of the dancers and the stillness and lifelessness of the setting.
There are seven members of the troupe, perhaps referencing the seven members of BTS. The lead dancer, shirtless, appears to be attempting to escape from the rest of the troupe, dressed in all black. Through contortionist-like movement, he attempts to “fly away” from the group, reminiscent of a bird. One particularly engaging scene occurs the group is encased in a cage of light beams, with the lead again trying to escape but to no avail.
The video is a beautiful visual representation of the track. The phrase “Black Swan” is a metaphor for an event that is unanticipated but has very far-reaching consequences. “The heart no longer races // When hearing the music play,” member Suga raps in the first verse. “Tryna’ pull up // Seems like time has stopped // Oh that would be my first death // I been always afraid of,” he continues, referencing the Martha Graham quote that kicks off the film.
The song focuses on the heartbreak of losing passion for the things we once loved. The members speak candidly of the fear that, one day, music could no longer bring happiness to them — only sorrow. There are two versions of the song, the orchestral arrangement featured in the art film and a more traditional R&B style on the album.
The orchestral version is more true to the meaning and evocative nature of the lyrics. Combined with the stunning performance from MN Dance Company, it creates a beautiful marriage of song and dance. “Black Swan” is one of BTS’ most introspective tracks and marks a more mature direction for the group.
Check out the video for “Black Swan” below.
Featured Image: Big Hit Entertainment