If there's one thing cultural observers can agree on in 2012, it's that One Direction, the five X Factor alums spearheading the current boy-band invasion, does not dance.
When I think about the boy bands of my youth, like New Kids, *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, even 98 Degrees, there was always dancing involved. But with One Direction, there was no dancing.
As this article in the National Post makes clear, [One Direction] seek to separate themselves from the rest of the pack by consciously not dancing.
["What Makes You Beautiful"] is a total hit, but the lack of moves seriously highlights the group’s awkward, X Factor-bred disjointedness.
This is, plainly, incorrect. One Direction does dance; the boys are not immobile singing robots. In nearly every music video and live performance, they jump up and down. They shimmy and shake. They physically react to the emotions of the music. That's what dancing is.
If this rhythmic movement does not scan as dancing to you, it's likely your perception has been skewed by the unified choreography of One Direction's boy-band forefathers. But which has more in common with the way human beings actually experience music: the exuberant improvisations of the One Direction boys, or the robotic jerking of a band like 'N Sync?
That's not dancing, that's just moving in unison.
Of course, One Direction dances like this sometimes. Mainly when they feel like taking the piss:
The bands' critics will call this a calculated move, say One Direction is trying to disguise its cynical reality-show origins by pretending to be too "real" for choreography. To that, we say: So what? One Direction's music makes us feel fun and young again. When it comes on the radio, we want to jump around and act like idiots. When we see the boys who are singing it doing the same, well, that just makes it even better.