Olivia Salerno: Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” and Ava Russell: Fur Trade’s “Kids These Days”

These two videos are a good match: both featuring young girls dancing free-style out in the street to songs they’re clearly enjoying. Olivia is a reasonably high-profile dancer, with an enviable curriculum on her agent’s site, which also has a collection of seven of her YouTube videos. Incredibly, it was one take: no previous choreography instructions – just whatever came into her head at the time. She speaks about it all in the following video – where she also talks about the “Happy” concept of people being filmed dancing for a 24hr compilation video: hers was just a 4-minute segment (don’t be confused by the image at the beginning: it’s Olivia speaking, not dancing – she’s part of the Detroit Pistons’ dance team the “Mob Squad”):

The second is similar but different: again a girl dancing free-style on the street – but to find her name I had to hunt down the video production details on IMVDb. It was directed by Rebecca Russell, and the dancer was Ava Russell: presumably her daughter, or at a pinch younger sister.

…..Ava clearly isn’t a professional with years of training like Olivia, but the confidence and sheer joie de vivre demonstrated makes it just as impressive (and fun) to watch. For anyone interested, apparently it’s a business district in Vancouver (Fur Trade being a Canadian band).

Lastly Olivia’s most recent incarnation: as one of the dancers in Sia’s video for “The Greatest”, uploaded on Sept. 5th. It stars Maddie Ziegler of course – but I don’t think any of the other dancers would begrudge her leading rôle: she’s a stand-out as usual (and it’s  packed emotionally, being essentially a tribute to the victims of the Orlando queer disco massacre):


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