An independent, Montreal-made music video has defeated Beyoncé to win the 2020 UK Music Video Awards prize for best choreography.
Artist Sheenah Ko came together with a team of about a dozen dancers to create a short film that took down pop royalty.
“I was trying to manifest it that morning. I was like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to win.’ But, you know, until it happens, you don’t really expect it,” Ko said.
The winning video was for her song Wrap Me Up It was filmed nearly two years ago in the basement of a church in the Rosemont neighbourhood.
“It turned into this concept of everyone attending sort of like a self-help group in the basement of an old church. I’m sort of acting as this strange guru lady,” Ko explained.
The striking, dramatic choreography was the brainchild of Ko’s frequent collaborator, Brittney Canda. Canda, who performs contemporary dance at Ko’s live shows, also co-directed the video along with Vincent René-Lortie.
“The process was really about bringing out everyone’s individuality and how they express anger and how how they express tenderness,” Canda said in an interview.
The twist on a self-help meeting shows a diverse cast of dancers lashing out in rage, but ultimately coming together before turning on Ko, the session’s leader.
“It almost seems like the guru isn’t able to take her own advice,” Ko said.
“We were really, really lucky to have such a strong group of dancers who were so willing to give so much,” said Canda.
The video found its way to the prestigious UK Music Video Awards, and suddenly the tiny independent production was up against industry titans in two categories, including best choreography.
“We’re running against giant music videos created for Beyoncé, there was another video for Christine and the Queens,” said Ko.
When the host of the virtual award show revealed the video had won the award for best choreography, Ko and Canda were overwhelmed.
“I just screamed,” said Ko.
“I got really nauseous and I don’t remember too much,” Canda recounted.
Because of COVID-19, they accepted the award from their homes by video chat. Canda, who has already worked with various musicians on music videos, is now getting calls to collaborate with artists so big she can’t talk about it.
“This big, big award, the biggest accomplishment took place in the living room,” she said, wishing she could have attended the show in person and networked with other people in the industry.
Koh could not be prouder of the recognition, and the way the video has resonated with its big new audience.
“I love Beyoncé, but I’m really happy that we beat her.”