Renaissance World Tour dancer Ai Shimatsu works an original routine to Crystal Kay’s “Kirakuni”

A screenshot of Ai Shimatsu from her video featuring her dancing to Crystal Kay’s “Kirakuni”.

It’s about time a dancer / choreographer put some respec’ on Crystal Kay’s discography and hit a routine to one of her songs. Too bad it’s to a song which STILL isn’t available on streaming globally - but that’s a whole other post. And I have my physical copy of Call Me Miss…. [Looks over at CD shelf]

The dancer in this video is Ai Shimatsu. But if you’re a member of the BeyHive, then you already knew that and recognise her as one of the dancers on the Renaissance World Tour. But as per fellow Renny Tour dancers Les Twins, Hannah Douglass and Jonté, Ai goes WAY back with Beyoncé; having been one of her dancers back in 2011 during the promotional run of the album 4 and being one of the dancers on the Formation World Tour in 2016.

Crystal Kay herself has seen this video. She has commented on it. Crystal and Ai have even linked up. And I really hope that Ai choreographs something for Crystal one day.

Seeing a routine to a Crystal Kay song made me smile, because those of you have have followed me for a minute know that I am a big CK fan. But this also shows why (and I know some of y’all are gonna eye roll) representation matters. This phrase has really become the with great power, comes great responsibility of diversity discussions. But it is true. Because Ai being a dancer who is Japanese and regularly BOOKED booked in America, means that we get instances like this, where she is choregraphing to a Japanese pop / R&B song. A song by a Black Japanese singer no less. And it’s moments like this I’d like to see more of, rather than YouTube being littered with your regular popular songs, where white choreographers are the only ones being platformed by the algorithm. Those routines to “Yes, And?” are cute. But I wanna see somebody buss down to Hikaru Utada’s “Find Love”. Namie Amuro’s “Can’t Sleep, Can’t Eat, I’m Sick”. Ai’s “Futuristic Lover”. Meisa Kuroki’s “Last Code”. I wouldn’t want to see Ai be pigeon holed as ‘That Japanese girl in America who choreographs to Japanese songs’. But throwing in the odd Japanese banger could be an angle for Ai and something which sets her apart from the countless dancers / choreographers on Instagram and YouTube, which then gets her favoured in the God forsaken algorithms.

I feel sexy and / or BOOM-KAT-KAT routines aren’t as prevalent in Japanese music as they used to be, which is probably because Japanese R&B isn’t what it used to be and neither is pop. But it’d be great to see it brought back. Daichi Miura is one of the few still waving the flag when it comes to that style of dancing in music videos, but the ladies aren’t really doing it any more. Kumi Koda tries, but her routines be looking terrible and the songs are just as terrible. She might need to slide into Ai’s DMs. I do not like “Vroom”. But the video may have hit differently and offset how bad the song is if Kumi was hittin’ a good piece of choreo to it.

📱 Follow dem: Ai Shimatsu | Crystal Kay