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Chosen One of the Day: Prince's Batdance video

By Emma Fraser
Prince Batdance

“Get the funk up!”

In 1989, Prince delivered this command at the start of “Batdance,” the defining track from Prince's Batman record. Thirty years later, it is still hard to resist the urge to, in fact, get the funk up and dance when it comes on, even if my moves are nowhere near as smooth.

Prince never did anything halfway other than splitting his costume right down the middle. It is like he is auditioning for the role of Two-Face from an alt-universe as he lip-syncs dialogue from the movie. Prince is both the hero and villain of this story. This video contains layers.

Bathed in signature purple light — it is serendipitous that the Joker also favors this shade — this video is an infectious bop, which harkens back to an era when blockbuster movies and pop music went hand-in-hand. This synergy wasn’t something director Tim Burton was thrilled about, referring to it as an “unholy alliance” in a conversation with Rolling Stone’s David Breskin in 1992. Nevertheless, Jack Nicholson strutting around an art museum to anything other than "Partyman" seems out of the question now.

Aesthetically it goes against the whole Gothic and Art Deco vibe of Burton’s vision, but this chaotic energy is pure Joker. It is lavish, extravagant and completely over-the-top. Running at nearly seven minutes, the “Batdance” feels like three songs in one, and features a dance battle with multiple Caped Crusaders and Jokers. So You Think You Can Dance could only dream of a moment like this. Christopher Nolan wishes.

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