The Controversy Behind “Elastic Heart”: Has Sia gone too far?


Sia’s an artist who’s certainly known for marching to the beat of her own drum, but has she gone too far this time? Some critics would certainly say so after the debut for her newest single “Elastic Heart” featuring Maddie Ziegler, the famed featured “Chandelier" dancer, and a surprisingly nimble Shia LeBeouf. Ziegler (age 12) and LeBeouf (age 28) sport the iconic nude-color spandex and seemingly duke it out in a secluded birdcage. The video is unquestionably packed with vast ranges of emotion, from anger to a fun sort of mocking, but concerned critics claim that romance, if not some sort of sexual tension and undertone is present between the two with a notably questionable age difference.

Most of the backlash from viewers came from cries on Twitter, claiming pedophilia and deeming the video “disgusting” also saying that it is meant to make a statement about child violence.

Yes, the attire is certainly questionable, but it can also be argued that they are just common pieces of dance wear meant to focus viewers’ attention on the artists. And yes, LeBeouf and Ziegler are intertwined throughout the piece but Sia claims that the dance is meant to exhibit warring stages of the self and that the two were the only ones who she felt could aptly portray the roles.

Consequence of Sound author  Michelle Geslani defended the clip by putting the emotions and sentiments into perspective: “Interpretive dance is just that- interpretive. Also, as we’ve come to learn more about Sia and the kind of artist she is, I think it’s safe to say that the art she puts forth always has a deeper meaning. Skin doesn’t always = Sex. Touching doesn’t always = Lust.  Dancing doesn’t always indicate something carnal.” So are viewers then just missing the “art”?

Sia responded to concerned viewers on Twitter, claiming that while she expected these cries of suggestive pedophilia, she did not intentionally mean anything trigger worthy or harmful.

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Personally, I like to take this video as a breathtaking piece of art- a refreshing difference from the videos that are so commonplace today (i.e. bootypoppin in the club). It’s obvious that through her work Sia is trying something different, from not showing her face during performances, to these symbolic dances, there is some sort of deeper meaning behind it all. Let us know what you think- is this some sort of cry for attention, or is there a greater lesson behind the video? Either way, it’s absolutely worth the time to check out “Elastic Heart”.

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