The Ideology of Choreography
10 hints for creating your own choreography
Choreography is the arrangement of movement in time and space.William Forsythe
If you are called to choreograph a dance here are 10 helpful hints.
1. Decide on a theme, story, or piece of music that you which to use. For example are you creating a part for the nutcracker, for a woman's group, for your dance sisters, or for the general public; know your audience. Then choose an idea from a heartfelt place.
2. Once you choose the music, move to it. Move freely and see if you like how it feels and how it looks in the mirror. Get the basic gist of the dance and be able to repeat it. Create it for yourself.
3. Listen to the music when you are not dancing: listen for the repeated chorus, the number of beats, how many times 8 counts are repeated, when it is instrumental and when there is singing, and notice if specific steps are required for specific rhythms, such as Baladi, Wada, etc.
4. Then repeat your dance until you like it; giving it the basic framework while fleshing it out.
5a. Now, use basic elements of dance such as:
Change in direction
Change in heights (levels)
Alternate tempos...the speed of a step can vary
Creating shape: change the shape your body makes... highlighting the positive and negative formations, for example, your arms in a positive position creating the air shape in between which is negative
Change energy: the dynamic way you move with soft or strong energy, or stop and start, moving in and out of the rhythm, sometime with it, sometimes defying it: syncopated or sustained
Change the mood you are in when you do the step..use your emotions. Try doing the same step sad, angry, happy, frightened, calm, intense, etc.
Play with a movement...manipulate it: do it backwards, in reverse, fast and slow, big or small, repeat whole paragraphs of steps especially when the music repeats.
5b. Teach it to others, if you are doing a group dance.
6. Watch them dance it. (Or you may want to have someone watch your solo practice)
7. Use the same elements of dance listed above and apply them to the group dance:
Change some dancer's directions and not others; alternating the view for the audience
Have one person dance and then several
Have the dancers differ in qualities of movement: soft versus sharp
Offer different tempos
Create subtle shifts, like head, or hand, or eye moves
At times the dancers diverge, and at other times they come together in unison
See the group as a picture on a canvas, and look for a desired formation and composition
8. It is also important to highlight the strengths of each dancer so they can bring the best of what they have to the group. Compliment them more then you correct them, yet don't settle for less than their best.
Dancers are instruments, like a piano the choreographer plays.George Balanchine
9. Allow for feedback and group interaction to stimulate you're creativity, yet keep your vision.
10. Keep perfecting the dance, embellish it, edit it, watch it on video to see how it looks, and practice!!!! Practice!!! Practice!!!
Lastly, take pleasure in the performance. Going to performance level allows the quality of dance to rise... for all to receive its profound pleasure.