Tips for Creating Choreographies. Part 3 of 4
Study the work of other dancers.
Watch videos of dancers who you admire, and notice which combinations/movements caught your attention. I’m not talking about coping someone else’s dance. That’s absolutely unprofessional and against any basic creative ethic norms. However, maybe, you found interesting how that dancer put her arm during a turn, or that she unexpectedly combined two movements that you had never thought about putting together…
These kind of jewels could and should be incorporated into your dance. This is not only a tool to widen your movement vocabulary and train your body with new challenging skills, but also a way to vary your dance, and give you more creative ideas instead of repeating again and again the same familiar movement patterns. I also LOVE learning choreographies at different workshops. It is not necessarily that I will perform those routines, but it always provides valuable insights, and multiple combinations that I can deposit into my “movement bank account”. ☺
Work until you can. Then push a bit more. But then stop.
Not all of us are geniuses who can choreograph all day long. And even if once you happened to be so inspired to work the whole day, and completed the choreo in one set, it doesn’t mean that the next time will be the same. Choreographing is both a physical and mental process. It’s too easy to get frustrated when our inspiration flow gets stuck, and we start feeling incapable of anything, or not talented enough. Sometimes we simply need to take a break and come back later to it with some fresh ideas and renewed enthusiasm.
Make sure you are playing around with different directions, levels and speed.
Often it’s good to literally ask yourself: “Am I constantly facing just the front?”, “How can I equally address both sides of my performance area, as well as the centre part?” Also, don’t forget about one more direction: facing back! The same hip or hair movement that you usually do facing front will look completely different if you show it from the back! Plus, many costumes have very nice fancy designs from all 360 degrees, so why hide half of their beauty, lol.
Playing with levels and speed is even more straightforward. Maybe instead of doing four regular mayas, you can do them going down and up. Or instead of being safe and taking all two counts for a turn, you can complete the movement much faster, and then use the rest of the phrase to slow down and stretch in a nice pose! Give a chance to the photographer to capture a nice image, while also making your dance more unexpected and engaging.
Don’t think only about movements. Think about the audience’s attention.
At the end of the day, it’s not about your technical abilities, but about the audience’s experience. In this regard, people’s attention is the central point. For instance, if during a specific section of the dance, you are focusing on detailed belly or hip technique, maybe it’s not the best moment to throw a small movement of the hands high above your head. People most probably won’t even notice it, because their attention is down on your belly & hip area. You need to find the way to make a smooth transition between their focus on hips, to your hands all the way up. Maybe a reverse undulation can help in this scenario, or any other movement. But direct people’s attention consciously. Don’t just hope that they pay the same attention to all parts of your body all the time!
Another powerful tool to control and guide the focus of the audience is your own gaze. People will automatically follow where you turn your head, to see what you are looking at. So don’t underestimate your eyes and face. They are a part of your dance as much as your arms and legs, or in our case, hips. ☺
Author: Iana Komarnytska
Photographer: Pedro Bonatto
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Read Part 4 of Tips for Creating Choreographies
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