27 July 2012

Glory To The King - The Somewhat Extended History Of The Dance (So Far). And Music Day.

Remember the other day when I mentioned I was working on choreography for Glory To The King?

Actually, my choreographic work on it predates even Sing Your Freedom. I started working on it in early January. It was the first bit of Benesh notation I ever did.

Initially I managed to turn out six pages, however, my enthusiasm flagged and I was lured away by a different project -- You Are The One (which was also put on the back burner later in favour of Sing Your Freedom before I went back and completed it at the end of April).

A couple times over the following months I glanced over the pages from Glory To The King, but found no real desire (or self-discipline, more accurately) to add to it.

However, it's a fantastic song. I wanted there to be a dance to it, there needed to be a dance to it, but those pages intimidated me.

After finishing Them at the end of June, I was at a loss for what to do next. I had a handful of songs I was considering, but nothing that really jumped out and grabbed me.

And there it sat in my 'current choreography' playlist, like it had for over six months.

Glory To The King.

Reluctantly I brought out the pages I'd already written -- about forty seconds' worth of material -- and looked them over.

The intro was all right, but my counts were completely wrong. It was impossible to follow the timing. I revised the intro concept very slightly and rewrote the entire sequence on fresh paper, with the proper time signatures.

And then I stalled out again.

It took weeks just to reach the beginning of the first chorus -- a mere thirty seconds of music. Only in the past four or five days have I managed to complete the chorus and the second verse. Now in the trenches of the second chorus, I'm finding inspiration a little easier to find, but I feel like it's getting repetitive... I seem to have notated an awful lot of parallel retierré jumps in the not-too-distant past.

But in a weird way, it reminded me of the days when I was slogging through Sing Your Freedom. I was definitely more enthusiastic about that project than this one, but the sitting down and listening to the same ten seconds again and again and again and again, waiting for my brain to come up with something to go with the next measure, trying to wrap my head around who needs a separate stave on this page and who can I lump together as I try to figure out the details of yet another formation change -- the mood of this one is as close to the Sing Your Freedom days as I've gotten since I finished it in mid-April.

And while the small reminder of the Sing Your Freedom days was a little refreshing, the big break came last Thursday, the 19th.

While out running errands, I listened to David Meece's CD Once In A Lifetime (Star Song, 1993). Track three is this song called Brokenness. When I was little, I never paid the song much heed -- it was slow and 'boring.' However, in recent years I've been paying more attention to all the songs on the album. And Brokenness is a beautiful song. I looked it up in my choreography notes binder and found notes for both a solo and a group of five. Since I knew I would have to choose eventually, I tried to make my decision then -- save me some time and energy later. Ultimately I decided on a solo. And since I was desperate for something, anything, to distract me from Glory To The King while still accomplishing my purpose in life, I began to compose the solo to Brokenness.

And it kick-started my imagination for Glory To The King.

At first, I was just happy that I'd finally gotten a bit of a second wind (even if it was more of a breeze than a real wind, but who's splitting hairs?) for Glory To The King. But as I thought about it, I realised that Sing Your Freedom also had really taken off when I picked up You Are The One again and started working on that alongside.

Sing Your Freedom is for eight dancers. You Are The One is for four. Glory To The King is for six. Brokenness is a solo. Large dance, small dance, both at the same time.

I can't help thinking maybe I've finally figured out the trick to this.

(This 'shake-it-up' idea may be obvious to some, but keep in mind I've been writing novels at an average of two per year since age fourteen. You can't afford to mess up your plot by working a second one at the same time. You immerse yourself in one novel, one plot, until you've got it written out and the rough draft done.)

As promised -- I think it was two weeks ago now -- here is the official Music Day information:

Title: Glory To The King
Artist: Peter Furler
Album: On Fire
Year: 2011
Label: Sparrow Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.

Why do I like the song? Well, to pare it down to one little phrase, it would be this: exuberant joy. Any other words I could put to this would be inadequate. In fact, my primary struggle with the choreography is not in trying to keep it low-key enough to match the music (which is usually the case), it's the fact that short of piano wire, the excited jumps physically can't get any higher and without the threat of fire or something the joyful leaps cannot be performed any faster than they already are.

It's here!

Lift up your hands and sing
Glory to the King!
The King of everything...

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