02 January 2013

Day One Recap - National Choreography Month

I have some catching up to do...

National Choreography Month (the official one) is in January. Hence, it started the same time 2013 did. And after two weeks of agonising and listening and re-listening and imagining and narrowing down (and trying desperately not to get any more really fantastic ideas), on 11.54 pm on 31 December, I finally had an official setlist:

Climb The Hill -- White Heart (Ballet for two)
Unchain -- White Heart (Faux jazz for three)
Fly Eagle Fly -- White Heart (Ballet for two)
The Dance -- Servant (Faux jazz for six)

This works out to just less than a minute of music per day throughout the month of January -- or just under one dance per week.

So, at approximately midnight, I started work on Climb The Hill. After erasing most of the first page and starting over (I forgot I was choreographing for two people -- not one), I ran into a different problem.

The same rhythm structure that makes the song so breathtaking is a devil to try to count.

I didn't even attempt to count the first fifteen seconds -- it was long synth notes anyway, and the dancers are holding their opening poses throughout, so it didn't really matter.

Then the phrases are as follows (as far as I've gotten): four, three sets of five, seven, another three sets of five, six, eight, seven, two sets of four, and six. Seriously. Yes, they're dancer's counts, but seriously.

Also, that Servant one is freaking me out. I've been wanting to do it for a long time, but two days ago it suddenly hit me... My vision for that thing is full of ripples. I hate notating ripples. It makes my brain hurt. Also, turning. That also makes my brain hurt and I almost always get them wrong the first two or three times. What's more, person-to-person contact. I have never notated person-to-person contact in my life. And I think sizeable portions of the dance are made up of everyone doing something slightly different than everybody else. Meaning I have to notate each person separately -- six times as much work. Not that I can't do that, just it takes up so much more time...

It so freaked me out that I nearly substituted White Heart's Jerusalem at the last minute (hey, that one has a different lead singer!), but after listening to both songs, decided to stick with The Dance. I may or may not wind up regretting my decision...
(I just realised something -- all of those White Heart songs in my official setlist actually do have a different lead singer; they're just all from the Florian era. Jerusalem was from the Scott Douglas White Heart.)
(/music nerd)

However, there are good-scary things happening too. I choreographed David Meece's Early In The Morning and One Small Child in December. Both turned out fantastic -- far and away my best work (to date).

And the same night I was just finishing off the last couple of phrases of One Small Child, my friend from the dance team emailed me, asking if I would be willing to choreograph a ballet solo to round out their setlist.

I was going to say 'of course I will,' then I looked at the papers beside me. One Small Child is a solo. Sure, it's a Christmas song, but it's still a ballet solo. And I already had a dress in mind, one I already owned. Long story short, it looks like One Small Child may get staged in the near future.

Holy cow. Holy cow.
That just started to sink in. Holy cow.

I didn't have any of this a year ago.

Anyway, weird 'what-the-actual-heck-are-you-trying-to-do-here?' rhythms aside, Day One of National Choreography Month produced one minute sixteen seconds of choreography. Not bad. Of course, that was mostly soloist stuff, but it's definitely a nice number to start the month with. Hopefully I can build on that...

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