01 February 2013

National Choreography Month Recap

So what was my first-ever official National Choreography Month like?

Pretty amazing. I (just barely) completed eighteen minutes and thirty-six seconds of choreography. That's roughly half my output over the previous ten months all over again. In thirty-one days.

It was kind of stressful at times, and I certainly wouldn't demand four full dances of myself every single month (not at this point), but I'm really surprised what kind of gold my brain churned out even under such pressure.


Climb The Hill (White Heart) (choreographed in five days) -- Once I adjusted to the idea of the weird rhythm phrasing, I had a lot of fun with this one. It turned out very well, I think, except in the last minute or so (it kind of fell apart after Rick's verse). Still, once that minute gets an overhaul, it should be nearly stage-worthy...

Unchain (White Heart) (choreographed in ten days) -- Oh. My. Goodness. And I thought I liked this song before. Listening to it pretty much every waking moment for a full week, catching all the nuances of the instruments and the vocal track as they were repeatedly poured into my brain through the headphones... oh my goodness. It's like floating on a cloud, it really is. And the lyrics themselves are breathtaking -- so honest, so real. How are these phenomenal people not still creating stuff together? Seriously.
Oh, the dance? Well, that turned out pretty well too. I'm very excited about it. It was kind of a departure from my usual style -- less balletic (I refuse to say the word 'contemporary') (and anyway, there's no floor work in it, so it's not contemporary). But it turned out so emotional, so delicate. Three people -- one leading most of the dance and two moving softly, echoing in the background, all working off each other... on the right threesome, this would be a stunning, stunning piece to watch.
Creatively speaking, I grew a lot in this piece -- in my style, my voice, my ability to feel the song. It's not a pure technical showcase, like my earlier stuff was (Sing Your Freedom, anybody?). Certainly, technique is a requirement, but it's not pure straight-up technique this time. There's room for the dancers to put a little soul into it.

Fly Eagle Fly (White Heart) (choreographed in seven days) -- This one was pretty personal for me. It's a dance for two, and the faces I see are my own and that of a close friend. Last year was really cruel to her, and it took a lot of time and love for her to get back on her feet again. She's doing much better now, and you see that at the end of the dance -- both of them are dancing together, but the first dancer, while still at the second dancer's side, is slowly giving her a little more space, watching as she grows in confidence and begins to soar on her own again.
Creatively speaking, a lot of the let-it-breathe-don't-micromanage lessons I learnt with Unchain are still apparent. Make no mistake, this is a classical ballet dance, but feeling the vocal dynamic was very present here as well. Emotion factors heavily into this one too (perhaps even more so than in Unchain) because of the personal story behind it. Again, performed by the right people, this will be a really good piece to watch.

The Dance (Servant) (choreographed in nine days) -- Probably the closest thing to pure jazz I've written to date. And apparently my jazz knowledge can be summed up in the following list: jazz hands, skip-change-of-step (and I'm not even sure that's jazz), turned-in stuff, lindy, and ball change. So guess what the dance is chock-full of. I'm not as proud of it as I am of, say, Unchain, but this is also a completely different song. It should be fairly easy to teach, anyway -- after all, it pretty much consists of jazz turns, lindy-ball-changes and skip-change-of-step. Having more people in it makes it look like there's more to the dance than that, though (there's my pro-tip of the week. You're welcome).

Now to pick another song upon which to bestow my newfound depths of soul-baring emotion (or so I hope). I have a shortlist of about twenty songs that were in the running for National Choreography Month to choose from... The other day I was considering Raging Of The Moon (White Heart), because it's a dance for a large group and I haven't done a big epic group dance like that since Speechless back in September-October. However, I also have a neat little solo in my head for Eighth Wonder (take a guess), and as I just scrolled through the list of candidates, Michael Card's Chorus Of Faith jumped out at me, so we'll see...

In the meantime, I have two solos and a trio to memorise for the purpose of auditioning (this Sunday... who, me? Procrastinate?) and a pointe combination and my role in a piece at dance team to practice.

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