27 March 2013

Life (A Long Rambling Update From The Creative Mind)

You may or may not be wondering by now -- besides geeking out over eighties music, what else have I been doing lately? (In other words, I just realised I haven't posted anything other than Music Day for... months.)

To answer the question... more choreography. Give me a second to look through my stacks of notes and I'll tell you what I'm working on.

*removes half-inch thick stack of paper from clipboard and shuffles through it*

Okay, here we go...

Eighth Wonder (White Heart): Back in December I was asked to compose and perform a ballet solo for the local dance team. I was originally going to perform my choreography for David Meece's One Small Child, but after some rehearsing, discovered that the stage in my mind is much, much bigger than most stages are in real life (unless we're talking hockey arenas). Since we aren't quite booking hockey arenas at this point, I would either have to re-work One Small Child or come up with something else. I chose Plan B, and Eighth Wonder was pretty much entirely choreographed within a week. Performances start in May. (I say this so casually, but inside I'm jumping up and down and squealing like a five-year-old.)

Raging Of The Moon (White Heart): I've been dreaming about this one for a long time, probably from the second time I ever heard this song. I'm finally working out some visual motifs and I've got formations and basic choreography figured out until about the three-minute mark. It's a lot like what I did with Speechless (big epic formation dance with intricate visual 'harmonies'), only this one will be actually danceable by humans. I'm excited about this one. It's going to look so cool.

Hollow Man (Daniel Amos): I'm hoping this will actually become a joint choreographic venture with myself and the other two choreographers on the dance team, the idea being that each of us choreographs our own part in a different discipline from the other two, and then we put the individual parts together on the stage. This would be an attempt to build on the haunting almost-discord of the song -- it looks amazing in my head, but it remains to be seen what real life will do to it...

Montana Sky (White Heart): I haven't touched this song in over a month. It started out slow anyway, but the actual dance was turning out rather nicely. I just seem to have lost my ambition for this one. I'd still like to finish it sometime, as it was shaping up to be really pretty (soft, gentle ballet trio), and I was already past the halfway point anyway...

Shedding The Mortal Coil (Daniel Amos): I kind of doubt this will ever get staged. It's bubblegum Junior Jazz One at its finest. But it's so much fun...
(Yes, the linked video does cut it off, but there's only like five more seconds in the song after that. Basically he holds the note for 'coil' and the guitar reverberates for a few more seconds.)

Going Public (Newsboys): Seriously, does this song not have 'tap dance' written all over it?

Answering Machine (Prodigal): I'm not seriously working on this (yet), but the other day I was brainstorming ideas for it and I think there's some potential for this one. This would be another tap dance.

Other stuff I've been doing...

Photography -- just did a snow photo shoot with my sister yesterday. I waited nearly a week for cloud cover before I finally gave up and figured I'd just have to make it work with the sun's harsh glare coming off the snow (before it all melted away). Those pictures had better have turned out (I haven't looked at them yet).

On a side note, I, unlike everyone else in this province, am LOVING the snow. We got a mild blizzard here last Thursday... it was awesome. Except for the people in the 100-car pileup, but it sounds like they were all pretty much okay anyway. (If the idiots in this province would just learn that the speed on the highway is 110, not 300 gazillion, this wouldn't have been a problem.) Since I'm on my soapbox anyway, listen Albertans, you have no right to complain. It's MARCH, people. March. You have no right to be whining about missing spring yet. For crying out loud, it's March! What do you expect? Crocuses in your underwear drawer? Spring around here comes in May. IT. HAPPENS. EVERY. YEAR. Do you people not pay attention?

*gets off soapbox*

*abruptly changes gears*

So to make a long story short, I just became aware of a really cool old abandoned house literally a two-minute drive from where I live. Can you say 'video/photo shoot location?' Only one problem -- it's being demolished in two and a half weeks. But I really, really want to get something artistic out of that house before it's destroyed and forgotten. There isn't too much there for a photo shoot, but it has the best music-video lighting ever, especially in the basement.

At first I was thinking of doing a 'music video' for the dance to the aforementioned Hollow Man. However, as I thought about the logistics of choreographing, perfecting, and shooting the whole thing in two weeks, I was forced to admit defeat. There is no way I'm going to be able to pull that off, even with the other two dancers on spring break. I kind of doubt I'll ever be able to not regret getting that committed to film while I had the chance -- that basement, that lighting, is so so perfect for the mood, the sound, the dance of Hollow Man. I had camera angles figured out and everything.

So now I'm considering (hopefully) the next best thing: an already-choreographed piece that requires only one dancer -- me. Eighth Wonder. It won't pull as much creative awesomeness out of that basement as Hollow Man would, but under such a tight deadline, it'll have to do. I just hope someday I'll find another basement as aesthetically brilliant as that one with less of a deadline on it.

There's really only one problem with doing Eighth Wonder in there -- well, two -- but both would have been present no matter what dance I picked. One is I need someone to run the camera. I know almost exactly what kind of camera work I want, but I also need to be doing the actual dance. (What I really need to do is clone myself. That would make this whole creating-art thing so much easier because I would know what I want and I would always be available the same time as I am and then I could be in two physical locations simultaneously.)

The second problem is the fact that the basement floor is unprotected concrete -- a bit of a dancer's nightmare, and especially for one who's already showing signs of knee trouble. (And guess what makes the lighting in that basement so amazing? Yep... the light-conducting properties of bare concrete.) I have a bit of a temporary floor solution in mind (though it might kill the lighting a bit), so if it's possible to get in there and get the footage at the exact angles I want without any superfluous messing around, I should hopefully come out of there mostly unscathed. But it's gotten me thinking -- at what level does safety trump aesthetics/perfect lighting/space/opportunity? For me, just me, that's one thing. If I want to be potentially stupid and trash my knees, that's my problem. But even when I was seriously considering doing Hollow Man, I couldn't get it out of my mind -- would it really have been fair to ask two other dancers to risk it?

The Twitter-friendly version of that wall of words? 'Creative brain is exploding.'

And that's what I've been doing lately. How about you?

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