20 July 2014

Choreography Dream, Part II...?

The short version of what happened since I fell off the face of this blog: I have survived my first year of college (except for the part where I almost died of strep throat -- the week EVERY SINGLE PAPER of the semester was due), returned to my dance school in Alberta just in time to be a part of the waltz of the snowflakes in the Nutcracker (and managed to screw up every performance except the last one), and am working a *gasp!* 9-to-5. I'm still not comfortable saying that. I don't want to get stuck in the world of the 9-to-5. This is only to pay for college next year. It bothers me even to say that much because I know so many people who get a 9-to-5 and they swear it's only temporary... and twenty years later they're still working the same deadbeat job and all their dreams have died. Or were they sacrificed on the altar of the steady paycheck...?

And now, to talk about dancing.

It was over two years ago now that I started getting serious about creating choreography. My goal was to build up enough half-decent choreography in my repertoire that I could make a half-decent setlist of some kind out of it. Having since completed thirty-four works and having probably hundreds more in varying stages of completion, I'd say I can check off that goal. Next goal? Finding people to actually dance this stuff.

I live in farm country, Alberta. Art is a word from a foreign language here. Art? What's that? Does it make money? Do cows eat it? Is it a new brand of canola or something? Ah, it's probably an oilfield acronym. (Who can keep up with those anyway? Those acronyms multiply like rabbits.)

As a consequence, the potential artists from Alberta either leave for New York or something, never to be heard from again because their families disowned them for not working 9-to-5, or they get a deadbeat job ('to pay for college') and starve the artist within until she slips quietly away somewhere between the alarm clock and the water cooler. This leaves no artists for those of us who remain to learn from or collaborate with.

And this is where I am now. I have thirty-four complete dances and zero dancers. I can only create so many solos (I don't like watching solos, I don't like choreographing solos, and I don't like dancing solos. Groups are just all-round more interesting to watch and to work with). Step one of this dream is accomplished, but now what about step two? Where are the dancers coming from? Yes, I have friends I've met at dance classes, but so far I can only name one (maybe two) who love dancing enough to do it outside of class.

I've thought of the idea of creating a dance team from whoever wants to be in it and then training them from the bottom up. However, training dancers from scratch is a much different animal than merely teaching choreography. It's the difference between saying, "Okay, here you do a jeté and then you go into chassé pas de bourré..." and "Okay, this is what a jeté is. Turn out. Bend your knees. Now brush your foot out and off of the floor and jump. No, both at the same time. Point the other foot as it's in the air too. Land with your feet together in fifth, turned out. Brushing foot closes in front. Bend your knees. Make sure you turn out. Don't thud down -- land lightly..." (and so forth). It's easy enough for someone to say they want me to teach them how to dance, but dancing does demand time and rehearsing and performing takes commitment and endurance. I can't start training starry-eyed college kids and then have them back out in the middle of learning, say, Sanctuary, muttering "homework" as they go because it wasn't as 'glamorous' as they thought it'd be. It's an idea, but I've yet to determine if I'm willing to invest that much time in people who may very well drop it when the novelty wears off. Or maybe I'm just being too negative and graceless.

I must, however, add that my two dancing sisters and I are putting together a little piece for a talent show for the upcoming family reunion. This same piece may also be performed in our church sometime in August. This will be the first piece of my choreography performed by people other than me (the only other piece that's been staged was a solo performed by a gravely-ill yours truly. This new dance still has me in it, but in addition to my sisters). And, if the church agrees to let us do it (Baptist church, you know), it'll be the first piece I've created that's been shown more than once.

So I suppose stuff is happening, just slower than I'd like. Maybe it's for the best -- easing me into it instead of just dropping me into showbiz.

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