31 December 2015

Prelude: National Choreography Month

This is the first National Choreography Month (Nachmo) I've been able to participate in in two years. While I was able to manage NaNoWriMo through both years of college, choreography is a little more time-intensive so I couldn't do Nachmo.

I'm feeling pretty uninspired for this too. But at least I have a tiny bit of a game plan right now (which is better than my last NaNoWriMo attempt... I didn't even have a game plan at the end of NaNoWriMo, to be honest).

I haven't been inspired to do any softshoe (ballet/pointe or jazz) choreography since before Brittney died. When she died, of course, I still had a couple of works-in-progress to finish so the effect wasn't immediate, but once I had finished all of those, I was screwed. Nothing has really caught my attention since. I've written a few original pieces since then, but I worked far too hard for every single one of them (as in: pulling teeth out of a crocodile would be easier) and although I think there's some really beautiful sequencing in some of them, none of them consumed me the way that, say, Sanctuary did. To further the example (and to inform the newcomers), Sanctuary basically ate my life for about three months until I finally choreographed it. The song wouldn't let go of me and I could not rest until I had completed the dance to it. And until Brittney died, that was generally my process: I would stumble on a certain song that I just HAD to choreograph and then my brain would keep mulling over the song whether or not I consciously tried to choreograph it until I had worked out the dance. I had no choice. The song more or less grabbed me and dragged me along for the ride.

Now I know there are dry spots. I know it's not always going to be that easy. But what shocked me was how dead I feel now that there are no ideas, no sparks, nothing to catch my fancy. It seriously feels as if my soul has died. I always thought there might be at least a little something you could coax out though it would be harder than before. But no -- there is nothing. Just apathy.

But -- that's softshoe disciplines. Tap is another story.

I'm always reluctant to choreograph tap because I'm such a novice at it. I've spent so many years dancing and choreographing melody and (occasionally) lyric that although I have pretty good rhythm, I hardly ever choreograph it. Right now, though, even though I couldn't choreograph a pointe dance if my life depended on it, I have tap dance ideas oozing out of my ears. I'm finding myself tap-dancing around the house more than ever before, even though at the moment I'm taking five times more ballet classes than tap ones. So finally it occurred to me that rather than beat myself into the ground trying to come up with the next Sanctuary when it's simply not there, I should do something completely different.

I have decided to spend Nachmo (I keep wanting to type 'nacho') choreographing small tap dances. Solos, mostly, but maybe a couple of trios or something. Also, since this year Nachmo has rolled out a music video submission page (jury's still out on whether or not they will accept Canadian work at this point), that's my new goal (which is why I'm planning on doing solos and small dances rather than focusing on my great love and higher skill level, namely choreographing huge groups -- I don't have huge groups to work with right now). Maybe it's a new year's resolution? I don't know. I suppose it was a new year's resolution that got me choreographing in the first place, so it might be worth a shot.

I'm not sure how many dances I'm going to shoot for. If inspiration hits, it's totally feasible for me to choreograph an entire tap dance in a day (*cough* The Double), but then again, I don't know if I want to bank on that for thirty straight days, particularly when you take into account my work schedule and my dance schedule. I'm thinking maybe two or three small dances a week... if I can even find that many songs to work with. Right now the (still rough) setlist includes the likes of:

~ Chase That (Ambition) - Lecrae
~ Love Divine - Phil Keaggy
~ On The Other Side - Michael W. Smith
~ Wall Of Sound - Loyd Boldman
~ Independence Day - White Heart (haven't choreographed some White Heart in a good long time)
~ Jingle Ka-Ching - VeggieTales (hear me out... with the right treatment, this is prime satire material)
~ Rattle Me, Shake Me - David Meece (because it would be a fantastic video)
~ Surrender - ELO (I can't listen to this one without dancing anyway, so I might as well make it official)
~ Westminster Bridge - Doctor Who season one soundtrack
~ What Is The Measure Of Your Success? - Steve Taylor (this one is a maybe).

If I wind up sticking with exactly that, that's one song every three days. It just might be doable. But in the meantime, I'll keep combing my music library for more potential tap pieces and the list might get a bit of an overhaul yet.

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