21 January 2016

Day Eighteen - National Choreography Month

Written 18 January 2016, 3.13pm.

This month I've actually done a lot of dances that I've meant to do for a very long time and simply never committed to. I've wanted to do On The Other Side since before I owned tap shoes, and both Westminster Bridge and Love Divine were basically in complete sketch form and all I had to do was finalise the details. If I did nothing else this month, I cleared out a backlog of dances that really should have been polished off months ago.

One bit of glad news is that the month of straight tap has been doing exactly what I hoped it would -- focusing on always, only tap for almost three weeks now has allowed the ballet side of my brain to recharge and now some ideas for ballet dances are starting to creep back in. As tempting as it is to jump on them immediately and include them in Nachmo, I'm making a conscious effort to let then percolate. I'll pick them up again in February.

So far this month I've completed five dances -- Surrender; Love Divine; Rattle Me, Shake Me; On The Other Side; and today I polished off Westminster Bridge. That leaves another five still on the original list. I don't think I'll actually get all of them done this month, but even what I have right now is a huge accomplishment. I think I did like five dances total in 2015 (okay, it was actually more than that, but it feels like I've done more in three weeks now than I did all of last year).

Since I covered the first three a bit, here are some (sort of) brief reflections on the outstanding two dances.

On The Other Side: For years this was in my head as a dance for six. I only choreographed one rhythm line this month but I'm thinking I might expand it for two or six at a later date. This is less 'logical' and building blocks-y than I usually choreograph my tap stuff. I'm enough of a novice that I still tend to work in terms like 'two sets of paradiddles,' or 'one set of shuffle-ball change.' I'm not brave enough to take one of this and another of that, mess with the rhythm, and shove them in six counts instead of eight. Knowing that, and in an attempt to make my (tap) choreography less stale, I intentionally made this piece more 'off-kilter' than I usually do. I put in some stuff from a tap dictionary that I had never done before in an attempt to force myself to learn something new on my own (I have a tendency to learn nothing outside of what we work on in class). This is also what one might call lyrical tap -- I tried not to be a slave to the lyric rhythm, but I also took some of my shading cues from the rhythm of the lyrics.

Westminster Bridge: I actually don't really remember much of this one because it literally took me like an hour and a half to write it. I seem to remember it not sucking, so it must not have been too bad. It's a trio, and I think this was the really fast one (there was a really fast one in here somewhere).

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