21 January 2016

Day Twenty - National Choreography Month

So after doing pretty much nothing for the entire second week, I went on a huge tear and choreographed three dances in two days. Two of them I covered in the previous post (Day 18), but then I started and finished another tap solo: Lecrae's Chase That. (This is what I meant when I said it was totally feasible for me to catch up on a three-days-per-piece timeline in the space of several days.)

Out of all the projects I had planned for this month, this one probably scared me the most (with the possible exception of Rattle Me, Shake Me), just because of the sheer volume of content in the song. Of course, being a rap song, it's packed with words, but that also means it's packed with rhythm and it covers a LOT of ground lyrically. Rap, as an art form, is adept at blending metaphors and imagery, using pivot words to take you from one mental image to another (this is also what I love about the songwriting of Steve Taylor), which kind of stretches your brain -- as it's supposed to. But it's also tricky for a choreographer like me who likes to match the mood of the movement to the mood of the lyrics. The music, being a canned beat (as is traditional with rap), isn't much help mood-wise either -- it's more or less the same loop for the entire song.

(Incidentally, this is why I'm not as into rap as I could be -- I love the style of lyric-writing, but it always kills me a little bit how uncreative the musical arrangements tend to be. Lecrae has been known to use violins -- Chase That is one such track, in fact -- and seriously that makes a huge difference, but as far as I know, he's the only one seriously experimenting in musical terms. That said, I realise that the main point in rap is the lyrical prowess and it would be difficult to keep a great arrangement from overshadowing the lyrics. It'll be really interesting to see how the genre develops and matures over the next twenty years or so as future rappers build on the work of artists like Lecrae.)

Anyway... the dance: Actually, I've done so much choreography in the past three days that I'm not too clear on which one this was. But out of all the musical climaxes I've tried to choreograph in various disciplines over the past four years or so, this was one of the ones I think I actually managed to capture in motion. I'm actually very proud of myself, particularly as tap isn't my first dance language. I'm noticing, too, that I'm getting better at this pacing thing -- not overusing things as much and thereby killing the climax when I use the overdone genius idea yet again (after putting it in every chorus).

This piece was intentionally a solo. Although my relationship with God is not great right now, this has always been my goal in my art -- to glorify God. And even though I've spent the last two days (in particular; the past year in general) mostly lashing out in fury that God isn't listening to me, there's a tiny part of me that still wants to give God the glory in my art. There's still a little piece that wants to chase His glory and not mine, and the chorus of this song is kind of an adopted mission statement (the story in the verses, obviously, bears little resemblance to my own story).

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