Archive for March, 2016

Choreography tips – Part 3

Friday, March 4th, 2016

Hit a brick wall with choreography?

Need some tips?

Read on for my final set of choreo tips that will help ANYONE produce great quality choreography quickly, effortlessly and with amazing results!

  1. Change the world! No really! Go at your choreo thinking really big! My most recent piece of choreo aims to make a powerful statement about our studios ethos on bullying. It doesn’t aim to fill 4 minutes of music and maybe win a competition or two. All it Takes 2008 was created to make dance more accessible to guys in our region. We now have a ridiculously high percentage of male dancers in our studio. We didn’t choreograph it to win awards (although it did that too!). Think big! You may have to compromise at some point in the process, but begin with the thought of changing the world! Even if you don’t succeed that’s fine – your choreo will be a million times better for aiming high!
  2. Dance more think less. This should be a mantra for life, not just choreography! Students (and teachers) I’ve worked with over the years who consistently produce interesting, musical choreography (and freestyles/improv) really get this. Put on your music.  Just dance.  The end. If something great comes out of your feet, great – that goes in your choreo. If not, put on your music, just dance……..and so on! Just keep dancing more, thinking less, until you have enough great stuff to put together to create your piece.  (Now you see why I asked you to pick music you love, cos you’ll be hearing it a LOT!)
  3. Students always ask how long a dance can be.  We can give you guidelines of course but the only real answer is “short enough that it’s still entertaining”.  If your piece is longer than three minutes try using the Golden Mean. Create a major contrast 60 to 70 percent through your choreo and just see the effect it has on your audience!
  4. Consider your costume. It shouldn’t matter.  But it does. Dance is a visual art form so we can’t help but view the whole package. Costume can enhance your choreo in so many ways – maybe the colours highlight the emotions or characters in a piece. (Think about the two teams in All it Takes 2015 – would the division of who was on which team be as clear for the audience if the sleeves of the costumes hadn’t been different colours?) Maybe the costume will affect the movements you create – think about the phantoms! The costume covered their eyes to aid them moving in a ‘sightless’ way. Even if your piece doesn’t have a strong concept, you’ll perform better if you wear something you feel like a million bucks in. Try filming yourself performing your choreo first in your pyjamas, then your dance kit, then your costume/clothes you love if you don’t believe it’ll make a difference to how well you dance!

Feeling inspired? Tomorrow we’re holding Dancewise Studios annual choreography competition at Hanger Farm in Totton. It’s not too late to enter!  Email us or call 023 8001 9845 for more info or to enter.

Choreography Tips – Part 2

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Hit a brick wall with choreography?

Need some tips?

Read on for my second set of choreo tips that will help ANYONE produce great quality choreography quickly, effortlessly and with amazing results!

  1. Use the space! Make sure you use all of the space on the stage. Particularly strong points are centre stage (downstage centre, dead centre and upstage centre) and the four corners (downstage left, upstage left, downstage right, upstage right). So if you have special moments in your dance, or for a starting or finishing position, make sure you do it on one of these hotspots. It will be way more effective (your audience won’t know why it hits them harder but it will!! Ninja skills!). I hate to say it, but if you plan to die in your piece (!) do it upstage centre – this is known as the ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ position – THE most powerful space to die onstage. Ever! If you’re working in a duet, trio or group, make sure you have lots of transitions and formation changes to keep changing it up for your audience. This will keep them interested.
  2. Take a chance! Got stuck? Don’t be! Try chance choreography. This method was devised by Merce Cunningham, one of the most influential choreographers and teachers of the 20th century. It uses chance to help generate the choreography which means you often come up with stuff that’s much more exciting and unexpected than your regular choreo. There are lots of ways to do this but for example, try allocating movements/movement concepts/spatial concepts to the six numbers on a dice then roll the dice to build sequences. Interested? click here
  3. Keep. Making. Decisions. Just keep going! Survival specialist Bear Grylls says just keep making decisions. And the same is true for choreography. Don’t second guess it, don’t review, don’t over-analyse – just keep making decisions until you finish your piece. THEN if you want to review and improve it, go for it but ONLY once the piece is finished. Otherwise you may never get past the first phrase. I always say “run it up the flagpole, see if anyone salutes!”. In other words, have a bash, see what happens, if it’s not effective then by all means change it, but don’t pursue perfection until you have something to perfect. Done is better than perfect!

Check back soon for the next round of tips!

Feeling inspired? This coming Saturday we’re holding Dancewise Studios annual choreography competition at Hanger Farm in Totton. It’s not too late to enter! Email us or call 023 8001 9845 for more info or to enter.

Choreography Tips – part 1

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

Hit a brick wall with choreography?

Need some tips?

Read on for how ANYONE can produce great quality choreography quickly, effortlessly and with amazing results!

  1. Do something that inspires you! If you love a piece of music, have a favourite dance style, love a particular costume, want to explore working with a certain prop………DO THAT! It sounds obvious but so many people get tied up in what other people will think – your choreo is your chance to do what YOU want – so do it! (And if you find you keep getting ‘stuck’ on your choreo, try changing music/style/prop etc and I guarantee it’ll start to flow.
  2. Have a hook! No I don’t mean instead of a hand – I mean try and do something with a concept, story or theme. Being brutally honest, if you try and do just great choreo for the sake of it, you’re going to have to REALLY go some to be remembered. imageThink about the dances you remember from last years show – for me, Mr Ts Lockerdile routine and Miss A’s Irish dancing liquorice allsorts come to mind. But why?  Because they had a hook, a concept, something that made them more than a locking routine or an Irish dance. This made them memorable.
  3. Choose things you/your dancers can do well. No-one cares if you can ‘nearly walkover’ – just use stuff you know you can do brilliantly. Do it musically, do it with style, do it with your own flava but simple done well will ALWAYS look better than something complex that you almost pull off.

Check back soon for the next round of tips!

imageFeeling inspired? This coming Saturday we’re holding Dancewise Studios annual choreography competition at Hanger Farm in Totton. It’s not too late to enter! Email info@dancewisestudios.com
or call 023 8001 9845 for more info or to enter.