Sometimes I find it difficult to really explain how to put the pieces all together. Hopefully you’ve read some of my other postings on tools, foundation, etc., but how to bring everything together to create a performance start to finish is much more difficult for me to sit down and write. So, on the day following my Intro to Dance and Choreography workshop, I suddenly thought – “why not blog my newest creation, every step of the way”. No sugar coating, my plan is to include everything, warts and all. Note: this is the way I work, others create very differently. I believe there is always something to be gained by observing, asking, and evaluating for yourself.
So, for this performance, I will be creating a dance to the song Gin Wigmore’s Kill of the Night. I am creating this for a themed show and chose the character of the Riddler. For this show, I also have a special skill and chose “magic”. I thought that fit with Riddler’s love of riddles and puzzles, and hope to do something special during the dance.
Now, I had created a dance for this song for this show, but I scrapped it. I was completely unhappy with the direction I went in and I had limited myself too much. Back to the drawing board and a clean slate. The only thing that has survived is the costume and that I want to use 2 female dancers.
So I know my song, I know my character. My next step was purchasing the music, which I do through Amazon and download it. Unless I need a version I can’t buy, I like to buy the original music now for the best quality. Honestly the music is probably the least expensive part of this whole process.
I’m on the first step of the process – listening to the music over and over again, and creating my vision. The music has nice changes and love the snaps. This one is a bit of a challenge for me. I selected this song from a list of songs that fit the show theme, but it’s not one that I would’ve picked for myself. I do like it – and when I really dig in I think I could have a lot of fun with it. I try to create dances that are “keepers” – that I will perform later at other venues. To me, there’s too much effort in creating a dance to only ever use it once or twice and retire permanently.
For this music, the audience can relate, there’s a story behind it, great transitions and changes in the music, and I think I can handle listening to it 500+ times…which is a definite when creating a dance. <puts a checkmark on good music choice>
Because I edit music, I also listen to it to see if I need to add or change anything, sometimes a sound effect, sometimes I extend a section, or add something at the end. I love sound effects from youtube and use Audacity to do it. This isn’t required of course, and many choreographers don’t, but something you may want to try someday. Sometimes it’s when I really get creating that I decide to add something – like a pause when I open a magic door, the sound of knives sticking in the floor, an evil laugh….
Ok, that being said, back to the music. This will be one where I may print out the lyrics and make notes, or I’ve been using Troff – Training with music. This is available for Chrome and let’s you add markers on the time line and easily play sections between markers. Paper and pencil works great, but for me, using Troff I feel has taken my creativity to the next level. Seb Bourne introduced me to it and wrote an amazing blog post: https://harleyquinadventure.com/2017/10/17/troff-chrome-app/
If you’re just starting out, keep it simple. Don’t overwhelm yourself with tools. I’ve been dancing for years and only learned Troff a few months ago.
OK…I’m listening now…and closing my eyes. It’s a good thing I’m a good typer! I’m letting the music wash over me, the nuances of the singing, the drum beats, the instruments, and the changes. What do I feel…see in my head…is the story starting to evolve?
This is where this song is a challenge, the pictures aren’t coming to me clearly. I do know I want to be very fierce, I am the Riddler after all. What will be my setting?
For the venue I’ll be performing at, I’ll be pushing myself to do new things, and at this phase I’m brainstorming. I write down all my ideas, and generally as I create I toss out half, use some, and change the rest.
Music edits – I think I’d like to add just a little bit to the front end so that I have a couple seconds of pause for a pose, then move into a snapping animation (need to find one of those). During the snapping, I see myself moving forward, dancing solo. I think my 2 dancers will come along on the side and keep up with the snapping. I don’t think I’ll be snapping myself. Dramatic expressive animations, hit “boom boom boom of my heart” with an animation. I’d like to add a dramatic sound effect at the end, to hit a strong pose. Right now the music kind of fades off.
Before I dig too deep into specifics, I still need a rough concept of the set/dancing area, and the general story of the dance/how I interact with the other dancers. I’d like to “interact” with the audience. In this song, I’d like the audience to feel I’m singing directly to them, an “in your face” kind of thing. This means I’ll be doing most of my dancing forward stage – closer to the audience. I’d like my two dancers to use more of the dance floor than I do, and possibly disappear and reappear for some reason…
Welcome inside my crazy head…it’s a scary place in there….
Please watch for installment 2…
Yours in dance,