We are now in a situation where we're all stuck at home and looking for new ways to pass the time. Why not use now as a chance to dabble in choreography?
At VyMy Dance, we provide a platform for our students to perform dances they have created in their spare time. One of my favourite parts about our shows is seeing those dances blossom from their first sharing up to their debut on the stage.
During class, us teachers give a lot of tips to help them develop their dance pieces, so I thought it would be a good idea to bring it all together for a one-stop guide to creating a dance. Of course, this post is only a toe-dip into the pool of possibilities, and all dances have room for improvement (yes, even mine!). So consider this a springboard to help get that creativity flowing.
If you’re using music, this is a great way to get started. Have a listen to the song you’re using- what are the words? What instruments are being used? Is it a happy song or a sad song? Does it have a strong beat? The right moves can bring a song to life on stage, so make sure your dance steps reflect the feel of the music. And always remember that music without lyrics is still music and should be used! If you’re using stillness, use it wisely- you don’t want to look like you’re waiting for the next words.
This is especially important if it’s just you onstage. It’s likely your performance space will be very big, so use this well (however, if you're creating in a small space, be mindful of this!). Travel across the space in your dance- you can use walks, skips, leaps, turns and even rolls! And don’t forget your vertical space- stretch up to the ceiling, go down to the floor, experiment with different body positions.
If you are in a duet or a group, also think about spacing and formations- what will look interesting or tell your story better? Will you change formations during the dance and, if so, how? If not, why?
Beginning and Ending
Every dance needs a strong beginning so the audience is captured right away. Decide whether you want to start on or offstage. If you’re onstage, you will need a strong starting position- this is to signal your dance has started, both for the audience and whoever is controlling the music! It will also set the mood for your dance, so make it fit with the rest of your work.
A finishing position is also very important- it means we know your dance is done! Nothing looks as incomplete as a dance finishing with a break of character and a sheepish “that’s it” before dashing off into the wings! You will also need to decide whether you’re finishing onstage or if you’re walking off- whichever you choose, it must be strong and a clear way of signalling to your audience that the dance has ended.
Those of you who are in my classes will be used to me saying “face the front!”. It’s true, facing the front for your dance can be very important, especially if you have smaller details with your hands or face- we can’t see them if you’re facing the other way!
However, it can add variety to your dance if you perform some parts facing the back or the sides- I also love a good diagonal (when you face a corner). Mix it up, see what works!
Yes, dance is mostly about the body… but your face is part of that! When I was young, I sometimes forgot about my face entirely, which resulted in some very bizarre photos where my mouth was hanging open like a goldfish! So think about the mood of your dance and use your face to show it- if it’s a happy dance, I want to see those smiles. If it’s cheeky, let’s see some winks! If it’s sad, show us how sad you are. Remember, you’re not just showing us your dancing talents, you’re telling us a story too.
Just some things to think about when you create your dances, have fun creating.
And for those of you looking for some classes on dance creation, look no further! We have an online class for this already- click here to get started!