Ballet ChoreographyTips to spice up your Choreography (karma: 6)
By saffypc Comments: 495, member since Wed Aug 04, 2004
On Wed Aug 16, 2006 04:41 PM
So after replying on another board to a dancer who wanted to make an average student choerography better (or at least who thought their piece was just average student work) I thought that tips for just that-make a great piece instead of just an average piece, would really help and motivate some people here. So here it goes..
First of all: THE MUSIC: Find music that compliments you, but you can really add something to a ballet piece by choosing more contemporary pieces (if of course allowed). Keep an open mind and browse music from LOTS of different origins and genres-barnes and noble's website gives 30 second clips of songs, and most cd stores let you preview the music-although maybe it would be most helpful at home where you can even experiment dancing to the 30 second clip.
ADD LEVELS: levels, meaning high (jumps, leaps, etc. ) middle-standing or in plie and low-on the ground. Using a variety of levels can make your piece more interesting-Remember to blend them together so that they look natural - also high levels probably fit better for faster music-but if your piece is fairly slow and lyrical throughout releves w/ high leg position (arabesque, developpes, etc. ) can add variety
examples of props:top hat, chair, mirror, pole, scarf, detachable part of costume, just to give you an idea. The nutcracker is also a well-known example of a prop.
If you decide to use a prop make sure that you really integrate it into your dance-don't for example just place a chair in the center and then not use it or look it,etc. (unless the point is to avoid the chair)..this is an extreme example perhaps, but you get the idea
GIVE YOUR DANCE MEANING: give your dance a message or story behind (like most books have morals) This will make your dance more than just a series of steps, and will give you something to really tell your audience. Often, the music will lead into a particular message, but there are countless things to chose from. Before choreographing your actual piece try experimenting just w/ dancing to a particular emotion -sadness, happines, fear, anguish, regret, etc. These in themselves are enough to really add something to your dance although of coruse you can go further by mixing these emotins together to make a story-sadness becoming accpetance of death, happiness as one conquers their fears and thus feels liberated as a result, etc.
FOCUS: Where you are looking with your eyes can help to explain the message to your audience. For example if you are trying to find something-exploring one's attempt to find oneself's in one's surrounding, you can sybmbolize that with shifting eyes as though literally looking for something. Shifting eyes can show fear, uplifted eyes looking out and beyond the audience can show looking for something beyond. Play with this as much as you can, although of course in classical ballet there is a strict code of épaulment-so depending on how classical/technical your piece has to be (an audition piece for example should probably concenrate more so on classical technique whereas you will probally have more freedom with a performance piece)
SPACE: really experiment with space and how to use it or not to use it. Space can also add to your message (circles signifying repeating or being lost; straight line to the audience sginfiyiing courage or pride; lack of lines signifying confusion/ being lost). It is also possible to do a dance with very little movement. I've seen a piece done with the dancer sitting on a bench the entire time. You could use dancing in one place to signify confinment/isolation, and then within your dance have the dancer break from that isolation and move w/ confidence into straight lines
LIGHTING: If you can talk with whoever is doing the tech work or just make sure that they kow what you want. Experiment with spotlights and different colored lights instead of just the traditional house lights. Again this will add to the mood and message of your piece
Costumes: chose a costume that compliments your dancing and that adds to your mood. More unique costumes will bring interest to your dance (instead of the traditiona; black leotard & skirt or tutu). Once again, step beyond what you are normally comfortable w/ and experiment. If you don't like something try again. Just remember to give yourself plenty of time to pick out a good costume. You can also add to your costume or take from your costume during your dance (for example a white dress with a black cover signifying someone's good and bad sides. the black can be removed as they attempt to fight off their bad aspects, only to find more black underneath)
Some last tips:
-use your hair as a prop
-add stationary moments to your dance-posing in a particular emotional/importance pose for several seconds
-create a base for your dance and then move from there adding/subrtracting as you go
-always be open to changes as you see fit
-EXPERIMENT, EXPERIMENT, EXPERIMENT
-be open to new ideas both from yourself and others
-be creative - try to rid your mind of movements and let your imagination and the music make your dance
-and last of all be patient and don't give up hope
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