The musings, documented chaos and love notes from us to you
Choreography is the steps, movement or specific way a dancer is set to move through a dance. The steps given are created by the teacher, taught to the students, memorized and 'cleaned' by the group for a seamless performance.
The balancing act of choreography is a difficult process. Dancers must be challenged, too easy or repetitive and they get bored or lose interest. To difficult and they get discouraged, frustrated and give up. To plain jane and the audience falls asleep.
The world of hip hop and even jazz can become to provocative quickly, and keeping true to the style choreography is a must. We strive to never give dancers things like twerking to preserve their innocence and protect them from the outside world.
So how is it decided? How do teachers plan out each little moment to create a dance that the students love while performing & 'keep it fair'?
#1. We know our stuff. We have many styles, techniques and classes under our belts. We can adjust, alter and tailor choreography to fit our group of students at the time. We contemplate style, class size, song length, skills already taught and ones coming up in our syllabus, etc before setting choreography on dancers.
#2. We know our dancers. We carefully watch dancers muscle control, placement, jumps, leaps, turns, attitude, work ethic and potential during class. Some kids may be ready for triple turns and others are not yet doing doubles. This is OK! They all move at a different pace and teachers give them what they can handle.
#3. Why is SHE ALWAYS in the front? This is one every dance teacher HATES hearing. The dancer/ parent asking is doing a few things (maybe unintentionally) when asked this.
These questions do the following
-They are challenging the teachers authority
-They are not trusting the teacher. Teachers always have the best for ALL the kids in mind.
-They are ruining the joy of seeing dreamt of choreography come to light.
These questions are the equivalent of yelling at an umpire during a baseball game. The ump made the call, it's his job. We made the dance, it's our job. Some dancers may see this as unfair. The good news is everyone gets a turn front and center eventually. But that spot is earned with great technique and HARD work. There is nowhere to hide on the dance floor, all dancers are seen!
#4. We LISTEN to the music on repeat. Nonstop. My husband knows all the words and the cuts of music for all my songs. Earbuds are not my thing, I want to feel the music around me. So all road trips are a nonstop recital playlist. All The Time!
#5. We DANCE. There are hours of dancing done before students come in to create these routines. Some teachers set the piece while kids are in front of them and others create the whole thing start to finish prior to the class beginning.
#6. We STRESS, then clean. We teach and watch the dancers, sometimes it was different in our heads. The whole piece can change by adding or taking away one little dancer! So we count, make sure the dancers know it WELL, and polish it. Then we change it and polish it again. This is called cleaning. It is typically the least favorite part of all dancers and teachers. It is nit picky but wholly necessary.
#7. We Watch. We go to performances, reminding dancers to make those 3 minutes count and love being on that stage. We feel so proud of our creativity, our dancers hard work and how the whole thing always comes together.
#8. We begin again. Recital planning for the following year is already under way before this years recital has taken place. We start throwing around ideas and a feel for the whole show or each piece, beginning choreography the week after recital!