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Posted: Okay so hopefully this is the right forum and right place to discuss this. I searched and couldn't find a thread specifically on the how to's of choreographing a routine.
In the past I really didn't have much interest in a set routine, but after viewing certain routines that, to my view, must have been choreographed, and also looking at the difference between free-form and choreographed movements, I've decided to undertake a choreographed routine. I mean just looking at some of yuta's videos, obviously he's not just a great spinner, but there is a great organization to the movements that you don't see in free-form dancing. Also, part of this inspiration came out of a conversation I had with a gentleman who helps ice skaters choreograph performances (talking olympic level athletes).
Based on the conversation I had which spurred this, what I personally have done is just started a text file on my computer, and just started typing out moves to flow from one to another, thinking about how it would look in my head, and kind of working it out. (This routine is for me solo.) I made a list that I think will take up about 4 minutes or so. I then printed it out, and next time I went outside just put the list in my pocket and started working on move-to-move. I didn't think of a song to do this with, I'm searching for a song that might fit what I'm trying to do. And currently I'm working on getting the routine down, and it's a helluva lot harder than I thought.
However, I think it would be instructional for myself and any others who have absolutely zero dance training, if anyone who knows about choreography would chime in with some tips or guidelines on how to go about choreographing a routine.
So I was wondering: What do those of you who do choreographed routines do, how do create your routines, what is the mindset, how do you organize the routine, how do you practice, etc.?
Posted: I agree with you about how hard it actually is to choreogroph. I just started doing my solo performance. Its taking me longer than i thought...and im using different tools for 3 different songs. The poi part is the hardest so far I have a little bit of dance background so i know how to move and flow but to decide when to do which moves and combinations etc, took me a while to get perfect. I first found the song and listened to it quite alot. Then, split the song in pieces so you first work on the start of your routine and the middle bit and the finale. Then I wrote down what sort of moves i wanted to do and when, then i kept doing it with the music over and over again until i memorised everything. It will probably take me a month to finish my 12 minute solo... So I think the key is to split the song and keep working on little bits of it then you move on to the other bit of the song and the moves etc. Hope this helps....
Posted: I agree on the little bits thing. It's actually a good way to learn any performance, because you can focus more, and once you do it all right in pieces it's a little easier to put them together.
So far we've managed to dump this whole "intuitive choreography" ...for lack of a better description, idea that we'd been working on in favour of a more traditional approach where we actually count out beats so we can sync our timing and get everything working properly.
Part of that creative stress in previously mentioned involved "it just sort of happening, naturally " which I failed to understand ( 'cause it's wrong ) so now we're trying to do everything conventionally and working on being more organised.
One thing we've been doing s dividing the stage right down the middle,into the right and left sides with a visible center point ( yesterday it was a squished coffee cup ) that we can all see and use to assure that we're all in a symmetrical formation. We're hesitant to mark out a defined stage area as experience has shown that stage sizes vary dramatically...we're never really sure just how much room we're going to have.
heck, a couple of years ago, we were given this elevated, munchkin sized stage that we pretty much had to shuffle around, lest we make that step that puts puts someone on the ground.
The breaking everything into little bits idea is working and working on strengthening the weak bits , like getting rid of awkward transitions and freaky moves ( BF -> CS , works OK on a big stage where you can fling the poi into a turn to smooth it out but a potential disaster in close proximity...no, I didn't write that one ) and working on the overall flow of the whole piece.
We're going to leave the music idea until the new year.
Those things smoothe out in time, the nerves and bumps and such.
The stage sizing can be an issue but it can also be easily solved. In my contract/agreements I have that I need a certain stage size (which also is required by my insurance). Then everything is choreographed to that size stage. That way if we get bigger staging...BONUS! And if not, at least I know we can work fluidly with what we're given.
Let me know how polling the audience goes! I am sure you'll get some really interesting suggestions. lol
I love Mock Performances. They are so great for working the kinks out and getting everyone out of the silliness of rehearsals.
I can't wait to hear how it goes when it's "live"!
Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir "Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall "And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK
Nervous guy is coming along quite well, seems it's more to do with lacking a "warm up burn" than actually being up on stage.
We're all on the same page now with stage sizing, citing safety ( and fuel spray ( no matter how well you spin off beforehand, there's still *some* wayward drops ) Most times, we get to pick our own stage size, like in fields and parking lots, and we've made some stanchions to hold up the barrier rope which is way more effective than simply laying the rope on the ground like we did in the past. A minimum performance area is now going to be a part of the negotiations and we have an idea of just how much space we need to perform in as it's fixed now, as opposed to variable like it has in the past. A 15 foot buffer zone separating the audience from the performance area is going to be standard.
So far, nothing "useful" has come out of performing the audience, they all seem to like everything we do But we'll keep it up.
Since my last post, we've performed the show 4 times, there's been a few glitches, mostly concerning timing and speed. I know the excitement of performing in front of an audience tends to speed me up a little, so we'll keep those audio cues ( woot ) until we don't feel they're necessary any more.
We did a show on Halloween, for free, in exchange for a really awesome deal on a good sized high ceilinged room ( yep, you can throw a staff between the light fixtures ) once a week, for pretty much as long as we want it. We're thinking having a one hour practice session as a group, then opening up the rest of the time for an everyone welcome free form knowledge sharing jam session with fire spinning outside. This will pretty much force us to make more effective use of our rehersal time.
newgabeSILVER Member what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls. 4,030 posts Location: Bali, Australia
Posted: ONe issue with group choreo is that people naturally move in slightly different ways eg their levels of extension, their stance, their feeling of what is the 'finish' of a move. It can be good to do mirroring exercises with each other independent of the choreo, to get people matching and synching their bodies. And there is nothing like filming and watching to see where the little non-synchs are. ANd lots and lots and lots and lots of practice so the actual moves are so ingrained that the attention can be on exact synching. THat can be a time people feel insecure or get defensive so always make sure you congratulate yourselves on what is good!
Good idea to have the time limited rehearsal too so you really focus.
.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....
Posted: On that, newgabe... if theres a little bit of a solo component, I think small differences add a really nice touch. It means each performer has their own unique style... so when they get to their solo component of the performance that really shows and after that, the audience can spot that style coming through... if its EXACTLY the same while it does look nice it can mean that it looks a little mechanical.
I'd say getting a good mix of the two is what ye be after.
I hear you on the different ways people move and we've taken a rather loose approach when it comes too individual stances etc. in the past but our artistic director wants to tighten all that up so it looks like we're functioning more like a single organism than individuals all doing the same move.
It's a topic we've been putting effort into over the past couple of weeks and we've come to an agreement as to just how, we're all going to move when we move from one position to the next. Previously, we didn't really pay attention to footwork in the way that we should have, concentrating more on syncing up timing of the toys instead. We've only recently acknowledged that we all have different views of when a move is finished ( in split time ) and we're making progress on that front too
Yea, effective use of rehearsal time, that's always been an issue too. Three hours of rehearsal time that only actually amounts to half an hour of productivity, that's got to end if we want to put together a show in a reasonable amount of time. I'm also thinking that we should spend time practicing our individual parts on our own, treating them like one giant combo ( or a solo act ) then when we reconvene as a group, we can share "discoveries" that we've made and possibly enact them as changes or tweaks.
I hear you on the mechanical aspect, but we're hoping to counteract that "feel" by concentrating more on facial expressions than we have in the past. I'm using Flame Oz ant their wonderful grasp of facial expressions as a reference for this concept ( ditto Yuta ) and although I'm slowly "getting it" ( as in putting more conscious effort both performing and during rehearsals ) it's proving to be a rather tough sell to a couple of our group members. Upthread, I mentioned nervous guy , but we also have demotivated guy which is something I'll probably take on as a project once I figure out the best approach.
Posted: I'm curious what people use as notation for music?
I'm trying to figure out a routine for my Dad's birthday, having never really got beyond freestyle messing around before- I tend to forget every move I know when faced with a crowd, but should be OK if I have an actual plan.
I'm.. sort of.. working out a way of writing it down that makes sense to me if no one else, but it's a bit confusing, so I'm wondering if anyone knows of any good tips/techniques? It's all OK at the start, but trying to distinguish between repetitions of slightly different lines.. I keep getting muddled.
Posted: Notation for music? I'd lsiten to the track, and indentify key parts of it as 'timing points'.
Use each timing point to start a new trick or part of the routine.
The easiest type of choreography is a mix of planned routines with a bit of freestyle at the end until the next 'timing point' starts the next routine.
Easy to learn, and building in some freestyle 'length' inot the track allows for mishaps or routine changes mid-track as well.
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astonSILVER Member Unofficial Chairperson of Squirrel Defense League 4,061 posts Location: South Africa
Posted: For the routine I am putting together (need it in a couple days... eek....) I have done just that. Taken key times in the song and said that these are the sort of moves that I will do.
That way I do not have to learn the actual routine as such. Useful since I have no real memory for that....
'We're all mad here. I'm mad, you're mad." [said the Cat.] "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "Or you wouldn't have come here." - Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland