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Forums > Expressive movement / costumes and props > Choreography fundamental building techniques

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EpitomeOfNovice
EpitomeOfNovice

Putting the "FUN" in fundamental since 1981
Location: Dover, Delaware USA
Member Since: 15th Sep 2009
Total posts: 787
Posted:I'm looking to move on to the next step in poi and staff, taking the things I know how to do (almost all beginner tricks and some intermediate) and putting them together seamlessly into a routine involving some dance/interpretive movement. The part I'm hung up on is how to choreograph a routine and keep it consistent. I'm a veteran dancer and musician, but have always learned someone else's piece (then practiced until perfect for performances being that is how classes/workshops/competitions work)and have never made my own from scratch let alone adding a element like poi or staff. I'm an uberbeginner when it comes to this part of the process, as green as it gets,so...

What are some of the things ordinarily done to step away from freestyle and actually build a countable and editable poi routine? Is there a way of documenting it like in a journal/storyboard format and is there a time signature spinning is assigned similar to composing music? Also is there an equation to altering a routine made for one song to another if there is a great change in BPM/time signature between the two (I'm a DJ and can also play bass guitar and percussion so using musical definitions is most helpful if you can, if not it's all good just be as descriptive as possible).

I think working on set choreography will help with my confidence issues especially when it comes to using fire where my biggest worry is a freestyle lack of direction that can end in my brain just freezing. Can't wait to hear some advice on this part of the creative process, thanks much in advance as always! peace


~Rock on!~

"As the pattern gets more intricate and subtle, being swept along is no longer enough"-Waking Life

(All you RLers this is epitome_of_lame *waves hello*)

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Sister Eleven
Sister Eleven

owner of the group property
Location: Seattle, WA
Member Since: 3rd Aug 2009
Total posts: 1277
Posted:There have been similar threads, and I think the thrust of the advice in those cases ended up being, when working with a particular piece of music, to identify important phrases and transitions, and to play around with matching phrases of spinning. So, obvious, but maybe a little unhelpful.

Me, I'm solving this problem the way I solve most of life's challenges: I'm finding a book on it tongue2 I'll let you know if I find what I get helpful. I'm totally not a dancer, so if it helps me it has to work twice as well for you... Or something.


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EpitomeOfNovice
EpitomeOfNovice

Putting the "FUN" in fundamental since 1981
Location: Dover, Delaware USA
Member Since: 15th Sep 2009
Total posts: 787
Posted:Originally Posted By: Sister ElevenMe, I'm solving this problem the way I solve most of life's challenges: I'm finding a book on it tongue2 I'll let you know if I find what I get helpful. I'm totally not a dancer, so if it helps me it has to work twice as well for you... Or something.

Definitely let me know, it's times like these I wish I had been a dance major in college so I would know these parts! Of course I didn't think it was a rational thing to do at the time, but a good book reference will suit me fine for my purposes! Thanks!

I actually did a search and there were no similar threads, especially about the core fundamentals of choreography documentation and building. I may have to find some dance resources and post them up here considering those guidelines are pretty clear cut and taught in different methods, they would just have to be suitable for including a prop (in theory). *thinks outside the box*


~Rock on!~

"As the pattern gets more intricate and subtle, being swept along is no longer enough"-Waking Life

(All you RLers this is epitome_of_lame *waves hello*)

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SpinnerofDetroit
SpinnerofDetroit

All High Dude, Ruler of What You Want
Location: Trenton, MI, USA
Member Since: 25th Oct 2009
Total posts: 2280
Posted:What I was told and what I do is just come up with certain moves/transitions you want to do in key parts of the song and just hit those. My favorite thing to do depends on the song, for certain songs I prefer to let myself loose. That I find is actually a really good way to come up with things to do. Record yourself multiple times to what song you want to do and when you see something you like, put that in your list of things to do.

The only luck is bad luck.

Shut up before I stall my poi up your ass grin

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Sister Eleven
Sister Eleven

owner of the group property
Location: Seattle, WA
Member Since: 3rd Aug 2009
Total posts: 1277
Posted:The book I'm trying first uses improvisation as the foundation for choreographing, which had an intuitive appeal. One of my favorite pieces of music right now is Roustabout by Beats Antique, and for one part of the song I always shorten my poi and do rapid stall sequences to the beat. If I were going to choreograph to the piece I would certainly take this inclination as a starting point for how to use that part of the song.

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brenonfire413
brenonfire413

Fire Spinner Exarch
Location: New Orleans, LA United States
Member Since: 22nd Dec 2009
Total posts: 514
Posted:Good thread. Yeah I have absolutely zero ability with dancing, coordination or choreography. Basically before poi dancing for me equaled mosh pits lol. Considering you have previous dance and performance experience, EoN, you can probably tell us a thing or two! My goal for the time being is to improve foot work to ne more light and springy. I've always been a fairly nimble, dexterous person and should capitalize on this natural predisposition. At this point in poi however, when I'm spinning I basically tune out everything else and get lost in the flow of the fire! It is very freestyle but slowly moving in a direction better suited to choreography.

"Are you sure it's safe to drink bleach?"
"Yes, bleach is 90% water, we are 90% water, therefore: we are bleach."
-Nathan Explosion, Metalocalypse

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SpinnerofDetroit
SpinnerofDetroit

All High Dude, Ruler of What You Want
Location: Trenton, MI, USA
Member Since: 25th Oct 2009
Total posts: 2280
Posted:If you want to know how I learned to flow well, other than practicing to my favorite songs, I took a couple other performances and tried to copy them to practice transitions and flow in general. After a certain point I just didn't have to do it anymore and felt no need to do it. Now I'm working on own not really choreography, but a general look of my routine to some songs.

The only luck is bad luck.

Shut up before I stall my poi up your ass grin

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EpitomeOfNovice
EpitomeOfNovice

Putting the "FUN" in fundamental since 1981
Location: Dover, Delaware USA
Member Since: 15th Sep 2009
Total posts: 787
Posted:I suppose what I'm trying to work out is how one documents a hard-copy and assigns signatures just like dance choreography, but taking into account poi rotations on top of dance steps.

Anyone with documentation advise (I know just a typical modern dance choreography for about 90 seconds takes weeks to document, edit, and have teachable/learnable) to include rotations/moves in with steps, expressions, and positions feel free to pop them in here while I experiment and I'll keep updating what progress I make. smile


~Rock on!~

"As the pattern gets more intricate and subtle, being swept along is no longer enough"-Waking Life

(All you RLers this is epitome_of_lame *waves hello*)

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SpinnerofDetroit
SpinnerofDetroit

All High Dude, Ruler of What You Want
Location: Trenton, MI, USA
Member Since: 25th Oct 2009
Total posts: 2280
Posted:No idea how to do that. I'd imagine it would be much easier with shorthand. You'd probably have to mention the amount of beats, clockwise or counter-clockwise, name of move or whatever.

The only luck is bad luck.

Shut up before I stall my poi up your ass grin

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Sister Eleven
Sister Eleven

owner of the group property
Location: Seattle, WA
Member Since: 3rd Aug 2009
Total posts: 1277
Posted:Yeah, I've heard documenting ballet is easy because it's made up of rigid steps, but how you could document something more open is a pretty daunting question. I'll see what my book has to say, but I think left on my own I would document the choreography through video tongue2 No room to misinterpret my crappy notation that way.

Figuring out a concise notation for the poi seems like you would need to have a pretty good poi theory at hand that you could describe most motions in terms of. I would try describing them in terms of beats and half beats at points in the music, and then in terms of driving style and proportion (Drex ruled out driving style as the basis of hybrids because they appear to fall on a continuum, but in this case that might actually be handy). Further, I would treat each hand as its own "track". But it's hard to say how that would pan out.


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leospoi
leospoi

Poi explorer
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Member Since: 2nd Feb 2008
Total posts: 108
Posted:It is actually hard to mentally keep track of each beat or driving style with each poi. It is much easier to think in terms of elements and transitions, and how each one relates to the various components of the specific music you're planning to use.

The more you can conceptualize and visualize each element with the music, the less poi notation you have to interpret and memorize.

Once you have an idea of the elements and transitions you want to include, then write them down along with the time stamp of the music. Spend some time doing this list so that you can stick with it and only need to make minor changes as you practice. Also, always practice the transitions you're having the most trouble with, and don't include elements you're not comfortable doing with fire.

On more advanced poi levels, body movement is intrinsically linked to each element; not only arm movement and positioning, but footwork, orientation and displacement can be used in unison with a poi move.

You can however choose to move around quite freely with short enough poi and keeping them separate, though this doesn't look that good. Staff is easier to work with in this regard since complete control is easy to achieve.

As for doing the same routine with slower or faster music, this is a challenge for poi since there's a minimum speed you have to use to keep it spinning properly.


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SpinnerofDetroit
SpinnerofDetroit

All High Dude, Ruler of What You Want
Location: Trenton, MI, USA
Member Since: 25th Oct 2009
Total posts: 2280
Posted:I personally think that if you're writing it for yourself and you know your own poi terminology, whatever you call things. Than you can just put down the name of the move and pretty much know what you mean because you wrote it and should know what you're talking about and want to happen.

The only luck is bad luck.

Shut up before I stall my poi up your ass grin

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Sister Eleven
Sister Eleven

owner of the group property
Location: Seattle, WA
Member Since: 3rd Aug 2009
Total posts: 1277
Posted:Book 1: The Intimate Act of Choreography, Blom & Chaplin.
Check on general aesthetic concerns of posture, timing, emphasis, phrasing, etc., and some exercises to play around with these. Pretty broad in its coverage. Non-check on documenting the results, save in a rough kind of way in chapter 11; the coverage there is relating phrases of the dance to phrases in the music, but this assumes that you'll know what these phrases are.

I think it's worth a read (and it's not that expensive), but for the most part I think you could figure out the bulk of the main points by playing around with your movements.

SoD: You'd be surprised at what I can forget if I don't write it down tongue2 (No, seriously; I'm the only person I know who can't recall the name of a single one of their elementary, middle, or high school teachers; I may have had a Mr. Thompson, but I can't remember when or what he would have taught.)

Assuming I'm not going to be doing the routine at least once a week out of habit, it might be nice to have a way of revisiting it a few months, maybe a couple of years, down the line. And while I could probably write all the poi stuff just fine, the body movements are something I would have a hard time with.

EDIT: These look promising if you feel like a substantial research project-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labanotation
br>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benesh_Movement_Notation

and more generally, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choreographic_notation
(though the above two struck me as interesting because of the nods to uses outside of dance)

As for poi notation, I think you'll have to be a pioneer.

EDITED_BY: Sister Eleven (1272567937)
EDIT_REASON: See the blob of URLs


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EpitomeOfNovice
EpitomeOfNovice

Putting the "FUN" in fundamental since 1981
Location: Dover, Delaware USA
Member Since: 15th Sep 2009
Total posts: 787
Posted:I'm liking the notation links, I forget stuff if I don't write it down too and I just remembered from learning choreography to perform it's broken down into combinations and those combinations are linked together so counts are easier and learning a hang up part doesn't have you starting from the top each time. I just worked out my first formally choreographed poi combination that is repeatable and teachable! I call it the reel alternate slide, but facepage is doing maintenance so I can't upload it yet. It has foot work, transitions, formal counts and ability to repeat and reverse. Keep an eye out for my upload, as it will go up as soon as I can for you guys who have friended me on there.

I have some written equations and pictographs with a written walkthrough of this combo I just made as well, but I'm trying to perfect the notation into it's own form of shorthand. That's is my progress so far! Your links helped get my head a churning so thanks much! I'll update again when I have more worked out.


~Rock on!~

"As the pattern gets more intricate and subtle, being swept along is no longer enough"-Waking Life

(All you RLers this is epitome_of_lame *waves hello*)

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EpitomeOfNovice
EpitomeOfNovice

Putting the "FUN" in fundamental since 1981
Location: Dover, Delaware USA
Member Since: 15th Sep 2009
Total posts: 787
Posted:Videos of my combos are up now on my facepage in all of the stages of the process in getting the Reel Alternate Slide. I'll be working out some other combos over the weekend and things to do with them to combine segments using dance choreography methods and further working on the poi notation for it for my journal. Input is most appreciated along with ideas.

Check out what I have so far and please comment with want you think when you watch. I'd love to keep this thread going so we can all have a virtual choreography workshop and resources here.

Thanks again everyone!


~Rock on!~

"As the pattern gets more intricate and subtle, being swept along is no longer enough"-Waking Life

(All you RLers this is epitome_of_lame *waves hello*)

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FireTom
Stargazer

Member Since: 20th Sep 2003
Total posts: 6650
Posted:SE - there IS poi notation... it's only that nobody understands it... The guy's name is Klaus Scheuermann and this would be an example of his work.... (sorry German only) ... shrug

the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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G4dget
G4dget

Eternal Student of all things Skill
Location: Kansas City, KS
Member Since: 5th Aug 2006
Total posts: 110
Posted:Originally Posted By: FireTom.... (sorry German only) ... shrug
Looks like they've updated this site and it is available in English.


Happiness runs in a circular motion!!

G4dget

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pinky_stone
pinky_stone

stranger
Location: vancouver british columbia can...
Member Since: 17th May 2007
Total posts: 3
Posted:I'm starting to choreograph a routine for myself. i chose The Dave Brubeck Quartet the track is called Take Five. I'm breaking it down step by step and drawing out the pattern I'm doing with my poi/body/arms I'm finding it very helpful in remembering the sequence. i first just improvise and every couple of seconds i stop and repeat a pattern over and over again then write/draw it down and write the time next to it. i repeat this process for each section of the song.

improvise- repeat pattern- write/draw pattern- fit pattern into song- perfect


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