My boyfriend Mike asked me recently "How do you choreograph? Where do the moves come from?" Good question.
For the fun of it, let's consult wikipedia. If I never choreographed before, I am not sure if this article would help or not (or any article online alone).
To answer my boyfriend's question, right now my choreography is coming from 3 main sources (in no particular order):
1) Visions in my head
3) Inspiration from teachers, choreographers and dancers I have worked with before or seen in performance or in videos.
I have spent countless hours in dance studios, living rooms and bedrooms alone trying to "find my voice" and create. Within 10 minutes I usually find my arms resting on the ballet bar, chin in hands staring at myself in the mirror, or laying starfished on the floor, staring at the ceiling.
Choreographing alone, I always feel like I am missing something.
My yoga teacher recently has been using visualization techniques during practice to help embody certain asanas to the point where I am both inside and outside of it, totally in the present moment; to the point where that imagery becomes reality. Working to embody feeling or thought during rehearsals can help dancers turn a choreographer's vision into reality. How do we as choreographers create a rehearsal space where that is not only possible but successful?
I googled, "How to choreograph modern dance" and came back with this article. Instruction #3 is spot on for me:
“Give the dancers characters to play, and use sense-memory techniques to bring the dancers to the emotional place and level they need to reach. Teach them the steps that you have decided upon, but allow them to interpret the music as well. You never know what you may spot when someone improvises to the music."
I miss working with choreographers who provided a few movements that we as dancers turned into several 8 counts. I miss the free rehearsal hours on campus, where I felt I had the time to experiment, structuring improvisation to create choreography during rehearsal, instead of before it, alone.
I miss the dancers who, with no technical training, showed up and were present.
I have always had trouble translating choreography I made when alone, so why have I moved towards this method? Time? Money? The pressure to 'produce'?
The eHow article also posts a key fear of mine as a warning: "If the piece is too abstract, no one will understand it or be able to appreciate it." Does improv and experimentation always mean that a piece will be too abstract?
Wherever it comes from, however it is created, I think dance needs to come from a place of love in order for it to matter to anyone, whether abstract, improvised, rehearsed, or not.
So, I ask you the same question my boyfriend asked me: How do you choreograph? Where do the moves come from?