How do we create a piece of dance for a performance?
You are a dancer or a dance student, you like metal music and want to create a performance piece.
If we are professional or semi-professional we have certain responsibilities such as aesthetics, representation, content, cultural awareness, costuming.
Create the ”skeleton” of your dance by doing the aforementioned practise. Your body is already familiar with a certain type or types of movement vocabulary. Bring in everything you have, later you can exclude the unnecessary ones.
Take it piece by piece. If there are certain parts that you think are not ready yet, work on those parts seperately. Look at the whole and ask why these parts are not ready in particular. Is it because of the musicality? – The pace is too fast you cannot keep up. Or is it too emotional – you are not sure what to do. Work on that particular aspect.
For example, see what kind of fast movements you can produce. You can develop them. You can use contrasts and eliminations, you can use a slow turn and capture the big moments with other movements.
For example, listen to yourself while you are listening to that emotional part, get to know this emotion that you find hard to represent.
- Where in your body do you feel it?
- What is it like?
- How does it move you?
- Does it freeze you?
- If it was a movement, what would it be like?
- If it was a statue what would it look like?
- If it was a color what color would it be?
- How do you move in darkness?
- Red, what is red?
- How do you move when you are angry?
- Red roses?
- How would you walk in a garden of roses?
- What is purple?
- What do you do with that thing that’s purple?
- What’s yellow?
- How do you communicate with that thing that’s yellow.
- You don’t/can’t communicate with it?
- What does a lack of communication make you feel?
- If that feeling was a movement, what would it look like?
- Maybe you can represent it just the way that it is.
And ask for help! Choose the people with adequate knowledge and experience who will give you constructive feedback. Even if we are professionals, we still need professional advice! An outer eye can see what you are missing. You still have the freedom to do what feels good to you.
Don’t be shy but keep things in check. If it is going to be a performance, it will be viewed by many and it will be remembered.
Don’t shy away from trying new things. Dancing an unusual dance to an unusual piece of music is an experiment. But you don’t wanna look inexperienced. Remember? ”One more time” in dance lessons/rehearsals is always a lie. Do it again for hundreds of times. Practice might not make perfect but it definitely makes things much much better!
If you are using cultural elements, check if you do any cultural appropriation, meaning; are you using a less known culture’s elements that at first seem irrelevant to your work, are you representing these elements appropriately? ‘Appropriate’ not necessarily in the sense of complying with a rule, but more as in common sense. Cultural borrowing can be a contribution to the diversity, but are the cultural meanings of these elements lost or distorted? Pay special attention if these elements are thought to be ”exotic” by dominant cultures. If there is a story of oppression in these elements (could be ethnic or/and gender-based oppression), you wouldn’t want to abuse that subject for your own enjoyment. Get enough information and re-think. Why do you want to use this element? If you are passionately drawn to this element, honor it in your work. If you can stand behind your viewpoint and can offer a piece of explanation why you do what you do, go. There is always a way to present what you put your heart into, if you are well prepared and if your work is well-structured.
Invest time and care and some money in your costuming. You might want to create a contrast with your costuming, such as using a white silk dress for a dark piece of music. Or you might want to represent this dark quality with your costuming. You can borrow symbols from the band, or from the lyrics. Let your costuming have a character of its own, let it tell a story by itself.