Archives for category: Choreography
Betsy, Ellen, Sylvana and Emma cover their mouths as part of a dance movement.

Photo by Colin A Danville

I started working with Glade Dance Collective after I attended Eureka Dance Festival open auditions – thanks to a Facebook invite, believe it or not! – so I owe a lot to Eureka for the incredible growth my D.C. dance circle has seen in the past six months.

The culmination of the year-long festival was a two-night performance at Dance Place. I still feel like I have to pinch myself for the fact that I’ve performed on one of best-known dance spaces in D.C. – one night to a standing-room only crowd!

As a collective, Glade counted as one “choreographer” for our piece, “District. Defined?”

It was definitely interesting for me  – this was the first time I had ever worked on a piece where there were more than two “head” “choreographers.”

As artistic director, Sylvana was the keeper of the piece’s vision, while administrative director Heather kept our schedule in line. (Along with financial director Betsy, Syvlana and Heather are co-founders of the collective). Beyond those roles, every collaborator had a chance to develop movement sequences, choose music, name the dance, talk about costumes and lighting and otherwise develop the piece. We relied heavily on journaling and non-dancing meetings to hammer out a lot of details.

Although it seemed slow at times – especially with Eureka’s once-a-month public showings where we shared our process with a group of other one-person choreographers – I think the Glade collective process produced the most well-rounded and audience-friendly piece in  Eureka Dance Festival. (I’m biased, of course, but my non-dancer friends all loved being able to relate to “District. Defined?”!)

Again, I feel fortunate to have been a part of this year’s Eureka Dance Festival. Through Eureka I got to work with Glade – which is truly making gains in establishing a name and a collective process. I hope I continue to work with it next year – at the very least as a workshop participant and audience member.

P.S. – If you’re interested in learning more or collaborating with us, Sign up for Glade’s monthly newsletter!

I really fell into puppy love with dance when I saw the high school dance team perform while I was in middle school. I knew that that was my chance to perform, but I also was in such awe with their precision. How did they get so many girls to look all the same?

That lead me to an obvious love and admiration for the Rockettes, the number one masters of precision. That lead me to writing a paper on them and the history of precision dance in college Dance History class, even while I was slowly falling into a more mature and secure with love with dance in all its forms – especially modern, contact improv and more abstract movement.

Today, my boyfriend sent me this link:

I was floored. These were the most easy to grasp, pedestrian movements. But they were done in a) an incredibly musical way, b) out of context and contrasted with the “real world” and c) in polished group precision.

We’ve been playing with walking and pedestrian movement a lot at Glade Dance Collective, but I do feel like precision is overlooked in the modern world. It’s too easy of a way to impress a Top 40 audience, or something like that.

I wonder how I can incorporate extreme precision into more of my choreography and performance. Even seasoned art critics can be blown away by precision!

Sustaining Movement dancers are picking up choreography faster than I can give it to them. And since we’re planning on a fundraiser/flash mob/outdoor performance in October, Intro needs to be done sooner rather than later!

I was surprised last week when I actually found time to choreograph and I mostly paced around my room, starting and re-starting the music.

I’ve always been inspired by The New Deal’s piece of music and had been itching to dedicate time to official choreography, rather than in-my-brain-during-day-job choreography. Where was the brain fart coming from?

I came up with one 8-count, played and refined it in rehearsal the next day with help from the ladies, and tonight I found myself in the same place. Stuck. (This time in my living room rather than my bedroom but still.)

So I made the mirror my audience, turned on the music, closed my eyes for a bit, and didn’t move until I felt justifiably moved. And I improvised. And I grooved.

By finding that space between freely-dancing-in-the-moment and paying-attention-to-movement-quality-in-the-mirror, I was able to tap into the translation from music to dance. I wanted hips to lead off-balance. I wanted arms that snaked and fished. I wanted a head to react at the last moment.

Thank goodness I found them. Time for more living room play and then studio play tomorrow!

Yesterday I had my first rehearsal with Sustaining Movement ladies.

I taught about a 45-minute class/warmup and then jumped into “Intro” choreography. I also talked a lot about where I got my warmup ideas from and the method to my madness in Choreography. Then I apologized for talking too much. And then told them about the debate over talking/blogging too much about dance. Oops.

It was so nice for these three girls – who have already been dancing together for a few months – to let me join and sort of take the lead!

I think they liked it.

I know I did.

They picked up the choreography so fast – time to jump into the next section!

The New Deal at the 9:30 Club

The New Deal at the 9:30 Club with friends and I dancing like crazy in the crowd. Who wouldn't want to choreograph like this?!

Last night I started choreographing for realsies to The New Deal’s “Intro” (from their album Gone, Gone, Gone). I have about one minute done out of the three-ish.

(Note to self: Don’t take a shower and then choreograph in your door-closed-in-95-degrees-with-just-a-window-AC-unit room. Much sweating ensues.)

Challenges and dilemmas so far:

  • I don’t know how many dancers I will have. So far in the choreography I’ve been able to stay flexible – it will work for any number between three and six.
  • What do I call the piece? I always name my dances the same as the name of the song, because the music is 100% my inspiration. But I feel like I can’t have a piece titled “Intro”… can I?
  • How should I end the piece? The song flows in a very bouncy way into the second track of the album, the oh-so-awesome melody of “I Feel Love.”  I think I’ll have to use some digital magic to fade the song out on one of its vocal harmonies.

I’m really excited to dive into the next minute of the piece. The first minute is really just a slow build-up of mostly arms while each dancer moves with a unique sporadically-placed instrument sound. For the second minute I’m going to start with a big, wide-moving unison movement to match the perfect vocal harmonies, then start to play with some partnering.

I’m going to need dancers to play with soon! Yay!