Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I Got the Music in Me!

In preparation for next year's season, I have begun listening to soundtracks while driving, and as usual have created a running backdrop of "Chicago" in my head for the last month.  At times I fear that I may get so sick of the score before I even start to really work on it, but I also know that I do my best work when I am sickeningly familiar with my source of inspiration.

As I hum the "Press Conference Rag" while I clear out the back seat of my car, I wonder if any of the students have got the soundtrack on their phones or iPods.  It has been the only CD in my car for at least a month now, and it is safe to say that I have at least 70% of the orchestration and lyrics committed to memory by now.

Whether a good idea or not, this "saturation" of sorts is serving to provide glimpses of inspiration.  Although I have not picked up my drawings since the end of school, for some reason, fleshing out the whole production concept in physical (if abstract) and visual terms always helps me to begin creating images inside my mind that become the starting points of choreography.  In a similar way, listening to the music in detail allows me to notice all of the details, the nuances of style which ultimately provide the greatest source of inspiration.  That flair of a neckline or the syncopated accent of a rimshot....the art is always in the details.  As a choreographer, these glimpses come in tandem with the auditory and the visual, although they are primarily brief and simply "moments" of movement that may come while I am not thinking about the piece at all.

Herein lies the value of technology, for in our world of instantaneous updating, surely the creative can reap a reward here, in an effort to capture the etherial and intangible germ of a choreographic idea.  But how?  Video?  Voice note?  Drawing?

My struggle lies in part in my age.  I am neither a digital native nor a digital newbie, yet my early entrance into the choreographic process meant that I was always taking short-cuts and that my choreographic chops were forming as I entered my teens during the 1990's.  Shortly before the IT revolution, my choreographic process usually started with a tape (yes a cassette tape), a legal pad, a pencil, and a script or score.  I find that old habits do die hard, and that I must consciously make an effort to move myself into a new generation when it comes to the physical resources that I use to enhance my creative process.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Winterfest Rising

As I look forward to the remaining ten days of "vacation", I am drawn to viewing the myriad of resources that abound on the internet.  Never had I dreamed that so much content and variety would be available at the tips of my fingers as inspiration for my choreographic projects.  It's something like seeing a live performance of theatre, dance, performance of any kind really, and the effect that it has on the creative cells within me.  Something stirring from within calling out to be birthed, created, born anew.  When I see a great painting, hear a beautiful melody or watch a physical display of strength and dexterity, I become excited, alive in new ways.  Imagination spurned and ideas abounding, moments of creation sometimes occur in between activities, during sleep, and yes, even sometimes while driving.  When do you feel "inspired"?  What causes something in you to create a new idea, passage, shape or form that has never been?  And more importantly, how does one get the "idea" to translate into something of real and heart-pounding existence?  Such are the ideas that I hope to share and allow students to share with one another and with dancers and choreographers from around the world.

To quote a lyric from Rent (one of my favorite musicals), "The Opposite of War isn't's CREATION."