I thought I’d note down my A-Z of choreographic do’s and very much do nots. Remember, these are just my personal ramblings and selective application is highly advised! Enjoy!
A – A is for the need of an honest Assistant who speaks the truth and that you can trust! When you find the right one never let them go!
B – B is for the Box Step – there is NEVER an excuse for one. End of!
C – C is for the dreaded Curtain Call, enough to send any sane choreographer off the bonkers cliff face! Use any excuse you have to not do it!!!!
D – D is for the Drummer. A vital part for any choreographer in the rehearsal room. Fight for the best and they will help make your routines soar!
E – E is for the Eggbeater. One my favourite leg twisting steps. Not advised if easily knock kneed!
F – F is for Feedback! Careful who you listen too! Most like to give their opinion but only take on board from people you trust!
G – G is for a large Gin and Tonic with ice and a slice. This can sort you out after the toughest day in the rehearsal room!
H – H is for Humour, in my books choreography is always enhanced when a dash of humour is added.
I – I is for Imagination, let it run wild and don’t let others stall your creativity.
J – J is for Joy. It is such an honour to see an audience leaving the theatre filled with Joy after the show. Fill your work with Joy enhancing moments.
K -K has to be for Kick Line! Who doesn’t love seeing a chorus line of beauties kicking up their heals?! Use sparingly though as can get a tad monotonous!
L – L is most definitely for Lunch Break.. if you’re lucky enough to have one embrace the time to rest and refuel. Chances are you’ll be whisked into a production meeting so you’ll have to throw down the nearest thing to nourishment you can find in the company office!
M – M is for Music. You should know every beat, every accent, every swell before you start to create. Make the music part of you.
N – N is for Naming all your dance sections in the numbers. In Sixpence there is the Penguin, the Flash Bang Twist and rather alarmingly the Pop Up!!
O – O is for dreaded Organic word! I slightly die inside when a director suggests letting a number grow organically! I come from the planning school of thought! Old school I know!!!
P – P has to goto Props and my love/hate relationship with them. One of my biggest peeves is seeing a Prop used for mere seconds and then abandoning into to the world of unloved Props! Remember, a Prop is for life not just for christmas!
Q – Q is for Quick Thinking. As a choreographer you will need to think on your feet a lot. Be alert for the worrying signs of change afoot! You’ll learn to spot them a mile of. I have developed my own radar now to spot it coming!
R – R is for Research. You can never do to much, know the era, the history and the story inside out.
S – S is for Sectioning. Break each number down into Sections and decide what story you want to tell from each. It will give you a better view of the overall shape.
T – T is for Technique. When casting a show fight for dancers with strong technique as this delivers you more options when choreographing routines.
U – U is for Unison Dancing. In my opinion only powerful in short bursts at the end of a number. If you build up to a Unison section then it will pay dividends.
V – V is for Variety. Mix up your styles of choreography and try to avoid getting stuck in a rut. I love exploring different dance genres and mixing them up. A dance cocktail if you wish!!
W – W is for Winging It! Some of the time you will be called upon to change things on the spot and Wing It!! Terrifying and exhilarating. You will enevitably need the Gin and Tonic after that we talked about in the letter G!!!
X -This is highly dubious I know and not officially an X but I’m struggling!!!! Don’t be afraid to eXperiment with your work. Go outside the box. I am always asking my dancers to do the same so its only fair that as a choreographer you should do the same.
Y – As in my last blog – say Yes at all times. What’s the worst thing that could happen?!
Z – For a long choreographic career you are going to need a bucket load of Zeal! Stick with it, there will be highs and lows but on your opening night it will all have been worth it!