Sitting in the audience I had chills. My eyes were super-glued to the stage and all I could think was "WHAT IS THAT SONG?" This was me a few weeks ago at my niece’s recital, watching a senior contemporary in awe. I immediately texted one of my choreographers an awkward video of me in the audience as the song was playing.
Me: “Do you know this songggggg? It’s sick! We must use it.”
Him: “Uh *insert team name* did that at nationals this year.”
Me: “Well damn. And they won.”
Me: “I remember feeling nothing :-/”
I thought back to nationals and only then did I vaguely remember the team and the song. FIRST NAME... this was a NATIONAL CHAMPION (in a major division). And I remember thinking nothing in that moment except “wowwww that was clean.” But this little recital dance to the very same song had me all in my feelings, in tears, and dying to see it again.
This is the power you have as a choreographer.
You have the power to make people feel - and either you use it, or you don’t. Don’t underestimate how being authentic and exploring REAL movement vs. dance-team-clean movement can resonate with your audience. Don’t hide from the realness in order to get more points on a scoresheet. Here are three things you can do right now to insert more authenticity into your movement:
Balance the organic/authentic movement with clean moments.
Improv to chunks of the song - record yourself. Then choreograph around those chunks.
Sit in stillness on the floor, close your eyes, and visualize the dance on the stage. Ask yourself: What do the lights feel like on your skin? What does the floor feel like under your feet? Can you feel your heart beating in the opening pose? What emotion is present as you’re dancing? Let the dance come to life in your brain, then write down or record any nudges that come to you.
Remember that you're a human being, not a human doing. Your audience is begging to BE in that moment with your dancers. And if you don’t equip your dancers with movement that’s full of emotion, authenticity, and realness...then they’re just DOING.
PS - Did you like this? Let me know so I know what to write about in the future!