It’s amazing how technology changes the work we do. As artists we often resist the changes technology brings because none of us want to be replaced by machinery. After all… musn’t art be born of the human experience?
Setting aside all talk of robots and the validity of their art… let’s discuss some technology that has transformed the way that I choreograph.
One of the difficulties in creating a piece of complex choreography is mentally tracking all of the different people as they move from formation to formation. Sometimes there are dances which require a specific person to end the dance in a very specific place. Perhaps partners must be reunited, or a featured performer must finish in the front at the right moment. For all these reasons (and many more) tracking dancers becomes a necessity during the choreography creation process.
(Disclaimer: I can only speak for myself and my own process. Other choreographers may have magical abilities that I do not.)
Over the years I have developed several methods for tracking dancers.
Only so much movement can easily be written with dots and arrows and numbers on a piece of paper. I wanted an easier way to visualize my dancers.
My first solution was this:
And I have to say this works beautifully.
There are some limitations though. Specifying different groups of people is a major one. For this reason I eventually switched to multi grain cheerios to provide at least three shades of cheerios to differentiate groups with.
Of course with this method you still cannot easily tell which way a given dancer is facing. Not to mention–if you have small children (which I do) your dancers might get eaten.
My next method was slightly more advanced:
Goldfish allow you to determine which way each dancer is facing. Though again, there are times when you need to keep track of specific dancers, and of course this doesn’t eliminate the danger of eating your dancers. I mean… of your children eating your dancers.
Now we arrive at the exciting part. I have just begun using my new “Professional Tools for the Design of Advanced Choreography.”
I could not be happier with this product.
Yes. This modern technology has simplified choreography forever.
Small wooden cubes.
In a cool box.
I now have a reusable set of dancer pieces. They are NOT edible, so I will not lose so many dancers. And that’s just one of their many benefits!
I can easily write names on the cubes, or numbers, to identify specific characters.
I can also stack these blocks to demonstrate lifts and partnering poses.
I can color code them with stickers, dots or paint should I choose. And I can even draw faces on them if I want to.
We all sometimes fear the changes the future will bring to our industry.
At times like these, I feel a radiant hope about our future.