I have never had the opportunity of dancing in an ensemble interpreting another choreographer's work, nor have I studied choreography. Only in the last few years have I been blessed to have the input and advice of Robert Desrosiers. I consider him one of my most important mentors. It is his choreographic genius that inspires me to want to create choreography.
However, in my ignorant bliss, I began creating choreography at the age of eight by rounding up the girls who lived on my block and staging performances. This was even before taking a dance class. Inspired by TV shows, I remember staging a Country and Western number and a Go Go (1960s) number. My biggest production at age nine was staging my own version of Hair. Witnessing the production of Hair is probably the single most important influence that compelled me to be a choreographer.
I have always enjoyed working with large numbers of dancers because it gives me the opportunity to convey my message in the steps of each dancer and the added dimension of shapes and movement in a large space. I feel that the ensemble of dancers is a whole other body with limitless limbs to move about and work with.
The single most important lesson I have learned is that in order to create a choregraphy with impact, all facets must be in sync with the same message from begining to end; each dancer's movement and emotion, the ensemble's dynamic and movment or lack of, the music, the costumes, the lighting, the intent - all need to be delivering the same clear message at all times. It is alot of work but truly magic when it all aligns.
The mystery is where do the mesaages come from that are worth delivering with such intent. They can come from almost anywhere and anytime. The secret is recognizing their value when they appear. Will write more about recognizing inspiration in a future blog.