Choreography Text and Combos for the Perplexed Choreographer
“Sharing moves creates a dance society of soul sisters.” Leyla Najma
More often then not I have found that dancers get to a place within the intermediate stage of dance and they find that choreography is a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces. The movements of dance can feel effortless and if you look at the completed picture of the puzzle, what seems simple enough to put together, isn’t. In many ways hearing music and becoming inspired and impassioned with the sound is like seeing the finished dance before it is created. This can become a problem for some choreographers. Standing before the mirror and thinking of what goes with what part of the music is an entirely different story then the mind created finished piece.
Frustration, anxiety and tears can end the best of intentions and I know from experience that my sailor mouth took a nose dive and my attitude took a turn for the worst. Add in these two factors and Heaven help the husband, partner or family member that crosses any dancer’s path at that very moment. Civility goes out the window along with the imagined dance that won’t come out of hiding. What we imagine sometimes stays under the covers until we figure out ways to coax it out of bed.
With this in mind I decided to create this book for you and construct it in a format that hopefully makes sense but also helps peel away the outer layers of difficulty in understanding choreography. I will be sharing with you many of my combinations and cosmically inspired ideas that I consider real gems and I am confident that with the way I chapter and organize everything that you will get the help you need or at least feel free to take from my ideas.
Chapter 1 Choreography Tips
Many women ask me how did I learn how to choreograph dances and when did it make sense? I have to say for most of us this is more then a legitimate question; it’s an obstacle that until addressed, can offset a career in the making. It’s also a hard question for me to answer because I didn’t really pay attention the day I just started to create my own choreographies, I just did it.
Workshops helped me out in many ways but not everything I learned felt good in my body. Movement is a phenomenal thing especially when it’s done with the original create thought, but when it is learned and feels awkward, it can become an obstacle. I don’t mind looking uncoordinated but sometimes I felt worse afterwards about my ability to dance. A dance friend told me that this just comes about because I was learning something new. Maybe so but I felt I had to do something that would get me back on track and inspired. Shortly there after I was invited to go to Egypt with Sakti Rinek my dance mentor. Deep down inside I felt this was spirits way of answering my prayers so that I could follow my path more openly searching for my dance truth. I knew my dance was a personal journey, the symbolic feminine archetype alive and well. It wasn’t that there was anything wrong with going to workshops; I just wasn’t feeling my direction of inspired individuality. Here was my chance I thought to find out what I really should be doing. Little did I know there would be more experiences, choices and lessons than Carter has liver pills!
After I came home 6 months later from Egypt, I realized that I was energized and completely committed to belly dance but I still wasn’t sure how to work in movement to music. I sat on my bedroom floor so frustrated one day that tears were coming down my face. It was a turning point for me because I realized that if I couldn’t create my own unique dance then I needed to move on and do something else. So I picked myself up off the floor and started to listen to my music. I think it was Leylet Hob and I listened to it over and over and over again until I was ready to throw the CD out the window. But almost magically, something happened and I realized that I was instinctively moving to the music because as I was listening to it I was spontaneously dancing. Then as I was looking in the mirror I saw a move come out of me and I went, “Wow,” and that was the first move I put down on paper. As I went through hours of spontaneously dancing (no exaggeration, because I was a dancing fool) I would see moves I liked and I would write them down on paper. So now I had a rough draft of moves that I liked and the moves looked pretty good to the music.
From the rough draft I decided to see what move was my most favorite and from there I started to integrate more moves that came from my spontaneous dancing that fit the music. As I pieced the moves together which meant fitting them here and there and then changing it all up, a choreography was born! She looked something like a Picasso painting of a woman with one eyeball on the side of her face but at least it was my eye ball and I was a proud momma or I should say “choreographer.”
Maybe this is my way of answering the choreography question that was so hard to answer before. Hope this helps those of you who are dealing with the choreography brain freeze or those who feel their unique dance style is inside them waiting to come out.
One word of advice, this little book is for experienced dancers who want more ideas for choreographies. The moves that I am sharing with you are all in my instructional videos. So if there is something that is not familiar to you, it will be found in my videos. Between this little book and my videos, I feel dancers will have plenty to work with and lots of ideas to use.