Welcome to the first post of another feature: Choreography. These articles will start out discussing choreographic pieces I’ve created, and once I run out of those I’ll probably move into talking about other modern/classic choreography in the world today.
In the theme of ‘firsts’, today I am going to recall the very first piece I choreographed for an audience in a formalized setting: “Day and Night” to “Book of Days” by Enya.
( I have to add ‘in a formalized setting’, because I was making up dances and steps pretty much as long as I could walk.)
All the way back in the summer of 2005, I attended a ballet summer intensive at my school/company.For those of you unfamiliar with the ballet world, summer for kids still in school is a time to dance all day ‘erry day, and in more diverse classes than perhaps are normally scheduled. One such class was “Choreography”, which a couple students from each level got to present an idea and the dancers would pick a piece to learn. My idea was one of those selected, and for the next five weeks we worked on it, readying for the showcase at the end of the summer session. Sadly this was all before the age of facebook and easily accessible online media, so no pictures or video exist of the one show.
Really the whole thing was an exercise in working with people.
I was 13. Two of my dancers were older than me, one younger. Lilly, Anna, and Grace.
I didn’t know it at the time, but the concept of ‘getting people to do what you want’ is a huge part of the choreographic process–and one of the main reasons creating a piece is frankly project management. My main complaints about the experience were that my dancers ‘didn’t listen’ and ‘weren’t as interested,’–which, at the time, I brushed off as just a bad combination of people. Even as a kid I was passionate, driven, and completely not aware that others might not be as invested in my idea as I was.
Spoiler alert, Me From the Past, that is going to be a theme until you figure out how to work with people. Have fun with that.