"Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" by Nina Simone is about being human, being less than perfect. It's part apology, part prayer - which I can identify with. It's also gorgeous.
I started with the sections with the hits "(1) AND (2) AND" and rumba underlying. How cool is that! So maybe now is a good time to say a little about the choreography process.
1) Pick a good length of song or edit it down. This song is just a hair too long at 2:46. Choreo should be about 2 minutes long unless you have a ridiculously good reason and have considered this: Go to the best dance video you've ever watched on the web. Watch it but look at the time the very first time you look away for any reason. Water, someone walks in, whatever. Is it around 2 minutes? It was when I did it! So - always leave them wanting more.
2) Map the song. Mark 8-counts, times, and sections. Figure out any odd-count parts where they edited after or just played it unusually. Note what's similar, what's different, where the dynamics and climaxes are. This makes it easier to think of the song as a whole piece.
3) Choreograph. I dance it a few times and see what I like. Something about the song will often tell me things, and I want to be able to listen. It's the same feeling as following in partner dance - brain is receptive, in "flow", not evaluative right now. Anything you want to dance is "right." Don't be afraid to use repetition or call back to what you have already done.
In this case, I sectioned the song and just labeled them A, B, C... and on through "I". Here I have choreographed sections B, E, and H.
I was sick and mostly slept yesterday. Here's my favorite choreo I did last year.
This would take a little fine tuning as it it somewhat acting and we'd have to experiment for expressions and timing, but the basic bones are there. This is the part of the song that comes right before what I choreographed yesterday.
This is a super cool song by Kate Bush when she was making her most influential work. The song is sung from the perspective of Houdini's wife after his death, a song of grieving made more interesting by Houdini's secret code.
During his life, Houdini was interested in debunking, and did debunk, several spiritualist mediums to prevent people from being taken in by them. But, before Houdini died, he and his wife, Bess, arranged between them that if Houdini found it possible to communicate after death, he would communicate the message "Rosabelle believe." Bess held yearly séances on Halloween for ten years after Houdini's death in 1926, claimed to have contact in 1929, but she later said the incident had been faked.
Later in the song there's a reference to the secret code that just provokes shivers! It's not in the part of the song I dance to (unfortunately) and one of the reasons I've not choreographed this song before now is that it would have to be expertly edited, and edited a lot, to have a good flow of choreo, music, and consistency of story.
This section of choreo starts about 0:33 into the song, and hits one of the trickiest parts as we have to match the feel of her anguish. It would surely need some polishing as well as rehearsal time to do the song justice!
All right, here's my first submission! The song is In The Dark by Nina Simone, and this is the first minute of the song. First challenge - the lighting in my studio is ridiculous for video. Just updated with better lighting.
Also... now I don't necessarily believe in astrology, but here's noting that Mercury Retrograde is coming up, the time traditionally associated with electronic devices going screwy. I realized this again when, in between last night and this morning, my computer became unable to find my camera. Oh my!
I LOVE choreography! I think it is super fun, and that is why I'm doing this. Sometimes I suspect I must've been one of those great instrumental modern dance choreographers in a spiritual past life. As a child I had aesthetics that were... kinda surprising in one so young! I loved stretched, beautiful lines, especially with the neck.
So when Nicole proposed a choreography challenge, I was SUPER excited. "How could I NOT do this?" I thought. And then I thought of all my goals and priorities in the new year... and I knew this was not on that list. To get this done in the format proposed, I'd have to neglect things that are very important to me. So, as I do this I'm going to do it in a way that works for my commitment to my values.
I'm going to be kind to myself. I'm going to keep my commitments to my own growth, and prioritize time for those. I know I won't be posting every day, and I'm ok with that.
I have a lot of fulfillment in choreography, and a lot of inspiration. I have a process that works for me and building my chops with bulk creativity sounds great. I remember working at Go Dance studio in Austin and watching big name pros put together choreography by listening to the song on headphones, walking around the dance floor and waving their hands around, miming moves. In an hour, the song would be done! We'd video, marking tricks, and then it would be up to me!
They also taught me a lot about making choreography myself and I'll tell you all about it in my next blog entry - my current process for making choreography! See you on the dance floor!