Choreographing your first piece can be a little intimidating but trust me when I tell you that it’s not! As a matter of fact, choreography is extremely fun! There is this sense of pride that you feel when you have taken a piece of music and translated it into visual, artistic movement. Not to mention, it really grows you as a performer as well. However, when you’re choreographing your first piece, where do you begin and how do you make it all come together? Well, kick back and get comfortable because I’m about to help you answer all your questions with these tips and tricks for making choreography!
“Picking The Right Music”
This is a very obvious first step making choreography. The music is the supporting actor of your piece, with your choreography being the star, of course dahh-ling! The easiest way to pick the perfect song to choreograph to is to pick a song that moves you, physically, emotionally or both! By picking a song that makes you feel something, the process of translating it into a dance will be rather easy because it already just makes you want to dance! The very first song I ever choreographed to was a contemporary jazz piece to Nick Thayer’s remix of “Dance Without You” by Skylar Grey. Every time I would listen to that song, my mind would just race with so much choreography and movement that I couldn’t ignore the fact that I had to put these moves on paper and make this a thing! So, take a moment to think about what song has that same effect on you and whatever that song is, that’s the one!
WHAT’S YOUR VISION?
After you have your song all picked out, listen to it carefully. Listen to the words and pay attention to what kind of vibe you get from it. Can you pick up on how the artist was feeling when they wrote it? Whatever feeling you get out of the song, bring that same emotion into your choreography. One of the most choreographed to and commonly used songs in the dance world is “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler because of its raw emotion that so many people can relate to. “Mi Gente” by J. Balvin and Willie William is another song that sees a lot of dance classes and performance stages. And even though this song is sung entirely in Spanish and everyone doesn’t understand Spanish, the beat makes you want to dance. That feeling alone is enough to put into your choreography. So, whatever you feel when you listen to your song choice, put that exact feeling into movement.
“Let Your Body Move”
After the previous tip, you may be asking yourself, “How do I put my feelings into movement?” You put your feelings into movement by simply relaxing and letting your body move. As humans, it’s natural for our bodies to move when you hear a song that you like but as dancers, there’s something in us that just makes it impossible for us to sit still when we really feel a song that we like. Making choreography is just that simple. Listen to the music and let your body go! As you dance, write down every movement down in a notebook or record yourself dancing your choreography. I have multiple journals FULL of choreography that I’ve created because it helps me keep track of it all. When you’re writing, make sure you are very specific in your choreography instructions. Write down counts, arm movements, even small details such as head movements and small body fluctuations. This will make it easy to teach your choreography to a class, as well as help you remember your own choreography, which is something I tend to do a lot. Don’t judge!
“Practice Makes Perfect!”
Just like everything in dance, making choreography is a skill set that you should practice. Make it a point to choreography on a constant basis. As you continue to make choreography, you will notice your creative horizons broadening and your choreography will get better and better. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself creating pieces that you never thought you would be able to create and it will help you become a better artist overall! So clear a space in your living room, open your favorite music app and grab your pen and paper. You’ve got art to create and I can’t wait watch your magic come to life!