Monday, January 20, 2014

Dance Making - Stay Away

A few years ago, I started writing songs. It's fun, and a nice counterpart to making dances. One thing I've done a few times is take a song I've written and worked from the words I wrote to make a dance to go along with the song. I take individual words and turn them into a piece. This is definitely not something unique to me as a mover, but I thought perhaps somebody would find it useful to see my thought process.

Things I enjoy about making dance phrases this way:
  • the mood of the movement almost automatically fits the mood of the piece
  • not that I'll necessarily use the song. But it's good to be able to translate the vibe of a musical piece into dance. I think I learn a little more about it that way.
  • it's easier to remember over long periods of time
  • it gets me to create shapes I normally wouldn't get to. Or, if I would maybe create them normally, I probably wouldn't isolate them as special if not for this exercise.

My process:
  1. Write a song. I did that part a few months ago.
  2. Go through the song and write down the 2 or 3 word phrases that struck me as being more vibrant.
  3. Go through the song again and, for each phrase chosen in Step 2, write down another phrase from the song that seemed connected in some way. The connection need not be in the context of the song.
  4. For each pair of phrases, draw a little picture. The picture is somehow related to the two phrases. but perhaps in a way that wouldn't automatically make sense to somebody else.
  5. Make a movement based on each set of two phrases their matching picture. The movement could be related to the group visually or based on meaning. Or it could be a softer connection that's more difficult to explain. In any case, I usually try not to think about the original meaning of these things in the song during this step.
It may seem a little strange to purposefully ignore the original song from step to step, but in some ways I want to get further away from it in my cognizant brain. I think that the things the song brings up to me are an important part of what the song is actually about. So through this process, I try to get at those things.

Here are the phrases and picture that I came up with: 

Of course it isn't too important, but I like to write things in pleasing ways. It makes the whole process a little meatier.

What I did:
I'm going to show you a few of the movements that I created and explain where they came from. Then I'll show you the phrase.


This is related to its trio in two ways. First of all, you may notice I'm making a sort of top hat gesture with my arms. Secondly, I wanted to be presentational with my body, using a pose-like posture to represent the idea that the phrases were about body and clothing.


Here I climb down my body with my fore-arms. I suppose the influence of the stairs is obvious. I also thought that doubling up my body nicely represented the ideas of fear and putting something away.


To show the 'nice-ness,' I wanted to be very open. Then I kept angles, straight lines, and corners to keep the shape of a rectangular clothing tag.

The Phrase:
So, here's the phrase itself! It's certainly still in progress. This was the work of very little time. I did find some movements I think are worthwhile and that I'd like to continue prying into.