Creativity is a muscle, and just like any other muscle, it need to be exercised in order to get stronger – that is the theory behind the #ChoreographyAdventures. These short, simple movement prompts are designed to get you into the studio and make informal work – which I call “dancettes” – on a regular basis. My first collection of Choreography Adventures focused on out-of-the-box prompts meant to get your creative juices flowing in new ways. The group of exercises below helps you to explore compositional principles and choreographic tools rooted in Western, modern-dance based approaches to dance making. They are ideal for anyone who is interested in exploring this approach: novice choreographers, students of dance composition, or seasoned dance-makers who are looking to refresh their creative practice. Like all of the Choreography Adventures, they are meant to be playful, fun, and low-pressure. Take a prompt and use it as the inspiration for a dancette created anywhere from the studio to your living room, without worrying if it is any good!
Find more Choreography Adventures here, or on my Instagram account (@shannondoolingdances).
- Make a dancette that explores the high, mid, and low levels, with unexpected transitions between each.
- Play with wildly differing tempos – from glacially slow to lightening quick – with moments of stillness interspersed.
- Find a map of a country you would like to visit. Draw out your ideal road trip through this country. Use the route on the map as the spatial pathway for your dancette.
- Make movement for one body part, then transpose it onto another. Alternate between these two movement phrases as you create your dancette.
- Make a dancette that tells a story through movement. Perform the dance with your back turned to the viewer. How does the story change when you face away from the audience?
- Create movement using the natural rhythm of your breathing. Perform that same movement in different rhythms, such as 3/4, a swinging rhythm, or 2/4 using syncopation. Put your favorite moments from each version into your dancette.
- Make a dancette on the low level, then take those same movement ideas and perform them on the high level. Create your dancette by performing both versions back to back or alternating between the two.
- Create a simple movement phrase, then “rewind” it by retrograding the movement. (Retrograding is performing both the entire movement phrase and the individual movements in reverse.)
- Film your “dancette” 3 ways – as an extreme close-up, from a “normal” vantage point, and from extremely far away. How does playing with perspective change your experience of the movement and it’s intention?
- Make an 8 count movement phrase. Choose 8 different movement qualities, such as percussive, smooth, heavy, light, bound, or flowing. Perform the movement phrase each of these 8 different ways. Create your dancette by combining movement from these different versions in a way that creates a character or narrative.
Check out The Holistic Collection of Dance Improvisation Prompts & Activities, with 25 ready-to-use ideas for dance improvisation or choreography, from solo explorations and prompts to games and community building activities, designed to help students grow as dancers, artists, and individuals.
Deepen your choreography practice with The Holistic Guide to Journaling for Choreographers, a list of 52 prompts to help choreographers and dance composition students reflect holistically on their creative practice and growth as dance makers.
Visit my Resources page for tools that support a holistic teaching and creative practice. Keep in touch by signing up for my quarterly newsletter, or join me on Facebook at The Holistic Dance Teacher.