How can choreography prompts improve your dance composition skills?


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. There are make ways we can strengthen that creativity muscle when it comes to choreography. We can explore movement generation, narrative, relationships, form, style and much more. This group of choreography prompts helps you to explore dance composition principles and choreographic tools, rooted in a Western modern concert dance approach 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 – while helping to sharpen your knowledge and skills related to dance composition principles and choreographic devises.


What are Choreography Adventures?


The #ChoreographyAdventures are short and simple choreography prompts that encourage choreographers to reignite their creativity through regular choreographic practice. The goal of these choreography prompts is to help choreographers make short, informal dances (“dancettes”) on a regular basis – daily or weekly if you can. With this regular practice, not only will you keep your choreography muscles strong and flexible, but you will also build a stock of movement ideas that you can use throughout the dance season for class combinations, competition or concert choreography, or recital dances. These choreography prompts are great to incorporate into your personal creative practice as a choreographer, but you can also use with your students in dance composition, choreography, improvisation, or dance technique classes. The Choreography Adventures can be used as prompts for student informal choreography assignments, formal projects, or as dance improvisation prompts.

Find more Choreography Adventures here, or on Instagram @shannondoolingdances.


10 Choreography Adventure Prompts to Hone Your Compositional Skills

  1. Make a dancette that explores the high, mid, and low levels, with unexpected transitions between each.
  2. Play with wildly differing tempos – from glacially slow to lightening quick – with moments of stillness interspersed.
  3. 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.
  4. Make movement for one body part, then transpose it onto another. Alternate between these two movement phrases as you create your dancette.
  5. 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?
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.)
  9. 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?
  10. 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.


Keep your creative spark ignited all year long with The Holistic Collection of Choreography Adventures! This collection includes 52 detailed and highly descriptive choreography prompts – one for every week of the year – that will help you find new choreographic inspiration and hone your dance composition skills. Reflection questions are included with each choreography prompt, to be used for journaling or discussion.


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