Why summer is a great time to re-ignite your creativity

Summer can be a great time to reignite your creativity after a long and demanding dance season. The slightly slower summer months can afford you the luxury of time to work on their own creative impulses, without the pressure of creating something that will score well at competition, make a splash at recital, secure a grant, or be accepted to a festival. Vacations, breaks, and time away from the studio can rejuvenate your spirit, inviting the playfulness and imagination that can fuel your artistry. In addition, there is something about the summer itself: bright sun, cool nights, fireflies, thunderstorms, freshly cut grass, trees in full bloom, ocean breezes, lakeside vibes, and outdoor activities can all inspire a greater sense of creativity.

What are Choreography Adventures?

This year, I invite you take advantage of the creative spark that season can ignite by trying out these summer-themed #ChoreographyAdventures –  short and simple choreography prompts that encourage choreographers and dance teachers 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.

Summer-Inspired Choreography Adventures

1.) Create a dancette based on the ebb and flow of the ocean’s tides. Let your movement be inspired by the regular and repeated phases of the waves as they move toward and away from the shoreline. Your movement could reflect the look, feel, or sensation of the wave’s ebb and flow.

2.) Create a barefoot dancette on a patch of soft green grass. How does the sensation of the grass underneath your feel influence and inspire your movement? Try recreating the same movement in the dance studio. What changes in the dancette when you bring it to an indoor space and different floor texture?

3.) Create a dancette inspired by a bolt of lightning. Feel yourself embody the opposition of positive and negative charges that build up between a cloud and the ground before a strike of lightning. Then, let your movement explode like a spark of electricity, a flash that temporarily equalizes the charged regions in the atmosphere. What movement qualities represent this intense natural phenomenon?

4.) Create a dancette inspired by the feeling of rain falling on your skin. How does your body react to this feeling? How does your movement change if you imagine that you are dancing under a gentle sun shower? How does it change if you imagine you are caught in a heavy downpour? In a hailstorm? In a hurricane?

5.) Grab a map of somewhere you’d like to travel, and plan out an epic road trip. Draw out the route you would take on your map. Create a dancette in which your movement, pathway, directions, and facings are all inspired the route on your map.

6.) Create a dancette in the sand – whether on the beach, by a lake, or in a sandbox. Use the high, mid, and low levels so that many parts of your body are connecting with the sand as you move. Try recreating the same movement in the dance studio. What changes in the dancette when you bring it to an indoor space and different surface texture?

7.) Close your eyes and remember the last rollercoaster or amusement ride you were on. Visualize and imagine yourself taking that ride again. Create a dancette created by the sensations created by the ride and your experience with it. How fast or slow did the ride move? What orientations did you pass through – for example, were you ever upside down? Sideways? What was your relationship with gravity throughout? How did you feel before, during, and after the ride?

8.) Create a dancette in a body of water – a pool, creek, lake, ocean, or even the bathtub! How does the way you move change based on your body’s relationship to the water? Try recreating the same movement in the dance studio. What changes in the dancette when you perform it on dry land?

9.) Create a dancette inspired by an ice cube melting in the hot sun. What tempos, levels, qualities, body parts, and movements can evoke the feeling of the intense heat of the sun, the cold block of ice, a drop of water sliding down the ice cube?

Have you used any of the Choreography Adventures in your creative practice? Share your dancettes on social media with the hashtag #ChoreographyAdventures! 

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.    

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