I remember watching Fanny Pak on ABDC S2 and they were talking about one of the way they practice; by taking turns yelling out a word and then each of them had to do the first move that popped in their head. I thought that was brilliant.
There are so many takes on how to interpret a word I thought I would just give a small breakdown of the ones I understand.
Yeah like the ones with the make up and always stuck in a box...kind of. This is just basically way to show something that's not there by representing it with your body and movement. We do it all the time without realizing it, especially when giving a speech or presentation. Or when you try to explain something and someone's not getting it, we usually bring in hand gestures and visuals to get them to understand: miming.
You basically imagine if the object were actually there and you pretend to interact with it but there are some variations:
1) Object/Use- These things would be the things that are lifeless/objects that you can use at your own will. You basically act out the action as if the object were physically in your hand or body i.e adjusting hat, smoking cigarette, playing golf, basketball, cooking, folding, opening/closing doors, using the remote control, pouring water, playing piano, keyboard, eating, driving, adjusting your tie, brushing dirt off shoulder, jetpacking, skiing, cracking a safe, etc.
2) Communication/Interaction- This is basically when the object is no longer stationary or in your control and you must interact with a certain level of communication i.e another person, animal, an intelligent machine. It's your interaction with another object/being. So you could strangle it, kick it, punch it,(forms of self defense or attack) hug it, shaking hands with it, make love to it, kiss it, high five it, wave high, avoid eye contact, (forms of communication) yell at it, protect it, help it, carry it, walk away from it, etc.
3) Abstract-Things like superpowers or things that have to do with the unreal. This would be along the lines of "Object/Use" however I put it in a different category because they aren't usually seen in daily life. Being able to conjure fire from your hands, controlling objects with your mind (two fingers on temple), growing bigger (hulk), spiderman shooting web, lazers from eyes, minority report technology, matrix time control, multiplying yourself, bone breaking, growing extra limbs, losing limbs, hadouken, teleportation, forcefield, transform, etc.
4) Emulate- This is when your body parts act as if they themselves were the object itself. Like if each hand became the mouth of a person and they were talking together, or it became an airplane and was flying around your head, or a little person running (fingers), head can become a balloon and slowly rise up, chest can be a ballon being inflated, or chest can be a button, or whole body can become a tractor machine, you become the ocean, you become the hard drive and wires of a computer, head becomes a roll of tape, you're a tree, a fence, a blanket, plastic bag, a bomb, etc.
5) Perspective- The last one is changing your perspective completely like becoming a dog, or wolf, or bird. You take on the characteristics of these things like for a dog you scratch behind your ear with your "paw" while nodding your head down, or chase your own tail, or barking. Or if you are a robot you completely act as if you were that robot. So the difference between Emulate and Perspective is that emulate is normally with isolated body parts and Perspective is your whole body. So technically when those people play a tree in the school musically I would consider it Perspective even though its an object.
Another way to communicate is through your emotion. Feeling is like a perspective but more a perspective/opinion of a subject matter; the way you respond lets others how you feel about a certain topic. If lets say you are giving(action): you can be happy about it, sad about giving it up, angry because you're forced to, careless because it means nothing to you. There's so much that can be read based on how you feel about doing it because it gives a clue why you are doing it.
Capturing the right move to express a certain emotion can be tricky if you are not natural at it. It's a weird back and forth; on one hand you already know how to do all of them (they are your emotions) but for some reason it is hard to call upon. Maybe self conscious (?) i dunno. I usually just observe other people's moves that I feel like represent my feelings and I remember them. Some examples of this are:
Anger: (powerful, fast, wild, still, shaking, glaring) tense muscles, jerky movements, concentrated force, outward movements
Happy: (attentive, anticipated, relaxed, energized) loose, going with the flow, giving, outward flow
Determined: (concentrated, solid) unmovable, one direction, stern, set
Desperate: (twitchy) head will move first looking for any opportunity, eyes scan the place quickly, reaction time is quick
there is so much more but hope it has been informative. I'm sure there's alot more to be delved into but this is good for one post.
I always wondered how some people move so fast and most of it is just that, they are really fast. But because its a visual thing I knew there had to be some illusion about it; I've seen pieces that have the fast feeling but are actually deceptively slow when doing it. This led me to investigate and I now believe the idea of "fast" is more about the idea of the audience playing catch up rather than you moving fast. Going fast physically is one way to make them play catch up with their eyes but there are other ways:
Varied Timing- an even tempo no matter how fast can be understood around the 3-4 count; you pick up the pattern and then it's set in your mind. If you never know when the next "beat" is coming you feel anticipation; your mind is racing trying to figure it out. So you don't have to move your body fast at all. The same way a scary movie (if you are scared) isn't boring; your mind is whats moving fast, not the scenes.
Traveling- another way to show "fast" I believe is the idea of progress and moving forward. Like if you watch someone make a lifetime of accomplishments but it only takes them one year you will logically think they are faster. There's no way he's going to move that much faster physically but he might mentally. So while the other person is lets say building up to it, making mistakes, and reworking the same problem, he gets it done in 1 try then he moves onto something else, something different. Even though it takes him less moves, I believe the audience will read that as "faster" because they will imagine what you did in your mind to get there that fast.
You know like in scary films how even though the person being chased is running for their life, the killer somehow appears behind them and not even out of breath? It's basically like that: If you had to go from a--->b--->c--->d and in the time it took you to do that the other person found a way to get there before you logically you would think he is "faster" even if you never saw them physically run and it takes him less moves. This works because it forces the audience to put the 2+2 together so they are the ones working faster mentally, which will give them the feeling of catching up, which will make you seem faster.
Getting a Head Start- conceptually that is. It's similar to the one before this but pertaining more to everyone's personal skill level; kinda like the early bird gets the worm type deal. If you went to a market early, you would be the one to get the freshest fruits and veggies. By waking up early you are already out the door before everyone else has brushed their teeth. So it's more of a comparison between you and your surroundings but it works in a song as well. A song has its own "morning" and "night" sort of like a day. Starting your ideas early on will get you to those ideas earlier and without rush.
Just as these two lines are the same length but one seems longer than the other, time can also act this way. There are ways to make it seem like you are going fast or slow while not actually and I hope this article might give you some insight on how to.
Have a Good Day!
A concept can be as simple "always turn left" to as complex as "if the world had no sound how would we keep track of movement." But all in all a concept is a rule.
The concept of always turning left can be applied in so many ways. For example, you can turn left (a) on every count, you can turn left (b) whenever someone touches you, you can turn left (c) every time you are left alone. But turning left is the main (1) concept, and everything else you apply to it is a secondary (a,b,c) concept.
The concept could also be "cool" or your idea of the word. Or sexy, or sophisticated, or whatever it is. That's a bigger umbrella concept which constitutes a combination of concepts to work together. So let's take the idea of "cool" and break it down.
Batman is cool because he is: powerful, fearless, and merciful. (we'll make it simple)
If that is your concept there are many ways to approach this and there are variations but you have a framework of what you want.
Powerful; moves that command authority and can defend for what he believes in. (fighting moves, that one move where someone punches, you grab, and then bring them to their knees (corny but you get the point))
Fearless; not afraid of any man or woman. (maybe walks into a crowd full of criminals , or down an alley full straight towards his arch-nemesis.)
Merciful; giving people a chance even when they have wronged you. (maybe spares the bad guy's life.)
So these moves would make the person appear to be powerful, fearless, and merciful in your dance/story.
There are character concepts, story/situation concepts, setting concepts, move/visual concepts, and music/timing concepts but that will be for another post.
I am currently choreographing at the moment and these are some of the things I've been keeping in mind while working.
1. Listen More Than Think- Sometimes I doubt about how people will respond to it so I try to find ideas I think will mesh with everyone but it made my work a bit dull. If you just listen to the song real close, you'll realize that you already have bold ideas opinions about it and that you need to listen to them to make them fully realized.
2. Don't Be Afraid To Let Go of an Idea- Going back and forth is fine, it's a part of the creative process. Just because I let go of an idea doesn't mean I cant come back to it later. I should appreciate that I have more than one idea and respect that I want the best for myself. Creatively, I have found that trying the new idea I have works in my favor. And if it doesn't work out then again, I can always go back to the original concept.
3. Perform It and Teach it Often- I have found that when I need to explain it to another person, my thoughts become more realized. Teaching will break down the shapes, concepts, and timing and performing will help realize what you really want to say to the audience. My piece from inception to performance changed dramatically and with each performance, my choreography slowly shaved down to what I really wanted it to be.
4. Revise Revise Revise- Pretty self explanatory but cannot be stressed enough. Each time is like another draft of a paper/novel; each time you revise you get another clue about what you really want. Many novels are crafted this way also going through plenty of revisions up until it is published.
5. Don't Stop Until You Are Satisfied- It is a disrespect to myself. It is my work, my thoughts, and my ideas. This piece in the end is really for no one but me so what would it look like if I never had to show anybody. That's what it should look like.
Ok, back to work for me.