Creating the perfect dance
Good dances take time. They aren’t normally created over night – the good ones that is. A good dance consists of a host of elements, including good balance between the dancer and the way the movements should look. Music is also important when used. Music isn’t always used; and knowing when to add a punch, pop, or pause takes good timing. A dancer has to have the necessary control to finish the steps, or pause the steps on cue – with or without music.
Next, we have the knowledge of the dancer, and their ability to use technical control and balance. Do they truly understand movement and the emotion it evokes? I wouldn’t confuse emotion to much with presentation. Presentation – I like to think of as a facial reaction. Emotion involves the entire body. The way the body flows in harmony with the rhythm of the music or a theme. A slow tilt of the head, or push and pull movement, etc., that reflects the overall theme of the dance – there is emotion. It involves the entire body. When you preform with emotion – you aren’t a stick figure, you actually flow. You should present something the audience will appreciate and understand.
A lot of students miss out on learning the basic structure of dance creation because they lack the basics of dance technology. If you don’t have technical training, it will be hard for a student to perform in a manner that allows the audience to appreciate what the dance is saying.
How old is too old to learn technique? How much technical training do I need to choreograph well?
Technique is something you should be working on at every age. From the time you first step onto the dance floor, you should be checking your technique daily. You never stop learning. That is one of the beautiful things about dance – you are constantly learning and growing. The world of dance changes in its forms and styles so often; there is always something for everyone.
When you perform a dance, it becomes the entire accumulation of all your technical training combined with your individual styling. The more technical training you have, the greater your range of styling will be.
You need to have a large repertoire of technical skills in order to perform well. So it would be safe to say, that the greater your technical knowledge, the greater your ability to choreograph well would also be. You have to be able to see the technique in your students.
The difficulty with choreography comes down to the technical abilities of the instructor, and the student combined. The less technical training your student has, the more work you will have to do to prepare your students. Since students all learn at different levels, you may have wide ranges in abilities you have to work with.
My suggestion to new instructors is to first do an evaluation of your students individually. Don’t rush them into learning this cool, awesome, or slick dance you just put together or found on line. Test their abilities first.
I have a list that I follow when doing evaluations, this helps me to map their advancements over a period of time. I really am more concerned with technical advancement rather than trick performances. Until a student is knowledgeable in their skills, their ability to synchronize their steps together with a team or hit a movement on cue, will be problematic.
I understand that as a teacher, you have to work with what you are given. But if you aren’t at least teaching “daily” the basis to your students, you won’t achieve your dream dance. You are only as strong as your weakest dancer – the old saying has a ring to it.
That dream dance will come when you have brought your dancers to a greater level technically, than they began with. Some dancers will take longer to get the skills down. But that doesn’t mean they won’t get them. Your job then is to make sure they continue on in an upward learning curve. Keep tracking their advancements. Don’t take it personally when they don’t progress as fast as your perfect dance. If your dance is that perfect – there will be another time “when they are ready”, “when you have made them ready”.
Good luck instructors.