Whether you are a teacher looking for new recital dance ideas, or a budding student choreographer, we could all use a little inspiration from time to time. Photographs are a great way to get the creative juices flowing. Here is how one choreographer tied his existing dance to photographs, making both come alive. This is certainly one way to give your choreography new dimension. However, as I read the article, I began contemplating ways one could use photography as a starting point. These could also be great exercises for those participating in or instructing a composition/choroegraphy workshop.
- Compile a series or grouping of photographs and put them in order (randomly or deliberately) and re-create the photo with dancers in a tableaux. Then decide how to move between them.
- Choose personal photographs (from childhood or a special time in your life) and use them to bring you back to that time period, set the mood for the dance, or become characters in your narrative/story.
- Choose a single photograph that speaks to you. The colors and style of the photograph can inspire lighting or costuming. Even if there are no people in the photograph, your dancers and their movement can evoke the emotions or feeling of the image. You can even project the photo on your backdrop.
- Here’s another unique idea, using photographers as the subject of choreography.
There are lots of possibilities. Perhaps old Hollywood glamour photos will inspire black and white costuming and lighting effects to simulate flashbulbs. Perhaps a wide landscape photo will inspire large, open movement with broad and sweeping music. Historical photos could help re-enact moments from our nation’s past. An entire program or your next recital could be filled with dances that are inspired by photographs/photography. Remember, there are no limits other than your imagination and no wrong way of using the photograph(s) as a jumping off point.
What are some of your ideas for using photography as a starting point for choreography?
Nichelle Suzanne is a writer specializing in dance and online content. She is also a dance instructor with over 20 years experience teaching in dance studios, community programs, and colleges. She began Dance Advantage in 2008, equipped with a passion for movement education and an intuitive sense that a blog could bring dancers together. As a Houston-based dance writer, Nichelle covers dance performance for Dance Source Houston, Arts+Culture Texas, and other publications. She is a leader in social media within the dance community and has presented on blogging for dance organizations, including Dance/USA. Nichelle provides web consulting and writing services for dancers, dance schools and studios, and those beyond the dance world. Read Nichelle’s posts.