Saturday, May 28, 2016

Choreographing A Dance (read: some dance stuff plus complaints)

Hello peoples!

So!  The week of dance performances is over!

*I really need to catch up on posts...always behind...*sigh*

After five shows, I'm exhausted.  And because these shows happened during school time...I've missed many of my classes.  I missed biology!  One of my FAVOURITE CLASSES!  Twice!  I missed  And a CS block and a dance block.


I've got a lot of catching up to do...I missed a bio test, a bio lab, a french test, and a math in class assignment.  As if I didn't have enough stuff to catch up on...I have a major English project worth A TON OF MARKS due...soon.  Like, a twenty paged project!  I...may have been assigned this a month or two ago...but...procrastination has become a close friend of mine.  I also have a socials test AND a chemistry test AND an English test coming

Also doesn't help that I have extracurricular like Chinese dance and guzheng outside of school...and I have performances coming up....



On to what this post was supposed to be about.

So!  Back in December, my dance teacher asked me about choreographing a Chinese dance...and I mentioned fans...

So she went and bought fans.

They sucked.

So she went to go buy a different type of fan.  These ones had un-smooth wood...but...heh.  I could work with them.

Somewhere along the way, I had to pick out costumes from my teacher's cabinet of old clothes. Unfortunately, there wasn't anything particularly Chinese looking, except for this one shirt that had a Chinese looking button on it.  We only had five of those shirts.  And I had six dancers in my group. So I ended up with a black top, and a pink skirt.  To borrow a group member's words...we looked like Spanish dancers.

Then I had to find music.

I found a song.

She rejected it because it wasn't circus-y enough.  But honestly....Chinese dance music isn't you can see how I ran into problems.

After a month-ish of trying to find a music circus-y enough...while also being able to find one suitable for Chinese dance...something I thought would be easy enough for me to choreograph with....I...finally found something!  And then...time to start the choreo!  But I...procrastinated.

It wasn't until a month before the show that I finally slammed my fist down on the table and demanded that I DO THIS NOW.

Now, this is the first time I've ever choreographed anything!  And...eight to nine years of professional training isn't even close to giving me the confidence I needed.  But nonetheless, I did it.  My final product may not have been anywhere close to what I wasn't too bad.

Oops, wait...let's backtrack here.  Before I started my choreography and picked my dance teacher made everyone sign up for a group.  There were three options.  Ballet, Chinese dance, and dance hall.  I knew that Chinese dance was a foreign genre to these students...but it still hurt to see people rushing to the paper and furiously fighting to scribble their name in either the ballet or the dance hall group.

We have thirty students in our class, so ideally, we should have had ten in each group...but if people couldn't pick ballet or dance hall...they didn't sign up for my group.

So...there I was...sitting there...feeling extremely awkward because no one wanted to be in the group where I'd be choreographing the dance.  And as a person who has serious self-esteem issues.......

I wanted to cry.

I wanted to hide.

It hurt.

Anyways...after much debating between my dance teacher and the dancers...she decided that it would be fine if we had a few extra people join in the two groups.  I was left with five dancers, including me.

And somewhere along the way...a girl from another group decided to switch groups...and join mine...because that group always put her in the I had five dancers now.  Not including me.


Ah well.

I had two especially keen learners in my group.

But as the weeks went by, I started to really like my group.  Pfft, I didn't need a group of ten dancers, I had my very own group of five dancers.  And the smaller the group, the better! that I've finished backtracking...

After coming up with the choreo, I taught it to them...and...they were...okay.  Yes, they didn't have years of dance training, but they were eager to learn, and that's what mattered.

Yes, there were times when I was frustrated with the progress...something that seemed so easy and natural to me...was taking my group an awful long time to get right....but then again...I was trying to teach them something in fifteen minutes something that I would have been practicing for...for months.  So...I guess I can't be too harsh on them.

Then there were times when I used my "teaching voice".  It was weird.  Almost everyone knows me as the super shy girl...and...a super shy girl teaching a dance?  Ordering dancers to their positions...whoa.

I finished teaching the dance in a matter of days, and then it was just a matter of practicing it.  I admit, I looked smugly at the other groups while they struggled to put their dance together.  And I'm only a little ashamed.

Many times while I was teaching the dance...the other groups watched me in...dare I say....awe?  And inside...I felt...happy.  Joyous.  Maybe it shouldn't, but it did.  It gave me the confidence to continue doing what I was doing.

The week before performances, we did a show and tell, and my teacher lauded me for my very polished looking dance.  And I was blown away!

Really?  Polished?  My dance?  I didn't think I'd ever hear those words in the same sentence. Every time I watched it...I always picked out stuff like lack of synchronization, un-pointed toes, horrible posture...and because I was in the dance myself, I usually didn't get a chance to watch it!

My teacher also asked me to choreograph a dance next year for the junior company.  An entire class. Of thirty dancers.!

Another day...also the week before performances...while I was watching my group show me a section of the dance, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the dance hall group imitating what my group was doing.  And ohmygoodness, I felt so good.  It's beyond words.  I heard snippets from many dancers about how they loved my dance, and how they want to learn it.  I couldn't help wondering...if...if we had to do this again...would I have gotten more group members?

After the shows, I had audience members actually come up to me and tell me that my dance was their favourite...again, you cannot imagine the happiness coursing through my body.  I was euphoric.

The night of the last show...someone special came to watch!  And...of course I felt bad about having him pay for his own ticket!  Of course I didn't want him to come watch me make a fool of myself*! But I invited him anyway...and he came.  And he watched me was a bit awkward...ANYWAYS.  Let's not disclose any more details about our lovely time together, right, Gilf?

*Did I mention that I was a clown for the opening scene?  Yes, a clown.  With a super colourful one piece body suit, and a "wig" composed of silver streamers and a hair net.  Ugh....there's a lot of things I'd do for dance.  But there is a line.  I've drawn a point.  And that point has been reached.

*also, did I mention that after the shows, my dance teacher came up to me and told me how many teachers told her the Chinese dance was beautiful, and so polished and synchronised?  I beamed with such joy, such have no idea....

*Gilf: too bad you had to leave early...I was going to give you a mini show...dedicated just to you.  And I would have allowed you to take all the pictures you wanted....oh well.  We could have had so

After the final dance show, my mom hugged me and told me how proud she was that her daughter choreographed a dance!  How her daughter choreographed a beautiful dance.  That all the time and money she put into my dance training has paid was weird...she doesn't usually praise me like this, but...okay!

Have you ever used your previous knowledge or experiences to take a step further and create something of your very own?

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