Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Emory Dance Company Spring 2015: Inside the Choreographer's Mind

It's the final dress rehearsal for the Emory Dance Company Spring Concert "Searchlight"! The dancers and choreographers are all excited to present their hard work as they go through last minute notes and adjustments, and eagerly await opening night!

Carolyn Whittingham
Japanese and Anthropology

Since I came into the semester with pretty solid ideas about my music choices, my process has been strongly driven by creating movement to complement the sound I picked. As a result, my choreographic process has operated in a very linear fashion, where I start choreographing from the beginning of a piece of music until I feel like either the musical or movement idea has been exhausted. For inspiration I would sit down and listen to my music, make note of significant rhythmic or qualitative changes and decided which points made sense as entrance or exit cues or when I would incorporate a transition. Therefore my piece currently has very structured, architectural feel to it based on the systematic approach I have taken to choreographing thus far.

​I always knew I wanted to make a darker piece incorporating physically intense and powerful movement. So far I have been fairly faithful to my original intention, and I have been thinking a lot about how to evoke fierceness from my dancers while maintaining emotional detachment. In doing so, I have ended up including some subtle (or maybe not-so-subtle) motifs revolving around power plays, manipulation and violence. So now my new focus is to continue playing with these ideas without wandering too far into the realm of being overly preachy or political.

My greatest challenge has been building confidence and just going for those difficult movements, subversive thematic elements and complex formations. Vetting my ideas through other members of the choreography class and dance teachers and peers has been extremely helpful in encouraging me to be tenacious and try things out before I tell myself that something is impossible. Consequently, my greatest triumphs have been witnessing the successful manifestation of the parts of the piece I was doubtful about. I hope I can continue to confidently proceed with my choreography and put something on stage in April that impact audiences profoundly.

Don't miss the Emory Dance Company Spring Concert, Searchlight! Click here for more details. For more information on the Emory Dance Program, please go to our website or check out our Facebook page.

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