Choreographers make dances. Creating a dance requires an understanding of how to combine movements into a powerful form of self-expression. To choreograph dance works, choreographers combine dance technique with creative inspiration to generate new dance works.
Some choreographers prefer to create a work in their head, by drawing them on paper or even using sophisticated software on a computer before they set the movements onto the dancers bodies who will interpret the finished work. Other choreographers will only create movement through improvising or trying a series of movements themselves or with a group of dancers. However they approach the creative process, choreographers are unique as creative artists in the integral relationship they have with the dancers as interpreters of their work.
Like all art forms and crafts, dance is based on technique, which must be learned and practiced.Dancers train their bodies to move in specific ways depending on the technique in which they are working. Technique refers to the different movements in particular style of dance. When someone has good technique, they have the ability to execute specific movements with great precision. There are many different dance techniques: Modern, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Folk, Ballroom, and African to name just a few.
Also, there are techniques within techniques. The three main ballet techniques are Cecchetti, Russian Vaganova, and Royal Academy of Dance, (RAD). Some modern techniques are Graham, Cunningham, and Release.
A choreographer can use one or many techniques in his/her work. Lar Lubovitch uses a blend of Ballet, Modern and Jazz techniques. The choreographer and dancers must all be fluent in the same techniques so the dancers can perform the movement in exact synchronicity when needed and to give the work an over all cohesiveness. Also, a strong knowledge of technique gives the choreographer a means to communicate the desired steps and qualities. A technique may specify where the impulse for movement comes from (the torso or the limbs), where the focus is, weather the legs are turned out or in, among many other things.
To become a choreographer one must train in a wide range of techniques (something which takes many years to accomplish). In doing this one can discover an appropriate means to convey an idea through movement. For example, if you are trying to create an atmosphere that is warm, elegant and earthy one possible combination could be African, Hawaiian and Modern. By learning many techniques one can make informed choices, find the perfect voice in which to express an idea, and be capable of communicating that idea to one’s dancers, then to the world.
In the Classroom
1. Compare and contrast various dance techniques and their movement vocabulary.
2. Identify movements that are shared among different dance forms.
The inspiration for a new dance can come from anywhere - a favorite piece of music, a poem, an unforgettable meal or a political issue that the choreographer wishes to explore. In some cases the choreographer’s inspiration will be evident to the audience, in others it will simply be a starting point for the piece and will not be evident in the finished dance. Like all artists, choreographers respond the world around them and they need to feed their work through the experiences of their lives. Here are some sources of choreographic inspiration: