What are some things that choreographers can do to stay inspired?
After all, choreographing is no easy job. And for many of us it is an actual job.
Whether you teach regularly at a studio, direct a dance team, perform for a production – you understand the challenge of meeting a quota for choreography, both in quantity and quality.
But choreographing takes time, energy, and inspiration. It’s hard to just keep churning out great pieces…
So how does one stay motivated?
Your body’s doing the dancing, but your mind’s doing the creating.
So here are 4 ways to inspire your mind!
Use these tips to keep that fire burning, and keep your pieces fire.
1. Watch Dance Videos
In a world of instant, overabundant sharing, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram are a dancer’s best friend.
Pause your scroll to watch a few videos is a quick and easy way to gain dance inspiration.
Take advantage of the fac tthat you have instant access to works of choreography from dancers all over the world.
See Related Article: How YouTube Gives Artists The Freedom To Showcase Their Work
Go on YouTube, type “Urban Dance Camp” into the search bar and let yourself stumble across some insane choreo.
Look up “En Dance Studio” in Japan and try mimicking some of those grooves all-day-urrday.
Watching videos won’t teach you how to choreograph, but it’ll expand your dance vocabulary and open your eyes to a new set of dance moves.
Let yourself stumble across random choreographers and practice some of those feel-good grooves and intricate isolations.
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2. Put Your Dance Playlist On Shuffle
Music is the one tool we absolutely need in order to dance, in order to create.
But you will get stuck and it will suck.
If this happens, take a step back from the song you’re choreographing to, to a different song.
If you’re still stuck when you come back to it.. change the song!
Look up different channels on Pandora or Spotify. Ignite some “feels” by listening to other artists on SoundCloud.
If you want to make unique choreography, listen to unique music.
See Related Article: How To Use SoundCloud To Find Music As A Dancer
Music and mood can go hand-in-hand.
Changing up your song, genre, or artist choice opens your ears and mind to another door you didn’t think to open before.
So mix up your playlist, freestyle to some random songs, and just feel it out.
See Related Article: How To Make Your Moves Match Vocals, with Markus Pe Benito (GRV)
3. Reference Pop Culture
Hm.. Where to find dance inspiration…
EVERYWHERE IN THE WORLD, silly!!!
Let’s examine our culture and the media – where we find wild music videos, thought-provoking books, and popular movies.
See Related Article: Watch Justin Bieber’s PURPOSE: The Movement And You’ll Understand What It Means For Dancers
Example 1: That moment Lady Gaga came out to the VMAs as an.. egg?
Despite our initial WTF reaction, we were able to give Gaga props for straying away from the norm, and wow-ing us with something so …her.
It forced us to admit that, although strange and unexpected, Gaga is strange and unexpected.. and she is unapologetically expressing herself.
Some even came to appreciate her for her avant-garde outfits and antics. Eggcellent.
Example 2: Bruno Mars’ recent music video to “Uptown Funk”- the simplicity and funkiness of its costumes, choreography, and the ‘feel’ of the whole production were just SO ON POINT!
If you watch the choreography, the grooves, head-bobs, and feet-taps, they all point back to the intent of the song- funk.
So whenever you’re stuck and can’t think of any more dance moves to make choreography with, or can’t seem to find the motive behind your movements, keep it simple!
What’s the song saying? Stick to the integrity of the song without overthinking how.
Example 3: If you’re into memoirs, Tina Fey has written about her pursuit of becoming a comedy actress and also an artist of comedy to inspire her hungry readers.
She tells us in Bossypants,
“Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.”
Ain’t that the truth!
Hit up your local bookstore, dive into a book and let your mind filter out those recycled moves that keep replaying in your head.
See Related Article: Overcome Your Dance Fears And Live A Creative Life
If you’re stuck as to how to make a piece, examine other kinds of creations.
Music, fashion, literature – they are all works of art to gain inspiration from.
Being a good choreographer is more than a full-time job.
You can’t ever clock out of your shift, because your artistic mind is working 24/7.
Music, television, reading – this is all brainfood for the eager and creative mind!
4. Express Yourself
Let’s get even more real here.
Why keep going, anyway? What’s the point? Why should you keep choreographing pieces?
Most likely… because you love it.
There’s something inside of you that burns – the need to express, the need to create, the need to be yourself in a different medium.
So when you’re searching for ways to come up with choreography, you can find inspiration sometimes looking inward instead of outward.
Next time you’re out of ammo, inspire YOURSELF.
Choreographing for just you and only you may be the exact therapy you may need. And, it’ll result in you making the most unique choreography you’ve ever made because YOU are one in a million.
Think of your current frustrations at work, school or relationship problems and connect your current state of mind.
Write them down in a journal.
Take a walk.
Share your thoughts with a friend.
Being more self-aware an in tune with yourself, as a whole human being, will allow you to create honest works of art that aren’t just for the sake of teaching your next workshop.
See Related Article: How To Balance Your School Life And Your Dance Life
Let yourself be vulnerable to disappointments and heartache or celebrate the successes in your life.
Allow yourself to move with freedom and transparency.
Honest dancing is beautiful dancing.
You now have a STORY behind your moves, which have power and purpose.
You never know who or what you can influence with the choreography you just created.
See Related Article: Tis The Season Of Thanks: Why I’m Thankful To Be A Dancer
Now go. Get started, get stuck, and get frustrated.
Look for ways, not only on how to be a choreographer, but how to be an ARTIST.
Be someone who thinks beyond the surface, and someone who gets the down to the facts, the feels, dissects them and applies them to their art.
Get out of your comfort zone and take steps to fight to use your mind to see the inspirational world around, outside, and inside you.
This will teach you how to make better choreography, every day.
What are some habits you practice when you run into choreo-block? Comment below and share with us!
Our STEEZY Studio choreographers surely face their challenges, too. But they keep creating awesome pieces that you can learn here!
This article was written by Michelle Shim and originally published in 2016.