What does it mean to be creative?

It’s actually quite simple:

To be creative means… that you create.

It means you make things.

That’s it.

Apologies if this simplicity takes away some of the magic… But being an “artist” can feel so intimidating sometimes.

Perhaps this demystification of “creativity” is exactly what we need to take away some of the pressures of being a choreographer, writer, painter, or musician.

It helps remind us that we’re all just people trying to make cool sh*t.

And YOU!! You want to make your first piece!

Guess what?You totally can and should.

You are 1000% capable, 1000% ready, and 1000% supported by us. Yay!

And to support, here’s some direction on how to start the process. Follow this handy 6-step guide or take the tips and tricks you want from it.

Keep reading and start creating 😉

Step 1: Find a song… and listen to it like CRAZY

Finding the right song is either the easiest or hardest part of choreographing.

Sometimes, you hear a song for the first time and you know. You just know. It’s da juan.

Other times, you have to browse through your entire iTunes library, SoundCloud dashboard, Spotify playlists, and still not feel anything.

See Related Article: How To Use SoundCloud To Find Music As A Dancer

But once you have a song and pick out the section you want to choreograph to, listen to it.

A LOT.

And don’t just listen – listen with intent.

Follow certain sounds in the music to see what you want to dance to. Look up the lyrics to see how you relate to the meaning of the song. Discover hidden hi-hats and riffs that you can highlight.

If you need to cut your music, do that first. Having to wait or skip around to different parts of it can interrupt the flow you are envisioning.

 

Step 2: Get inspired!

Perhaps this isn’t just a “Step 2,” but something we can be practicing every day.

There is inspiration for movement everywhere.

I don’t just mean in YouTube videos. I mean literally – everywhere.

Notice how leaves sway in the wind.

A stranger’s subtle mannerisms.

The twists in a curly fry or bounciness in boba ball.

How the waves in the ocean swell and crash.

The way your dog stretches in the morning.

The world offers infinite inspiration if you decide to be inspired by it.

You can watch all the videos you want, and piece together your favorite moves from your favorite choreographers… but in order to really make something of your own, try and come up with your own ingredients.

See Related Article: 4 Simple Things Choreographers Can Do To Stay Inspired

 

Step 3: Freestyle

Freestyling doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be using these exact moves in your piece. You probably won’t even remember most of what you do.

The point is to let your body respond to the music. Notice how you naturally groove to certain sounds, so that you can build your choreography around it.

If you notice something you like or come up with a combination, remember it to use.

See Related Article: 5 Dance Tips To Begin Your Freestyle Foundation

If you’re in a rut, check out this video:

Our Dancer Ranter gives tips on how to create unique movement in freestyle and choreography.

Step 4: Start piecing combos together via chunking

You probably decided to choreograph to the song because you noticed certain sections that you thought would look dope on the body.

Is it a climax? A breakdown? An instrumental interlude? Or even like, a split second bass combo?

Whatever it is, start from the part that you’re super into. You don’t have to choreograph chronologically from beginning, middle, and end.

You can choreograph in chunks that come easier, then build the rest of the piece around it.

If you’ve freestyled to it enough, then you will already have a good idea of how you want to shape the piece.

When you have all the movement down, piece it together by setting those in-between sections.

It’s important to not throw away those sections, either! Just because it’s not a crazy breakbeat doesn’t mean it doesn’t have potential to look amazing. Sometimes it’s those slower moments that are the most memorable. Create those movements with intent!

 

Step 5: Polish your execution of the moves

A lot of us have the problem of making choreography that looks good in our heads.. But not our bodies.

At that point, it’s a matter of practice. You have to make sure your body is capable of following what your mind envisioned it to do.

Some refer to this as “cleaning” or “setting,” which involves looking at certain pictures of your body, pathways between points, or drilling quick combinations.

See Related Article: How To Execute Choreography Better By Utilizing Your Body With Carlo Darang (Choreo Cookies)

When you choreograph, imagine you’re choreographing full-out. Meaning, don’t do a move halfway and think that you’ll be able to piece things together at the end.

How you practice is how you will execute, and how you choreograph will be how the piece looks.

Let body rolls go allll the way through your body. If you want a plie somewhere, really bend those knees. If you’re doing floorwork – well, good luck. Do it all the way.

 

Step 6: Make edits

Novelist Ernest Hemingway once (eloquently) said, “The first draft of anything is sh*t.”

There are probably moments within your piece that are perfect to you. Don’t change those. If that came from a real place during your creative process, keep it.

But the assembly of the piece as a whole is probably a bit rough around the edges, especially if this is your first time choreographing.

Don’t worry if it’s not exactly what you wanted it to be – you can work your way there!

You do this by trying out variations of movements, scrapping some sections, changing directions or adding floorwork – whatever you feel is necessary to “edit” the piece.

And honestly? That’s what makes creating so fun. Trying things. Saying “Nope, not that,” or “YES oh my god, it worked!”

It’s supposed to take multiple drafts! Just keep editing until you’re done.

 

“Until you’re done”… Well, when are you “done”?

Many of us are perfectionists and find it hard to feel that a piece is truly complete. We keep thinking, “It could be better! It could be better!”

While it’s awesome to try and keep improving your piece, there comes a point where you have to say “Yep, it’s finished.”

This point is not necessarily when the piece feels perfect. It may never feel perfect. But if you feel proud of it, go ‘head. Give yourself a pat on the back. Record the piece. And share it with us!

Did this help you start choreographing? If you have choreographed before, how did you approach the process your first time? Comment below to share with us!

Even your favorite choreographers on STEEZY Studio started with their first piece ever – and now they’re teaching all around the world! Sign up to start taking class for free!