Week 3 and Week 4

April 13, 2020

Due April 24th


Dear Students,


                  Please create a dance using one of the following method.  Write a sentence about how you utilized each step of the 10 steps and send it along with a video of your work to

I will critique your dance and you will edit it based on my critique.


                  TSW follow the 10 steps below from  to create a dance:

1. Inspiration

What you see, hear, feel, touch in everyday life can be inspirational fuel for the choreographer.

A captivating piece of music is often a trigger for creativity, but what if you’re handed a piece of music to choreograph and you hate it?

You’ve got to get creative about being creative.

•An experience you’ve had or someone told you

•A story plot you’ve read

•An exploration of an emotion

•A fantastical story from your imagination

•Use the time and place the music was made, as the backdrop for you theme

2. Choose your music and edit

For most choreographers, it starts here. The music to inspire the theme, mood, patterns, highs and lows in your piece.

If you’ve got a 3 minute routine to do and the song is 5 minutes, start EDITING.

When you edit, by deciding which parts you want to keep and which transitions you want to connect will help to get you more familiar with the structure of how your piece will develop.

If your piece doesn’t need to be edited, start listening to it…A LOT.

 And NOT at the studio. Listen to it while you’re driving, as background music at home, while resting in a relaxed state with your eyes closed.

This is not the time to worry about what you’ll choreograph, it’s time to help you FEEL the qualities in the music and get comfortable with it.




3. Choose a theme

Once you’re familiar with the song, it’s time to start honing your overall vision. Is this a story piece? Are you telling the exact story of the lyrics, or are you using them to tell your own descriptive story?

Or is this an abstract piece? Are you being lead more by the feeling of the music than the words? It can still be helpful to find a storyline, even in an abstract piece.

4. Map out your timing

This is for all you logical types out there. This process helps me to choreograph faster for those time when I don’t have the luxury of daydreaming about my dance for a long time.

Email your teachers for examples of how they do this

It helps me focus and see the music ALL AT ONE TIME, on paper. Kinda like a “choreography timing sketch”.

5. Envision the dance

Step back from the minutia of the particular steps and musical breakdown and envision the dance as a WHOLE.

•Does it move around the floor?

•Cover both depth and length?

•Do the transitions make sense?

•Are you mixing the kinds or movements you’re doing? (traveling movements, turning movements, poses, lifts, fast/slow parts)

These details can also be hashed out once you’re working on the piece, but taking an overview as you’re in the process of making the dance is helpful.

6. Account for your skills as a dancer.  How do you move?  What is your strongest sytle?

7. Choose the steps

Refer back to step 5—are you mixing up the kinds of moments you’re doing?

Do you have mandatory movements that need to be used? (ie syllabus patterns)

8. Try it in real life

Utilize Zoom or someone in your household as an audience

9. Check your theme with your choreography

Does this theme make sense? Can the audience relate to it?

No matter whether you’re “selling” a dance, a song, or a life insurance policy, for people to engage, they must be moved emotionally.

Does your dance make them smile, excited, heart-warmed???

 If your dance is to be memorable, you’ve got to impact the HEART.

Think you need world class dancers to touch your audience? Nope.

Will you remember it more than that cookie cutter waltz solo you whipped up for last year’s showcase? Probably.

Each dance you create doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, but at least design it with the intent to touch the heart of the dancer. When the dancer is moved, the audience will be, too.

10. There’s no shame in recycling!

On closer inspection of some of the top choreographers, you’ll find recycling happens.   After all, if a dancer has a “trademark” move or phrase, it only makes sense to repurpose it. Of course, in the case of new dancers, elemental groups of movement are recycled all the time. This isn’t “cheating”, it’s smart and effective.

Do you recycle you own choreography groups? If so, you’re in good company, because illustrious dancers do, too.

And why not? After all,

•if it LOOKS GOOD,

•if it’s a SIGNATURE MOVE of that particular dancer, and

•if it’s CLASSIC, why reinvent the wheel?

HOWEVER, we’re not down with stealing OPC (other people’s choreography). Taking inspiration is one thing, but flat out copying is a no-no.

What’s your method for designing dances? How do you get through creative blocks? What’s your choreography methodology?