Choreography Tips & Tricks
Part 3: Games

Originally published Aug 21, 2017, on burlesquer Aurora Wilde’s blog.

Photo by Tachina Lee on Unsplash

There are many ways to ignite creativity. Some rely on following a set of instructions, like this technique:

Make a list of body parts and create a sequence of movements based on that list.

Example: left hand, head, hips, both hands, feet, knees

Start the movement with your left hand. From there, what can you do with your head? Then your hips? Each cue could lead to only one motion or a series of them branching off from one another. This is a quick and easy way to create a short sequence that might inspire new movements or pathways you otherwise wouldn’t have thought of.

Photo by Riho Kroll on Unsplash

Leaving the choreography up to chance is a technique often used in Contemporary Dance. Imagine if someone were to perform a burlesque piece in this way; They might take off garments based on whichever one is pulled out of a hat. Maybe they would have to take their panties off before their pants! This would certainly be entertaining for the audience, and probably something they haven’t seen before.

The game could be performed live, or used in the studio to foster creativity.

Or, a kind of ‘Yes, and’, if you will. You can take movements or poses from photographs, performers, dance styles, etc. and then use them as inspiration to create your own movements.

For my piece Sinner Saint, I used images of iconic statues and paintings, like The Birth of Venus, to create poses for my character. Then I choreographed the moments before and after those poses.

You can also do this with a partner. Person 1 goes first, improvising one or several movements. Person 2 takes part of what person 1 did, modifies it, and then adds to it, creating something entirely different. What you take from your partner can be anything, such as their path through space, their rhythm, which body part they used, etc.

Read Part 4.

Hi! I'm an artist and writer, currently working as a marketer for Ballet BC. I write reviews of theatre and dance shows in Vancouver, and sometimes books, too.