Choreography Tips & Tricks
Part 4: Editing & Problem Solving

Originally published Aug 28, 2017, on burlesquer Aurora Wilde’s blog.

Photo by Skye Studios on Unsplash

You feel so inspired! You have so many ideas! Too bad you can’t put all of them into one costume or one 5 minute piece. The end result would be a mess of incongruous things slapped together in far too few seconds to process them all.

It can be hard to let go of ideas that excite you, but you have to step outside of yourself and objectively assess whether or not the idea works for your scenario, or would be better used in another piece. Does this idea add to the piece as a whole? Does it bring something new that wasn’t already present? Does it have anything to do with the rest of the storyline or does it just look cool? Answering these questions can help you realize what to keep and what to cut.

Photo by Billetto Editorial on Unsplash

Unsatisfied with your choreography? Experiencing choreographer’s block? Try experimenting with what you’ve got, changing one thing at a time.

Change your facing so that you’re not distracted by the mirror. Still stuck? Try your choreo with different music. Nothing? Change the pace, levels, the order of your moves, etc. Ask “What would happen if I did the whole thing backwards?” and give it a try. Maybe you won’t find what you’re looking for, but maybe you’ll get inspired and get out of that rut.

An outside eye is someone who is not affiliated with your project. It’s easy to get stuck inside your own head when creating, and hard to see what you are making from an outside perspective.

Invite an outsider to view your work and provide honest feedback. Did they get that subtle reference you made? Did they laugh at the things you thought were funny? Can they tell that you are struggling to fill up time before the big finale? Find out and tweak your choreo before you hit the stage.

Frustrated with that costume piece that keeps falling off before it’s supposed to? Can’t figure out how to end your piece? When you’ve exhausted every option and still can’t find a solution, it helps to just walk away. Work on something else, take a break, and come back fresh another day.

Personally, I find there’s usually an obvious solution that I missed because I was preoccupied with something else. After leaving and not thinking about it for a day or two, it seems so simple when I come back!

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.