Choreographing vs. Being Choreographed

Creating original choreography is thrilling. Discovering a song that just makes my brain keep going until I stop seeing the dance that goes with it. Reading a poem and visualizing bodies expressing it on the stage. An idea that comes out of nowhere that can only be expressed physically. The process can take many forms and be inspired in many ways.

Building original choreography can be a challenge – even if there are many minds at work helping create it. It is being within the body rather than outside. It has been a while since I have been choreographed and I admit that I am enjoying it. In years past, I didn’t believe in myself. I did not believe I could create original works that others would like to see. That doubt still creeps in, but the response to performances have been such that I am believing I have a creative voice in this community and something to contribute. Something that can touch people at a level that they may not be able to express which I have seen throughout the summer. It is amazing to be able to move people.

That being said, there is something amazing about being someone’s instrument – being choreographed. Knowing what it is like being the choreographer – being responsible, exposed, and vulnerable – then giving that over to another person is an exercise in trust. I am handing my reputation, body, and control over to another person. I am giving them carte blanche to do with me as they please. It can go both ways. I can end up being part of something that has the influence of my own work. I can end up being part of something that is fluff.

The process of being choreographed is like being on So You Think You Can Dance – some pieces are epic, some pieces are flops. Regardless of the success in either direction, there is something to be learned from every piece. Even as far back as my childhood, I can recall lessons I learned from that period. If you are being choreographed rather than choreographing, be present. Be aware of your choreographer’s process. Become the instrument they want. Let yourself morph from what you are comfortable being, into something so different that you didn’t know you had in you. Every work is an opportunity to grow and learn if you can let yourself go. Surrender.

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