For the final part of my month long performance memory series, I want to talk about some of my favorite choreography from working with my current studio. Our spring recital is tomorrow and its always fun to look back at past recitals.
– “Chinese Warrior”- My second year at my studio I had a private lesson in which I worked with my student to improve her technique in all styles, her favorite being tap. Our recital theme that year was “Around the World” and when I asked her for thoughts on country and dance style, she replied with “a Chinese tap dance”. Definitely a struggle to figure that one out. What ended up was a tap dance with a sword to Chinese drumming. This piece sticks out to me because it certainly made me stretch my choreographic comfort zone and because I was so proud of the progress that my student had made come recital.
-“Circle of Life”- During the same year as the Chinese Warrior dance, I choreographed a modern dance to “Circle of Life” in which the dancers were paired off as different animals. I loved finding ways to incorporate ways to include characteristics for each animal in a large group piece and it allowed me to really highlight each dancer’s strengths.
– ” Sleeping Beauty Waltz”- This was one the first classical pieces that I put my own spin on. I combined my pre-pointe and pointe classes for a larger production to the iconic “Garland dance” as its commonly known. The pre-pointe class made up my corps de ballet and the pointe girls the demi-soloists. I felt as if I was really exposing my students to an important part of ballet history and culture, they had fun dancing with the garlands, and I was quite proud of their performance.
– “Uptown Funk”- Last year, I worked with a small group of beginner pointe girls and we seemed to always find a great balance between hard work and fun in class, so I decided to choreograph something a little more fun than a classical piece for our reality TV themed recital and picked a string quartet version of the popular song. Although I struggled with the choreography (see the post titled “Choreographer’s Block” from last spring), I was very happy with how it turned out. And to top it off, my dancers danced their hearts out on stage. While I am always proud of my dancers’ performances, I was particularly so with this piece because I honestly felt like they had given it their all and could not have danced it any better than they had. All around, a super fun piece that was a huge hit on stage.
I enjoy looking back and seeing not only how my students have grown technically and artistically each year, but also how my own choreographic skills have improved year after year. I look forward to watching this year’s “God Bless America” recital tomorrow and will certainly post about that within the week or so.