I talk about this concept all the time: one of the most beautiful things about art is its ability to inspire people, move people, allow people to experience something new. That is a truly amazing opportunity that artists have. And it’s an incredibly difficult opportunity to seize. As an artist, how can you ensure that you communicate your ideas to your audience? And how do you use those ideas to INSPIRE your audience? Today I’m sharing my top 5 ways to create inspiring choreography.
- KNOW YOUR GOALS
The first step of creating inspiring choreography is knowing WHAT you want to inspire in another person. What do you want to accomplish through this piece of art? What is your purpose for creating this dance? How do you want your audience to feel? What do you want your audience to take away from the piece? How do you want to communicate that to them? I like to break the purpose for any piece of art down into 3 parts: Concept, Message, and Story. Taking the time to pin down all three of these elements will make sure that you really know your goals and how to accomplish them. To learn more about purpose, read this blog post.
- INSPIRE ONE PERSON
Instead of trying to appeal to a faceless mass of people who make up your audience, focus on communicating with one person. As an audience member, it’s much more powerful to feel that a piece of art is speaking directly to you rather than to a large group of people. So ask yourself what you can do as you create to draw each individual person into the story and allow them to have their own experience. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine you are experiencing the piece from their perspective. What makes sense and what doesn’t quite connect? What draws an individual person into the world of the piece? Remember, you can’t inspire a group of people without starting with one person.
- TAKE YOUR AUDIENCE ON THE JOURNEY
For an audience member to truly feel invested in your piece, they need to go on the journey with you. This means that every member of the audience feels that they are a part of the story, and they are experiencing the story rather than just observing it. The audience needs to not only understand, but experience and feel every plot point and change in emotion in the piece. This will allow them to discover the message of the piece rather than have it told to them. Needless to say, discovering a message makes it MUCH more powerful than if someone just tells it to you.
- TELL UNIVERSAL STORIES
Inspiring choreography gives people new experiences by rooting them in universal experiences. The example I like to use is that not everyone in your audience has had the experience of their boyfriend cheating on them; what everyone has experienced is a betrayal of trust. By using the universal story of a betrayal of trust, you can allow your audience members to empathize and experience new emotions for something they have never personally experienced. Through this emotional experience, you can inspire your audience members and communicate your message more powerfully.
- USE EMOTION
One of the few things that connects every human being is emotion. That makes emotion an AMAZING tool for connecting with an audience full of human beings. Emotional connections tend to make people vulnerable, which means they’ll be more open to new experiences and new ideas. Used properly, emotion can be one of the most effective ways to communicate with people on a deeper, more visceral level. The key to using emotion in dance is to make sure that the emotion is folded into the story. Emotion for emotion’s sake is not inspiring, it’s just exhausting. What is inspiring is when the emotion allows the audience to connect with the events of your piece on a more personal level.
These are truly some of the BEST tools I’ve found for creating inspiring choreography. But the only way to truly learn how to use them is through PRACTICE. So get out there and start creating!