Knowing the mistakes to avoid when choreographing dance will save you a lot of time and will likely prevent a few headaches throughout your creative process. These mistakes were brought to my attention through experiences of my own and witnessing them from other choreographers. So, for the sake of saving you time I thought I would share them with you; starting with the absolute biggest one…
Trying to please others / worrying about what others think
To most of my readers who are either pole dance competitors or pole dance / dance enthusiasts – understand that you will never please everyone with the theme of your work or the tricks / movement you include so don’t even try. Obviously if you are a competitor, you have set criteria to adhere to, but the rest is up to YOU. Creating with the intention to please yourself will probably please the people / judges anyway because your work will offer something more authentic.
However, if you are being paid to create a new dance work, there is likely going to be a bit of direction from the person / company who hired you – obviously take this on board, but remember that they like your style and that is why they hired you. Don’t panic about pleasing them too much. Just do what you do with a hint of their voice in mind.
Creating to the exact beat of the track
If you do exactly 8 movements per 8 counts of a song you are going to end up getting bored very easily. Play around with the timing instead. Hold a pose for an extra few counts, be still for a couple of seconds. If you really listen to a track you will find interesting accents in the sound that can really link to your movement, offering even the most simple movement an extra special something.
Here is a very useful link on counting music for dance.
Not Using the Space
What I mean by space is the floor area around the pole. Unless you’re using a swinging pole, pole dance is not strictly aerial. I’m not saying you should be using every square inch of the stage if you have no reason to, but it would be nice to see how you move away from the pole too. Walk, then develop this walk to a run, then a roll, then a jump etc. Using more of the space offers the body a very short rest and makes what you do on the pole look much more impressive.
Too many tricks
Ask any pro dancer and they will tell you to avoid trying to include every trick that you know into a routine. Simplicity works best in any genre of dance including pole. If you really want to leave an audience in awe of your choreography you have to give them a bit of time to take it in. Their brain needs time to process the movement and to make sense of what is happening. Think about what you remember most about a recent performance and that should remind you to keep it simple.
Not having a reason for being in the studio
Everyone reaches a mental block when they are going through the creative process. It is suggested by world class choreographer, Twyla Tharp, that you should have some sort of solid reason as to what your dance is about, the subject you are exploring or what you are doing it for. So before you get into the studio, print off a bit of research regarding your theme, have a list of some basic dance / pole movements and also have a reason why you want to complete this dance. Even if it’s not for a performance, you can still create a full dance for your own enjoyment.
Would you add anything to this list? Tell me about your experiences in the comments or email firstname.lastname@example.org