Making Choices: Reflecting on Composition 2 and Dance Downtown 2014

This composition class required first that we make decisions, regarding our bodies, the space, and music. I learned that composing consists of a series of decisions; so a good choreographer has to feel comfortable having opinions. Susan Hadley, our wonderful teacher, reminded us countless times about observing other work: “how you felt about the piece is going to dictate what type of choreographer you will be.” Having opinions and taking a stance stands at the heart of this process. This does not mean every piece has to have some profound message or take a stance on an important social or political issue. It means that the decisions made in the piece have to be clear ones. If you want your dancers stage right, put them there! Do not have default settings (AKA center stage, 8 ft. apart). Making clear choreographic decisions differs from having clean choreography—which means that “messy” can be choreographed as well as, “hectic,” “dangerous” and “accidental.” This changed the way I think about choreography and helped me to find the power of just doing something. The string of potentiality stretches long and comes down to nothing more than a series of decisions, made and edited. The choreographers of Dance Downtown 2014 made many different and interesting choices in each of their respective pieces.

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