Tuesdays and Tutus

Guess who is inspired to choreograph again?

I’ve been trying to dance to this song for a while now, but have not managed to get much more than one or two counts of eight. Today however my creative juices were replenished while taking a contemporary class with Enzo Celi, a guest choreographer invited to our school for a workshop lesson. I’m not sure what it was, whether it was his Italian charm that made me remember my passion for choreography, his European flair and accent that reminded me of home, or his free and flowy choreography similar to those I cherish in my memories from my classes back home.

Whatever triggered my creativity, I’m glad it did; school work has slowly been getting to me and on top of that dance was slowly becoming an unnecessary chore and time-waster that I would sometimes even consider skipping (GASP) for an extra hour of sleep or study. Now I’m feeling the total opposite, with any small dance step barely quenching my thirst for new sequences and ideas! I’m all bubbly with energy and constantly eager to get to the studio to dance. I even showed parts of my ideas so far to my friends in my Uggs while walking to class – but come to think of it when don’t I dance in wide open spaces?

I’ll be posting a video of my dance up soon (not in Uggs!) I have an amazing dancer friend here who will be helping me out with the partnering (yes, I am planning it as a pas de deux! :))

With attitude and nail polish, Anoushé xoxo

 

Funky Friday

Today is Saturday which means that yesterday was Funky Friday!

DANCE!

DANCE!

So far we have looked at music and what choreography means to me. Today we will take one step away from my personal affiliation and dive more into the stone cold facts. Let’s take up music one more time..

So let’s say you’ve done the grueling task of finding your music. That’s checked off your list; vital part number one is done. So now what..? Well, it’s time to create! And depending on how you wish to perform your piece there are various ways of setting forth…

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1. You are choreographing a solo for yourself. You must know the choreography, no one else matters.
2. You are choreographing for others

OK so choreographing for yourself doesn’t take much more than your brain and great memory, and maybe some pens and paper to help you out. You decide how it should be and can adjust your moves accordingly. No one will be around to contradict or criticize – you are your own boss.

JAZZ HANDS!

JAZZ HANDS!

Great.

But most choreographers don’t work that way. Most choreographers wish to create for the masses, i.e. get amazing dancers to learn the routine and dance, dance, dance the night away in front of thousands and thousands of people. They want their name known, not so much as a dancer, but more as a choreographer! I am different that way, I’d rather do both, create and perform, but that’s just cause I MUST be in the spotlight… which we will deal with another time…;)

Dance

Dance

Let’s assume you are trying to choreograph for others. Your students must be able to understand and translate your vision into their own moves and display what you want to see to the pointe (tihiii 🙂 )

You shrug and think that’s simple, cause all you have to do is stand in front and show them what to do, right? Well maybe you’re right, but in my experience it is tough! I don’t think that’s just me…

Teaching a class..in Tango/HipHop

Teaching a class..in Tango/HipHop

I’ve been told that I’m a total fuzzle head. My brain goes haywire when it comes to dance-creating and I’m always 5 steps ahead rather than being at the actual move. That’s not very productive when trying to explain what my choreography is. So working with me is..well..difficult.

Oozing with ideas which is technically good, can easily backfire. These random thoughts don’t always go down well with normal human beings. Somehow they are unable to understand the craziness of what is also known as my brain. When they don’t get what I want and they aren’t performing what I had envisioned I get frustrated. Painstakingly so..

..meltdowns might happen..

Meltdown..

Meltdown..

Impatience and unorganized thoughts do not go together, so in my experience of my previous choreographic conundrums, I have learned some vital old-man wisdom: write down your thoughts and organize them before even considering to teach other people. Sure, if you get a spontaneous idea during a class, be my guest and incorporate it into the existing choreography. Just make sure the base of the choreography is well prepared and ORGANISED! Don’t keep wanting more and more and more, the others don’t have that wide an attention span to take in all your creative info..

Exactly how to organise your thoughts we will look at next time 🙂 Until then,

With attitude and nail polish, Anoushé xoxo

Funky Fridays

Tomorrow means three things: 1. I get to see Prince live in concert. 2. I’ve gotta finally clean up my room 3. I get to see Natalie Cole Live at Sunset tonight.. Oh and one more thing..it’s the weekend!

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The amazing Natalie Cole, who even sang a tribute to my idol, Michael Jackson!

The amazing Natalie Cole, who even sang a tribute to my idol, Michael Jackson!

Another week has passed. My, oh my doesn’t time fly.. the days seemingly end at lightning speed between my hours at work and my frequent training afterwards. It seems like just yesterday I started my intensified program and finally, 6 months later, I feel like I am making actual progress in dance.

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Despite dancing ballet since I was 3, I only ever went to class once a week until a few years ago when I started to go 2 or three times. I was never amused by the technique. It was so rigid and disciplined that it was more the creative side, choreography, that I fell in love with. And it’s this love and its development I wish to bring you closer with in today’s post.

young me at a ballet performance

young me at a ballet performance, source: operah0use balletschule

Starting very young, I began to develop a bossy personality that would force lead my friends to perform numerous shows filled with twists and turns to the latest Spice Girls song. This tendency to create dances walked with me, hand in hand, throughout my life. It is probably one of my most important traits, something that truly makes me, me.

Upton house performance...notice the red slippers :D

Upton house performance…notice the red slippers 😀

In pre-primary, as mentioned above, my friends and I would dress up in costumes and perform a variety of moves we learned in front of my mom’s camera. As a first grader I choreographed to ‘Bring it all back’ by S club 7 for my whole class (20 children I believe) and we performed that at a mini play back show in front of parents and the rest of the school. In retrospect, I think this was my big break as a choreographer, because a few years later I was even asked to create a dance for the school’s 10 year anniversary!
It was around then that I started to enjoy HipHop dance more than classical ballet. By that point I had already taken 3 RAD ballet exams and had upped my lessons to twice a week, which is sadly still amateurish and not enough to become more professional. I also took street dance classes at school, which I really enjoyed, and decided that I wanted to pursue that style more.

My mom found a hiphop teacher near our home, where I – to this day – dance every single Thursday. Initially as a beginner, gradually improving and finally joining the performing ‘show group’! In HipHop I found an easier way to express myself through choreography; the steady beats of the hip and current songs were more inspiring than anything classical for me as a teen, and I used much of my ballet basics to improve the quality of my moves.

plié

plié

HipHop remained a much more constant activity than ballet. I grew tired of the finical need for perfection in ballet and no longer had the patience or discipline to work on my technique. I drifted further and further into the more relaxed world of urban dance, deciding to combine it with a newly learned tango rather than better-known ballet (which would’ve been such a cliché anyways!) for my senior thesis. It was then – while practicing for countless hours and wanting ultimate perfection for my own performance – that I realized my discipline in dance was back. My ambition for perfection had returned. That’s when I started to frequent the ballet studio more often, trying to make up for lost time.

Attitude with a Plié

Attitude with a Plié

And with this newly found necessity to have outstanding technique, my longing for urban hiphop is slowly leaving, being replaced by jazz dance and modern, swapping sneakers for pointe shoes… weird how that happens..

Recently I took things even further. I realized that in order for me to become the choreographer I one day hope to be, I knew I had to successfully complete my ballet training first. No more choosing jazz over pointe, modern over barre.. what use is a beautiful choreography if it cannot be performed to it’s full potential because I am lacking the proper basics? I have a new goal in sight and will be giving myself a year to achieve it.

Tombé in to fourth position, after a pirouette

Tombé in to fourth position, after a pirouette

My goal is not to become a prima ballerina. Neither is it to be a jack of all trades. I wish to choreograph, to create, to intertwine various dance styles, incorporating moves from everywhere while remaining inspired to pursue my passion. As soon as I feel there is a force behind my dancing, a ‘I must’, then I will reevaluate things again and ask myself whether the path I chose was the right one.

Ultimately this is what I wish; to master many styles, but remain joyful in doing so, and gradually create choreographies dancers will love to learn. My dream is to see my name in spotlights, my routine on stage, screaming audiences clapping and smiling…and I believe that my first step in achieving this is to build a proper ballet basis to grow from.

So bear with my people, while I try and get my arabesque higher, my turn-out wider, and my back-bend deeper and stay tuned while I continue down my path to becoming – what could have been – one of Michael Jackson’s choreographers 😉 (he is one of my all-time dance idols!)

With attitude and nail polish, Anoushé xoxo

Beginning of the End

Youuuuu guuuuuuuuuuuys! This is my last week of dance class before the schools close for the summer! As of next week I get to attend some awesome workshops instead though! Woopwooooop!

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I am really starting to feel a wave of nostalgia coming on; tomorrow is my very last hiphop class with my performance group! I’ve been dancing at that studio for 8 years, joining the performers a mere 3 years after starting out. They’ve been like family to me and my experience there has drastically helped improve my choreography skills. I was allowed to teach a lesson for practice, learned a lot about stage presence by performing and picked up on urban dance skills that, in retrospect, definitely formed my passion for jazz and modern. What’s more, if it hadn’t been for them, I would’ve never pulled my dissertation performance together; they were my dancers, my performers, my number 1 critics (I will write extensively about that when the time is right 😉 )

My performance crew...! Going to miss them soo much!

My performance crew…! Going to miss them soo much!

As tradition has it, a leaving dancer must bring in a baked good to help ease the pain of losing a fellow friend. 🙂 I’ve been wracking my brain for ideas all day, and have decided to buy something delicious to take with me, as my baking skills often fail me, although I luuuuurv to bake (I don’t get much more practice than the annual Christmas cookie bake-a-thons, but hopefully that will soon change!). More about tomorrows class on Thursday..

A massive VEGAN chocolate chip cookie just before going in to the oven..

A massive VEGAN chocolate chip cookie just before going in to the oven..

Today was also my last regular class at my other dance school before the workshops start, as on Friday I am going to a very special concert and will not be able to go to barre à terre and jazz! So today, I was extra jazzed for a double jazz power session! 😉 The classes were both amazing, teaching incredible choreographies and offering me great advice for the future. It was a great way to end the dance semester!

Jazz Hands!

Jazz Hands!

Last night I prepared a delicious portion of Creamy Earl Grey Oats for sustainable energy. Yumm! I think I might have overdosed on the chia this time though..oh and I forgot the vanilla! Oh well..I used some maple syrup instead 😉 I have to say, they were absodoodally scrumptious and extremely filling!

look at them oats!

look at them oats!

So that’s all for now folks! Will be back tomorrow with more nostalgia and a new recipe! Also, stay tuned if you want to learn some Swiss german!

With love and nail polish, Anoushé xoxo

Funky Friday

Funky Fridays

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit’s Friday, it’s Friday, it’s Friday, it’s Friday!

Finally! The long awaited, way overdue, but extremely short weekend! We missed you old friend!

Now..I can catch up on the sleep I've missed because I was sleeping..

Now..I can catch up on the sleep I’ve missed because I was sleeping..

Being a working girl who needs her beauty sleep, I am suffering from a major sleep deficiency! I honestly don’t know how I did it all those years at school.. How was I able to study until 1 (which happened more often in my last year), wake up at 6.30, go to school without any caffeine – other than a tumbler of earl grey tea – and manage to go to dance afterwards? It must be the old age creeping up on me… 😉

Today, my days are more like hitting snooze 10 times, rolling out of bed, getting dressed half asleep and then gradually waking up over the course of the day. I do end up with hyperactive spurts of energy right before my dance class, which is great for my progress there, but it doesn’t help being a walking zombie at work! It’s a vicious circle…

Yaaaaaawn, you are boring me!

Yaaaaaawn, you are boring me! I just want to watch So You Think You Can Dance and sleep!

Anyhoo…todays post is all about choreography, and over the course of the next couple of weeks, whenever you see a Funky Friday post, it will mean choreography..yaaaaaaaaay!! 😉

Teaching a class..

Teaching a class..

As an aspiring choreographer/dancer/writer/publisher/PR and Marketing person (yes I am very confused..), I absorb all the tips and tricks I can find, to hopefully one day master the beautiful art of dance making (among all other interests..). So guys, if you’ve got any tips and tricks, don’t hesitate to let me know! I’d love to hear about your insights.
In these posts I will try to bring you closer to my knowledge of how the process of choreography works. Step by step, I’ll walk you through the various stages I have personally always found necessary in order to create a successful and appealing dance .

Dance outfit!

Dance outfit!

So let’s hop to it. I said, a hip hop the hippie the hippie, To the hip hip hop, a you don’t stop (This just fit..didn’t it? 🙂 Do you know this song?)

On that note, let me reveal what we will focus on today: Music.

What part of my current Dance playlist looks like

What part of my current Dance playlist looks like

If asked for an estimate, I’d probably say I’ve got about 50 songs saved under the playlist ‘dance’, that I could imagine making up a choreography too. But as with my food preferences, I tend to go through various music phases and feel more drawn to a certain song, certain style or even certain singer, depending on my mood. I’ve had cases where I’d start a choreography, only to abandon it for the creation of a new, completely different one as soon as the going get’s tough and I’m lacking creativity. I’m so terribly fickle, that if songs were people, they’d probably hate me! (Don’t hate the player hate the game! Not my fault I don’t have oozles of ideas..)

Personal music tendencies aside, I do honestly think having a couple of songs at the ready could always come in handy, for when you are needed to choreographically create a masterpiece with limited prep time… But for larger projects, where you are not under time pressure, you probably can – and need to – focus on one song at a time. So how do I pick that song..?

Dance

Dance

There is no right or wrong answer here. Some like to start choreographing when they have found the perfect song, others choreograph to their own beat and then start searching for a song that embodies their vision. You might even begin something to one song but find a cooler one later on and decide to switch to that instead! Basically, there is no limit when it comes to creative possibilities! You just have to feel that the song fits, and when it does, the choreography-juices will just start flowing! If creating the dance becomes more of a chore than a pleasure, 80 % of the time it means you’ve got the wrong song! Pushing yourself to stick to one song in particular, rather than choosing a song that is more suitable for the dance you envision, does not make help the process!. So if a couple of weeks you find you are stuck at 3 counts of eight and cannot think of anything…switch! Find a better, more fitting song that speaks to you! If you don’t feel it, don’t choreograph it! Music is what inspires most dances…

Dancing in my people clothes :)

Dancing in my people clothes 🙂

So in a nutshell, try and find a couple of songs you think you could choreograph something to. If you know what style of dance, it will help narrow down the music selection (but that doesn’t mean you can’t dance hiphop to tango!

HipHop meets Tango..

HipHop meets Tango..

(I did that, but more about that some other time..)). Once you’ve started and find it doesn’t fit, then keep on searching. Use YouTube for inspiration or iTunes Genius to find a similar song, if that’s what you are after..options are endless! And don’t forget, in a worst case scenario you can always make a remix of the various songs you have been able to create short dances to, and make one huge mega mash-up of all that!

Until next time…with attitude and nail polish, Anoushé xoxox