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Self Reflection on Choreographed Performance

937 words (4 pages) Essay in Theatre

18/05/20 Theatre Reference this

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The choreographic intention for my performance was based on the ballet Peter Pan; to explore Peter and Tinkerbelle’s sporadic friendship. It can be seen as an allegory for the modern world – that it’s ok to drift away from and come back to friends over time. This is especially resonant to the target audience, teenagers, as these changes are very common in this age group.

Our choreographic process began from listening to the song Lost Boy by Ruth B as we saw a clear link between the song and ballet stimulus, as the song was written originally to represent Peter Pan and Tinkerbelle first meeting. After listening to the song, we recognised the link between the song’s lyrics and our intention and saw choreographic potential in the song through the manipulation of spatial relationships and linking between lyrical and hip-hop movement. We decided to separate and work on our own sections of the dance and come back together to share them and interconnect the separate parts into one succinct performance.

Within my section, the most prominent idea was how Peter and Tinkerbelle separate and come back together, rather than how they met, (which Zoe mostly explores). In my section, there are many moments of ‘counterbalance’, meaning; “one or more dancers combining their weight in stillness to achieve a movement or design that is interdependent” (Jordanf81312, 2016). These moments symbolically represent the original stimulus by showing their moments of coming together and sharing their weight and then separating again. This idea of contact and space in between the two characters is a motif throughout the entire section and represents their changing relationship and was used as the movement foundation.

To create the movement of this piece, I began by simply playing music and improvising to whatever song came on; making mental notes of which movements I liked and/or could transplant directly into the storyline (music visualisation). Armed with the concepts of relationships and space in my mind, along with the freestyle work I had just completed, I started to choreograph to the selected song. As a dancer, the best way for me to choreograph is to take a move and repeat it, building off of it to ‘go deeper’ into the movement and kinaesthetically move into a new shape, (creating the next move). Taking moments from my freestyle, I repeated this process to choreograph my section.

Whilst creating movement sequences, I found that I was often moving slowly on the beat, juxtaposed with moments of fast, hard hitting hip-hop movements. For example, in one section, I drag my hands across my chest, touching the four extremities on the beats ‘one-and-a-two-and-a’ whilst facing away from Tinkerbelle, then turning back and moving into the counterbalance motif for six full counts. This movement sequence, (based on the element of time), links back to the intention of conveying how the character’s relationship quickly changes from spats of anger (beats 1-3) to caring (beats 3-8). The counterbalance motif also explores dynamics through weight and the sharing of energy through physical contact to show their relationship rebuilding.  Within this same sequence, space was also manipulated as we, at some point, face to all four sides of the stage whilst manipulating the directional space between us. This links back to the intention as it shows how an argument takes place causing temporary separation before coming back together – representing their friendship’s development. These movements were built from the original intention and improvisations and were selected due to their hip-hop roots and story-telling potential as well as their quick changes of tempo and therefore; emotion.

From the creative development process, I felt that the original version of the song did not have the necessary upbeat tempo and background beats that were needed to create a lyrical hip-hop dance piece. Due to this, we researched a new version of Lost Boy and found the version: Abstract – Neverland (ft. Ruth B) (Prod. Blulake). Using this version of the song, we were able to maintain the original storyline whilst also allowing hip-hop movement to flow with the hip-hop music’s elements. The movement in the dance sometimes disassociates from the music, (especially in the dance-hall based section), to increase the physical tempo of the dance, therefore heightening the tension and intent.

Upon reflection of the creative development process, I believe that I clearly communicated Peter Pan and Tinkerbelle’s sporadic friendship. By manipulating the elements of dance such as time, space and dynamics along with the motif of counterbalance, I was able to convey the intention clearly. The biggest challenge that I encountered was being unavailable for rehearsals outside of class time, however we overcame this by preparing our choreography outside of class time, meaning that we could effectively use our in-class time solely for rehearsals. By reflecting on the video recordings of the dance throughout the process, we were able to refine our work and push it to the highest standard. In a future version of this dance, I would explore how to transplant movement directly from the ballet into the performance, rather than just my own movement. From this assignment, my dance craft has developed as I now have a deeper understanding of the dance elements, creative process and collaborative dance skills and I will re-use many of these skills in future performances.

Works Cited

  • Jordanf81312, 2016. Modern Dance Vocabulary. [Online]
    Available at: https://quizlet.com/120768829/modern-dance-vocabulary-flash-cards/
    [Accessed 7 June 2019].
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