We’ve all heard of writer’s block, but did you know about dancer’s block? Oh yeah, it’s a thing. Especially in choreography. I’m grateful that I’ve come to a point in my own dancing where I experience this less and less, but I’m still learning and discovering new ways to be creative with choreography. Here are a few ideas on how to avoid this dreaded dancer’s block:
Find a strong topic or idea you feel emotionally connected to. Every dance I’ve ever choreographed has come from an idea I felt connected to. Depending on your own personal style, it can be anything! Personally, I’ve found some interesting things to inspire my choreography. One of my favorite works was inspired by my fear of spiders. I’ve always been intrigued by them, and I love the way they move, but they’re so creepy! I used that feeling and channeled it into a fun, quirky movement phrase.
Research other’s work. I remember in college whenever I would get writer’s block, what really helped me was finding inspiration through other’s works. I would just start reading until sparked within me. I use this same concept with dance choreography. At this point, every dance move came from someone else’s choreography, so I feel it is more than okay to be inspired by other people’s movement. DISCRETION: I do not mean to completely copy someone’s choreography, that would be disrespectful to the choreographer. But maybe there’s a certain way they use movement quality or floor work that you admire, for example. What I would do is start by mimicking a particular movement phrase, and then seeing how you could change it to make it unique to your own style.
Find an empty, open space (like a studio, if possible) and put on a piece of music that you really enjoy. There’s something magical about an empty dance studio. If I ever find that I’m really struggling for choreography, I’ll go to the studio and put on something that makes me want to move. Then I’ll just spend some time improving until inspiration hits. This may take 10 minutes, or it might take an hour; be patient with yourself and give yourself time to get the body moving and the creative juices flowing.
There are plenty of other ways to avoid dancer’s block, these just happen to be the ones that work best for me. Please feel free to share your experiences with dancer’s block and ideas you have 🙂