This series of opinion pieces about theatre personnel is reprinted with the kind permission of The Lovers, The Dreamers and You. The Lovers, the Dreamers and You consists of some very creative minds. They create a Podcast about passion, inspiration, loving what you do & following your dreams. Read their blog & download their podcast. They can be followed on twitter at @LoversDreamersU
There are lots of skills necessary to be a great Choreographer. Obviously a knowledge of and experience in dance is necessary and in my book, the wider the knowledge base, the greater the scope for creation. Skill as a dancer is also useful, but exceptional skill may not be necessary. Many great Choreographers have become so after dance careers that may have been less than stellar – but their passion for the art form has kept them returning to the craft and led them to find other ways to contribute.
Here’s an interesting article on that take Great Choreographers
For Choreographic work in Theatre the skills are specific. The dance should, whenever possible, further the story or service the plot in some fashion. While the style may still be presentational, it should fit within the world of the play or musical. While I enjoy the acrobatics and technique of a superbly performed routine, I will always appreciate movement that tells us about character and storyline to showy moves. When superb technique is available and can be crafted and utilized to further the character and plot, then exceptional choreography is taking place and can be transformative for the audience.
Knowing when to keep it simple is also a great skill. There are times when the character or performer or moment in the story needs very little movement to garner a reaction with the audience. Knowing how & when to make use of simple movements to “move” and audience is an essential skill for a choreographer.
Speaking a language that the team can understand is vital. Dancers have knowledge of specific terminology and a shorthand that may mean nothing to the Musical Director or the Stage Manager or even some of the performers. A good Choreographer will have the skills to communicate their work and their needs for support in design and vision to the entire production. For example, the ability to read music is essential for strong communication with the team.
The next time you are in an audience, ask yourself to analyse what the choreographer has assembled. Does it speak to you? Did it help you understand or appreciate the story or the characters? Did it “move” you? If so, then you were witnessing some great Choreography.
What makes the best …
It’s a tough job. Sure it can be fun, rewarding and at times even lucrative, but acting is one of the toughest gigs in the whole business of show. Here’s why…
Creativity goes with the entire job – and is vital to every aspect of being a director. You’ve got to be creative in everything you do and always be on the lookout for new ideas.
The best Lighting Designers will read the script. And read it again, and again, and probably again. Their medium is very, very visual and ephemerally so.
Great Costume Designers deal with diva’s who don’t want to wear what has been chosen for them and directors who know exactly what they want and others don’t.
Producers are tough, because no two are alike and no two see their roles the same. Some folks like be very hands off and others demand to be in the thick of the production.
A great Set Designer needs to be able to take their artistic sensibilities and skills and apply them to the whole vision of the show.
A Music Director is in the Director’s corner and has his/her back on the artistic decisions that affect the show. They know how to take that vision and translate it into the music
the show belongs to the Stage Manager. It won’t happen without them. No calls are given, no audience is admitted and no curtain goes up without them.
Good people. That’s what you need more than anything is good people who are willing to give their time to a project. Then you got to let them run with it!
Ceris Thomas is a creative person. She teaches by day – and finds as much creativity in her job as she can and by night, (and during every spare minute she has), she creates through directing/choreographing and performing plays, drawing, writing, podcasting and now, sewing puppets.
She likes to help others find and nurture their creativity and she loves finding out about other people’s path to their own creative projects. The Lovers, The Dreamers and You can be followed on twitter at@LoversDreamersU