Using objects in choreography

by J Potter

I’m creating a dance, for my high school modern/contemporary production labeled ‘Art that Moves’ and I have a song and for the most part choreography done, I’m just having trouble connecting it to the theme. I think I want to go along the lines of childhood loss or imaginary friends kind of thing, as the reason for submitting is the graduation of one of my close friends who’s also in the piece. How can I either put a piece of artwork into the piece that goes along with my idea or manipulate it to fit the theme?

First reply: Using objects in choreography

Dear J Potter,

When you say ‘putting and manipulating a piece of artwork’ into your choreography, I understand that you are talking about including an object in your choreography.
Objects in choreography are treated as part of movement, so you create with them as if they where another part of your body. You can move them, but you can also move in relationship to them, as if they where another dancer. The only difference is that they are passive and depend on your movement while dancing. So, to integrate an object in your choreography, continue composing as you have done till now, but including the prop (whatever it is).

One important thing to consider is that objects carry symbolic contents. This means that the audience makes imaginary associations because of their presence. For example, if you use a basket ball in the choreography, the audience may associate the situation with sports, a basketball game, the neighborhood basketball court or so on. For this reason, the type of object you choose may be in itself connected to the theme of your piece, without doing anything else. However, if you don’t want to be very explicit with the symbolic content, but you prefer to propose something of a degree of abstraction, you can choose an object that just has a related feature, like for example the color, the shape, a texture or any kind of sensitive relation to the topic.

Hope this helps.

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