Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How to choose music

At the Healing Arts Centre this summer, we are working how to create a choreography.  Even if you aren't taking the class, you may find this useful.  Just think, you can start working on your dance for fall semester now!

Often, the hardest part of creating a dance is choosing the music.  The easy answer is to pick something you like but in reality, it doesn't work that way.  Some points to consider:
  • Length - is there a maximum length?  Or is there a length you are more comfortable with?  Remember that it takes a very good dancer to keep a crowd's attention for more than 3 or 4 minutes.
  • What style are you looking for? You can often find multiple versions of older songs that each have a different feel
    • Traditional (could be a full classic orchestra sound, a simple more rustic sound, or folkloric)
    • Tribal (traditional sounding or folkloric)
    • Pop (could be run of the mill pop or shaabi)
  • What feeling do you want  your dance to have?  Soft and fluid, sharp with lots of accents, a full orchestra, the simplicity of just a few instruments?  Are there props you want to incorporate?
  • Variation and Repetition - Do you want a song with lots of repetition?  What about a mix of slow and fast or different rhythms?
If I can't choose at first, I narrow it down to 2 or 3 songs and listen to them repeatedly.  If one still does not jump out at me, I start dancing to them and see which one feels more natural.

Homework - 2 things
1.  Start listening to Middle Eastern music.  Find 2 minutes or more of a song you like to work with this summer.  Try to have it narrowed down by the end of May.
2.  Browse YouTube and email me the link to one clip of bellydance that inspires you.  Jot a sentence about why this one grabbed your attention.  It can be to any music and any style - just pay attention to what moves you.