Where Do You Choreograph?


This one is for all the choreographers out there. No matter what style of dance you may do, at the end of the day, somebody has to come up with the routine, think of ideas, and make them work. Before I started choreographing, I would always picture it being done in a dance studio with the music playing. What I found out once I started doing it was, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Eminem 8 Mile

Eminem - 8 Mile

For those that have seen Eminem’s movie 8 Mile, I relate it most to his character. Specifically, the train scene where he is writing down ideas and notes as he sees things. It sends the message that what he does is always on his mind. It never ends. The same is true for me when I am trying to come up with Bhangra Empire’s next routine. People on the team have heard me say, many times, that practice never ends for me. This is because the routine is always on my mind. How can I make it better? What can I change to make it cleaner? What can I add to make it more entertaining? Will the formations work? So this got me thinking, where do I choreograph? The high level answer is everywhere. But if I had to choose 3 places where I get most of my choreography done, they would be as follows:

1) My bed before going to sleep – This is probably where I figure out most of the details. It may surprise some of you that this is without music. It helps me think clearer and distracts me less. This is also a VERY bad habit. There will be times where I won’t be able to sleep for 2 hours because I am trying to figure something out. There will be times when something just comes to me and I have to get up and make a mix to a song to see if it would work or draw out a formation to make sure it flows in our routine. Definitely not good for your sleeping habits.

2) My car – Once I have a mix and basic vision for a song, I will put it on my iPhone in a separate playlist. Until I have that song completely finalized, from A to Z, that song will be on repeat in my car. Each time I hear it, I will be going over the moves and formations in my head. My commute to work takes about 30-40 minutes on average. If the song segment I am choreoing is 1 minute long, that means I would listen to the same song around 70 times roundtrip. Sounds pretty psychotic, huh?

3) The shower – This one, I guess, could be kind of embarrassing. Don’t worry, I’m not doing actual moves in the shower, just thinking about them in my head. My shower is a little on the small side, and I am a little on the tall side (6’3″), so I have had some close calls on the instances where I try something.

Honorable Mention:

Work – Don’t tell my boss!

School – I used to draw out formations all over my notebooks during class. Over the years Ive gotten better so I can do most of it in my head. But there are times when I’ll need to draw it out to see it. Plus, its a good way to not pay attention in class.

Watching Youtube – This one’s a little tricky. I don’t think choreographers should really watch too many videos of other teams performing because it could influence them a little too much. We try extremely hard to make our routines unique and stand out from the other teams out there. I do watch videos here and there but will only watch them once, so I can’t really remember the exact details.

And there are my top places where I choreograph. Any choreographers reading this, feel free to share your experiences! I’m sure we all have weird places where we come up with ideas.

Also, thanks to everybody who sent topic requests and feedback (form can be found here.) I will definitely try and get to them soon.

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About omer81

By day (and some nights), I am a Network Engineer working for a startup in Redwood City. By night (and some days), I am an MBA student at Santa Clara University. Whatever time is left goes into Bhangra Empire. What is Bhangra Empire? Read my blog and you'll find out.
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