With the New Year just days away, it is time to get ready for National Choreography Month (NACHMO)! I am super excited to be setting a piece on Monkeyhouse for NACHMO Boston. For anyone who is unfamiliar, the premise of NACHMO is to get people making choreography in January. The task is to create a new piece within the month. As one of Monkeyhouse’s Choreographic Mentees, I have been well prepared to take on this challenge, so I thought I would share a bit about what I have been doing so far, before the actual creating even begins.
The most influential opportunity I have had so far is Musings. Monkeyhouse Musings are opportunities to play with choreographic ideas in an atmosphere free from pressure. I have both lead and participated in Musings that have resulted in all sorts of different creation. For the piece I will be making in January, I plan to build upon several of the ideas I started playing with in these musings. Also in musings, I have played with ideas that turned out to be not so great. This was just as valuable because, now I do not have to spend rehearsal time trying out ideas that I am not interested in using for this specific project. Musings are an ideal way to spend time before starting as well as during a specific choreographic process. The risk-free atmosphere of musings has been the best preparation for me to begin a rehearsal process.
As I look forward to the beginning of making something new, I am grateful to have people who have done all of this before by my side. From applications to the non-movement parts of choreographing like set-design and costuming, Karen and Nicole are here for it. They have both participated in NACHMO before and have been new people in the professional dance world.
So, if you are like me and are about to embark on the journey of creating a new dance, I would recommend that you take some time to consider what tools you can use to prepare for this journey. Obviously not everyone has the privilege of attending Monkeyhouse Musings, but you can do the next best thing. Practice making choreography in an environment that does not pressuring you to make something amazing. If that doesn’t work, watch someone else’s process. I have learned as much if not more from participating in a musing someone else has lead compared to what I have learned in the musings I have lead. Also, find someone who can be in it with you. I’m so lucky to get to work with Monkeyhouse, mostly because they are filled with different perspectives. Extra eyes are always good to have.
I can’t wait to see all of the exciting new work that is made next month for NACHMO! Happy 2018!