Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wordy Wednesday: CHOREOGRAPHY

Every winter, I have the pleasure of choreographing a musical for the local elementary school.  The project begins with an audition for fifth and sixth graders looking to be cast in leading roles (younger kids are in ensembles and don't have to audition).

As the choreographer, I don't cast parts, but I do have to provide the director with information on kids' dance abilities.  I have a code: N-non-dance role; C-capable & coordinated; S-solo material.  I don't like boiling down everything I see (joy, potential, eagerness, effort) into a single letter but it's got to be done, just like books, in the end, get positive or negative reviews.  It's a tough part of the artistic life.

That said, I try to make the audition fun--to help kids forget their insecurities and show me what they can do if they let themselves go and focus on dancing.  I want to share the joy of moving and help them realize how much they can express onstage without saying a word.

What does this have to do with writing?  When I find myself in a "telling-not-showing" trap, I get up and dance the scene or play-act a dialogue.  I bring my writing to a "stage" where I can reconnect physically with my characters.

I love working with young performers--watching their excitement heighten as opening night approaches and their mastery of the material strengthens.  It's a microcosm of so many experiences they'll have in their lives, be they performers or engineers, lawyers or chefs.  Their story is my story.  Our story.


storyqueen said...

I thinks it's cool when you can relate the creating of one art form to another.

And I definitely choreograph some of my scenes!

JEM said...

How wonderful! It sounds like you have a lot of fun, and kids definitely bring a refreshing youthfulness to every day. Especially when you get to play around with them and not teach them world history :). Have fun!

Stasia said...

Thanks for your comment, Shelley. Nice to hear I'm not the only choreographing-writer out there!

And thanks for stopping by, JEM. Dancing with kids is a blast!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Great post! I do that a little, but in my head. *grins* :-)

Willa said...

Wow this sounds like so much fun! getting to be part of it all and sharing the kids' joy.

Stasia said...

Thanks for your comments, Shannon and Willa. Just had first official rehearsal yesterday. It was a blast!