If there is one thing I try to teach to the students at SVCD it’s to DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.
This is the mantra that we use almost every class. This is the mantra I try to follow when I am creating a new piece for the studio, for our company dancers, or anywhere I go across the valley
I believe that we should always try new things, push ourselves to do something different – even if it is scary, difficult, or uncomfortable. This is how we truly find growth.
In selecting the themes for our concerts, we have drawn from any number on inspirations. Our last few years have seen shows and spring recitals that are very artistic and – honestly – a bit ‘out there.’
I have heard from some parents that they don’t really get the dances we’ve been presenting. And I certainly understand this. Dance can be an obscure and dense art form. The work we do doesn’t always lend itself to easy interpretation. But this is intentional. As I try to teach our students to think like artists – we also create artistic pieces.
In the past we’ve fallen back on a story or picture book that we can bring to life. This can be fun but I find it hard to search and find the perfect book. I don’t want a story that is too literal. I don’t want dances that are so tied to a story that we can’t find creative expression in our dances. This storybook approach is pioneered by Tanner Dance and no one does it better than them.
So, last year about this time, I toyed with an idea. I wanted to offer our parents a show that was fun and lighthearted. I wanted to produce a show that wasn’t cluttered with artistic, obscure dances. Rather, I wanted to do something that was a total opposite approach to our past few shows.
I teach at Ms. Margene’s Creative Classroom in Taylorsville, UT. Two years ago, she did an all Broadway themed show for her studio. To be honest, I hated it. I found it so hard and difficult to take a Broadway song and turn it into a modern dance. I am not trained in Broadway dance and I can’t choreograph or teach in that style – I have to draw from what I know and Broadway is very far from my own experience.
But as I contemplated what to do for our SVCD recital, I felt that Broadway would be a wonderful challenge for everyone – our teachers, our students, and myself. It would provide our parents with an unabashed and joyous show with lyrics, happiness, and easy viewing. Sounded perfect!
The teachers were very excited and, as we’ve started putting the show together, I see that our dancers are loving the new ideas. Even though we are keeping things in our modern dance style, we can draw inspiration from a style of movement and a way of organizing the body that is brand new to them. Working on the opening and closing dance over the past two weeks, I’ve seen so many smiles and bright faces working hard to try on new movement. In all – it seems like it was a really great idea!