You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘improvisation’ tag.

As I mentioned earlier I recently had the great fun of dancing to some live drumming courtesy of John McLeod. Well… here’s a video of it (which was very kindly filmed by John’s friend Will Jackson)!

Will also made a funky edited version but youtube has decided it didn’t like my attempt to upload that earlier. If I can get it to work I’ll post it up here too.

I haven’t had access to any videos of my performances in literally years so it’s quite eye-opening for me to be able to watch this. It’s given me lots of food for thought, and (despite the many things in the performance that I want to improve) I actually like it. I really hope you do too.


I was asked by one of my intermediate students, and now that I think about it other people (not students) have also asked, whether I choreograph or improvise my performances.

Initially every performance I did was from a choreography I made for myself.  I would type it up and drill it for as much time as I possibly could and then hope to remember it when I was performing.   Occasionally that would work just fine – I’d remember the choreo in it’s entirety and the performance would go off without a hitch.  I think that’s happened once.  Maybe twice.  All the rest of the time something, or things, have come up to mess with that; a veil caught on my costume, a veil dropped (disaster in a double veil routine!), a finger cymbal caught in my hair (I’m not making this up), the music being so quiet I didn’t hear it start and then could barely make it out whilst dancing or I simply just made a ‘mistake’ that threw me off the rest of the choreo.

So what did I do when that happened?  I improvised.  I’m quite good at thinking on my feet and the years I spent teaching in a Secondary school certainly honed that ability (transferable skills! 🙂 ). After a while I figured that it might just be simpler to improv from the get go and then I wouldn’t have to stress about remembering the choreo and about what happens if something goes wrong during the performance.  All that time I spent drilling I could spend simply practising, drilling specific moves, combinations and layers (but not a whole choreo) and, best of all, learning new things .  That said there’s a whole different set of nerves and issues about improv-ing a performance (what if I just repeat the same moves over and over? what if my mind blanks? what if I do something stupid? etc.).

So I vacillate.  Sometimes I completely improv. a performance, other times it’s a mixture of choreo-d bits with improv in-between.  It really depends on my mood, how ‘scary’ the performance seems and my confidence.

What about you?

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 317 other followers

Twitter Updates

July 2018
« May