Beginnings- Following a Vision

by Laura Berry

1. For you, what role/s does the beginning play in a piece? More specifically, how have you employed beginnings in relation the rest of your work? (i.e. to frame, to present, to juxtapose, contextualize, clarify, foreshadow, etc)

I always believe that the most important parts of a piece of choreography are the beginning and the end. In my experience, those are the things that people remember. Setting up the beginning depends on the theme of the piece. If it is a story, I would set it up differently than an individual piece of work. I usually prefer to have dancers start on stage in a pose when the lights come up (or curtain opens) as it can be pretty dramatic. If they start off stage, I usually have them filter onto the stage slowly, either in pairs or individually, as that can be pretty compelling as well.

2. Author Nancy Kress addresses the reality of having rich and interesting material, and yet, lacking a sense of direction or context for the material. In these instances, how have you found the beginning of your piece? How did you arrive at an idea to begin your piece? What did you confront, clarify to discover the beginning?

When there isn’t a theme, story, or specific direction of my piece, I actually prefer it. I like to hear a piece of music that inspires me to create and can see dancing in my head. That is usually the thing that tells me I can create to a specific song or piece of music. I believe that dancing that is free flowing without guidelines or restrictions can still be amazing and beautiful.

3. At what points in the creating process have you attended to the beginning section of your works? Has dealing with the beginning at different points in the creating process presented unique challenges or discoveries? Please describe. Have you ever had to go back and change your beginning? What occurred or revealed itself that led you to this decision?

I always start with a beginning vision in mind and build on that. There have been times that, as the piece of work develops, I feel that the beginning doesn’t stand up to the rest of it anymore. As long as there is still plenty of time to work with the dancers before the showing, I will go back to the beginning and make certain adjustments to ensure that it is as enthralling as the rest of the choreography and that the whole work melds together well.