Hello, and welcome to the Choreography Clinic, a dialogue among dance makers about making dance. This project idea came to me in the latter part of 2010, out of a desire to know more about choreography, and moreover out of a feeling of not knowing how to get to the next dimension in refining my own choreographic voice. I have bought several wonderful books on choreography and read interviews from choreographers, but I found the conversation did not center around the type of information I was hungry for. I was looking to converse with other dance makers about their approaches, their struggles, their discoveries, their explorations- the kind of topics you only seem to get in college dance programs and community programs with very limited servicing capacities. So, I wrote the basic vision for this project in my notebook and left it alone.
What feels like suddenly, I found myself in the midst of conversations among dance makers seeking the same kind of interaction I was looking for. A major hurdle I heard repeatedly was geography. Los Angeles is rich and vibrant with dance but we don’t gather together more frequently because it takes three hours to travel 15 miles. Instead, we dancing Angelenos have thriving pocket scenes throughout the area. Thus, one of this project’s aims is to transcend geography and, in a small way, provide that interaction that we all crave.
The Choreography Clinic shares the experiences of dance makers (from aspiring to established), students, and educators. My hope for this project is to develop a referential tool that houses open and nurturing dialogue on areas of commonality in dance making and the creative ways we address the issues that arise. This exchange will specifically look at the anatomy of works we have created, and how we, as dance makers, have interacted with and viewed (and even now view) the various parts of our dance work. The goal of this project is not to pin individuals into a singular process, methodology, or philosophy, rather, it is to reflect on and share the various processes we use, as well as our experiences, successes, failures, insights, regrets, and discoveries along our individual choreographic journeys.
I want to extend tremendous thanks to all of the amazingly thoughtful choreographers who have agreed to take time out of their busy schedules and help drive this dialogue. I cannot do this without them. Happy reading, happy reflecting, and I look forward to some amazing conversation about making dance!
Marlita Hill teaches dance full-time at the Ramon C. Cortines School for the Visual and Performing Arts in downtown Los Angeles. She received her BFA in Dance Performance with K-12 Certification from Towson University in Maryland. In 2008, she published her book, “Dancers! Assume the Position,” which examines the role of dance in worship. She serves as a board member and Children Show Coordinator for Rhapsody In Taps, Inc., a Los Angeles based tap company under the direction of Linda Sohl-Ellison.