by Becky Bearse-Esqueda – Solos present unique challenges to a choreographer. The main challenge is finding the right dancer for the piece. This dancer must be very strong, not just technically, but as a performer, as it is up to this dancer, and her alone, to engage the audience in her world. In creating solos, I also choose dancers that have a wide movement vocabulary and are essentially more than dancers-they are artists. This way, I can sculpt the movement around this dancer’s strengths and unique gifts she brings to the table. The additional challenges are telling your story successfully via one dancer and using the stage appropriately.
The liberty I find in creating solos is the ability to craft the solo around the dancer’s strengths and skills. Solos also present unique opportunities for collaboration, as I often talk about the piece as I create it, the emotional aspect of it, the story I am trying to tell, and also the movement style I am looking to create. We often work together to build off movement phrases and sculpt the phrases to fit the dancer. Overall, creating a solo is a really unique opportunity for a choreographer to collaborate with the dancer by allowing room for improv. and movement creation.
by Alejandra Garavito – Solo pieces are more intimate for me which is shocking in the sense that stage is a bizarre place for intimacy. So I feel challenge to find a personal, intimate voice in a voyeuristic ambient.
The freedom I find in solos is the fact that you are talking in a single language, the dancers. Even you are choreographing the piece; it will be in the natural language of the dancer, no mix-ups. When you have more people, communications can get mixed and too many voices might not speak of the same things or in the same volumes. In solos you can be clearer.
by Jamie Benson – I was recently challenged to not feel like a worthless piece of crap, to answer your question. In an attempt to simplify my life (Ha!), I recently dove head-first into the idea of making a couple of new solos. This was after recently doing a lot of ensemble pieces. I always came up with material when in the studio but it was tough to figure out how that material might "read" to an innocent audience-go-er. There is a more immediate response when working with other performers. They laugh if it’s funny, look at me cross-eyed when its too complicated or unintentionally awkward, and so on. It can be tricky to express a source of whatever emotion one is exploring as a soloist. When doing a solo, it’s real easy to go from dancer to crazy person in the eyes of an arts bystander if not careful. Peer review has become more crucial then ever.
That being typed I was completely free from scheduling ridiculously busy, creative people. It. was. bliss.
by Victoria Wolfe – I love the freedom and the space that you can give yourself when creating you own solo. You are your own responsibility, and so can tap into you intuition of movement and thought in a different way. There is more space for improvisation, change, and timing. However, the wealth of possibilities, even with a structured improvisation or with choreographic restrictions, can leave you very lost in choosing what to keep and what to leave behind. This is when I ask someone for feedback. Another problem I face when creating a solo is memory. Having a camera with you when you hit inspiration is very helpful!
by Joshua Legg – The challenge and liberty are really the same: you only have a single facility with which to examine your idea. There’s confinement then, which in itself is quite freeing. You don’t have to worry about spatial configurations with lots dancers all about the place. You get to look at the space from a highly pointed perspective.
by Catherine Samardza – I LIKE large groups. Solos challenge me to keep it interesting without depending on patterns, entrances and exits or interaction between dancers. Since I am challenging my self outside my "go to comfort" area, it’s not so much liberty as pushing my creative process.