Categories
dance concepts

Using Constraints to spark creativity in Dance

When we want something but have limited resources to make it happen, we usually find creative ways to get what we want. That is the essence of creating artificial constraints for our dance practise.

Artists and creative entrepreneurs use the technique of artificial constraints to spark creativity in their work with great success. To use this method in dance we give ourselves limited options of what we can do. Depending on the purpose of our practise we can either delete some things from our repertoire or only allow very limited options..

As an example: Most of us have so-called fallback moves. There are the moves that we know in and out. The moves we can execute perfectly, no matter the circumstances. If those are too predominant in our freestyle we give ourselves the constraint of not using them at all.

There are a series of constraints that are common:

  • You might not use specific parts of your body
  • You might only use specific parts of your body
  • no/only moves while standing up
  • no/only jumping moves
  • no/only moves while crouching
  • no/only moves on the floor
  • hands might not touch the floor or must always touch it
  • same with the feet
  • hands and feet must always touch the floor
  • certain ways in the space are a must or forbidden
  • the phrase must always turn to on side or it must not
  • one part of your body is glued to the floor or another bodypart
  • every movement must be initiated with the same part of your body

This list is of course not complete and it can never be, because you can come up with your own constraints and you should. It’s your dance, not somebody elses.

Let us know your favourite practise constraints in the comments.


Dig deeper into dance concepts with the following posts:
Basic questions to ask every Move | Conquer the Space | Pendulum

This concept and 35 others can be found in my first book Dance Smart, which is now available on Amazon.

Categories
blog

acknowledge your roots

Every great thing that happens has it’s roots somewhere. Hip hop freestyle is based on social dances and breaking took a lot from rocking and martial arts. Even krumping, which is not officially hip hop, can not deny that it has roots inside the hip hop culture. The music we krump to evolved from hip hop music, some of the moves that are used in krumping have been there before in the hip hop dance styles.

And you know what? There is nothing bad about that. Cultural movements can part, despite the fact of having common roots. What’s not ok, is denying your roots. None of us would be doing what we do, without the people who layed down the foundation. And there is a foundation to everything new, because nothing comes from nowhere.

If you have inspiration in other things, don’t deny it, own it.

Categories
blog

3 reasons for slowing down in your dance practise

Quality of movement is a term that comes up often when you are talking with professional dancers. Depending on who you are talking to, it might have a slightly different meaning, but in general it refers to how good a movement is executed. In my personal point of view this translates directly into how beautiful a move looks. Some people might have a different opinion on this. For the sake of this blog, we will ignore those other opinions. My blog, my rules. 🙂

B-Boy dancing with text overlay about 3 reasons to slow down in dance practise

No matter if we learn a new move or try to polish an old one, doing it slow helps us being more conscious about what we do instead of relying on the autopilot to take over. The more moves we have the higher the chances that we apply techniques of another similar move instead creating the muscle memory for the new or changed one. While the results can be quite as good, we miss the topic of creating or polishing.

An additional benefit of moving slow is that we focus more on details of the movement. Being clear about all the details of a move results in cleaner execution.

Last but not least: moving slower gives us more time to come up with new ways.

If you have different experiences with moving slow while creating or learning, feel free to let us know in the comments.

Categories
dance concepts

The Pendulum Concept

photo from sassi / pixelio.de

Pendulum is a pretty easy concepts that is very similar to Equilibrium. A pendulum goes from one side to the other and back again. So this is what we use as the guideline to create our dance.

I use two versions of pendulum:

Basic Pendulum: You make a move or a way to the one side, come to a stop and go to the other side. That is all you need to start creating with basic pendulum. The reach, the way to go and the speed are all yours decide. And don’t forget to dance your ways from one side to the other.

Turning Pendulum: Here are no ways or moves to the sides but we use rotation instead. You are doing a rotation to one side, stop and continue to the other side. You decide how far and how fast you turn. I tend to do most of the rotations slow to give me the time to fill it up with a lot of moves, but that is only personal preference.

This is an easy one, enjoy it and get creative without thinking to much. The concept stuff is here to set us free in the dance, not cage us.

Categories
business

Let people do their Work

Photo from: Bernd Christian Gassner / pixelio.de

A lot of artists that are building their reputation are used to do a lot of stuff themselves, even stuff that is not really their core competency. We get so comfortable with doint it all, that there is a risk of thinking we can do everything that is related to our work better than others.

Most of the time this happens due to us not having the money to hire experts for some parts of the production. Later when we might have the money or we find people that can do the job, we think it is needless. We overlook that there is a big difference between a job done because we can do it and a job done by an expert who is really good at it.

I just saw this in the festival distribution of our movie Elsewhere. I have sent the movie to festivals myself and we got some screenings. Now a festival agency is taking care of that and within the first month of the cooperation we had new screening and won an award.

As a reminder to myself and everyone who finds himself in the situation from time to time: if you let people do the work they are good at, it pays off.

Categories
understanding music

Why we must be able to count our music

One question that comes up frequently in beginner classes or even some intermediate classes is: “why do we have to count the music?”.

The answer is very simple. Counting is THE way to navigate inside music. All western music that is based on notes (and this is at least 99% of the music that we use to dance) is created on a numeric system. Musicians give numbers to bars and notes. These act like a gps or a map. So everybody can play the music together.

For us dancers, it is the easiest way to communicate the relation between our moves and the music. And while you can learn a part of a city or a piece of music by heart, as soon as you move to new territory counting will come in handy.

If you only dance solo for yourself, then you can skip counting because you can work with your intuition, but as soon as you want to dance together with others you need to count. When you want to learn or teach choreography you must be able to count. When you want to talk to musicians, you must be able to count to get somewhere fast. If you want to make dance your job, you must be able to count.

It’s not hard. We will cover the basics soon. Don’t wing it.

Categories
dance concepts

Fill in the Blanks

Fill in the Blanks is a simple concept to create variation within your vocabulary of movement. It works with every movement that has multiple parts. In between two parts of the same move there is some free “space” where we can insert something new.

Let’s take any regular two step movement as an example. It consists of two steps. By filling in the blank we would add an additional movement between step 1 and step 2 and therefore create a more advanced version of the original movement.

If you apply this idea to some of your moves, you will see it opens up a lot of possibilities for advancing your stuff.

This concept and 35 others can be found in more detail in my first book Dance Smart.

Categories
documentation

First award for Elsewhere

During the christmas holidays Elsewhere was screened at CHHATRAPATI SHIVAJI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL and received an award in the category “Best Editing”. Congratulationsto to the whole team and this time especially to Berni WeiĂź.

Good job.

Certificate of Excellence from CHHATRAPATI SHIVAJI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL in the Category Best Editing
Certificate of Excellence from CHHATRAPATI SHIVAJI INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL in the Category Best Editing
Categories
blog

The creative Break

When you are deep in a creative project and force yourself to work on it every day, chances are high that you will encounter some sort of mental block on your way.

For people who write we call it writer’s block. It is a state where you seem to can not proceed any further in the process of creation. While there are many recommended ways how to deal with this kind of issue, there is only one that works well for me. To walk away from the project for some time. This does not mean you have to stop doing your work completely. It just means you should leave this topic alone.

If you write, you can write another story. If you do choreography, you can work on other music. The goal is to give you mind a break from the thing that causes the block. Of course the best thing is to do something completely different, if you can.

When you do this, your subconscious mind keeps working on the issue and more often then not, the solution will come to you in a moment where you are doing something totally unrelated to the topic.

I am out, going to play some video games, to cure my writer’s block.

Categories
blog

don’t talk to talk

I am not quite sure if I’ve become intolerant or if our society cultivated a certain kind of behaviour where it seems more important to talk about stuff, than actually doing it.

For every guy out there that is creating something or doing his own thing there are five that talk stupid behind his back or upfront without ever trying to do the same he does.  That is plain stupid.

I think most of us know when they have something valuable to say and when not. If the big NOT is the case, it is a great thing to remain silent or openly state that you have nothing to contribute in the actual matter.

Of course there is nothing wrong about giving feedback to other people. That is one hell of an important tool that helps us grow in whatever we do. But giving somebody shallow or crude feedback that is far beneath the amount of thought that went into creating the thing or idea in the first place, is an affront and a waste of precious time.

If you want to waste some time, waste yours. Don’t get into the way of people who actually do things.