Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"Falling" Kate Jablonski

Hurricane Sandy has put a damper on my blogging schedule, and I apologize. However, we are back in action and I have decided to feature another piece by Kate Jablonski, but for a very specific reason. I want to use this video to demonstrate a few very important concepts in good choreo construction...and I feel that they are all illustrated here.

MUSICALITY: Choreography that is musically dynamic, always creates contrast and color. But in order to play with differing qualities, a choreographer must know what qualities are at their disposal. Many times I feel as though people who call themselves "choreographers" have little idea as to what ingredients they actually have in their kitchen...and then try to cook something up. The result is bland and boring. But Kate has a great handle on which qualities to use and when. All choreography, whether it is jazz, tap, modern, contemporary, hip all based on four qualities of movement. You have PERCUSSIVE, VIBRATORY, SUSTAINED, and PENDULAR. All four of these qualities can be easily identified in this video, and this diversity of movement gives the choreography a good deal of dynamic musicality. Vibratory movement is like a guitar string that is plucked and vibrates back and forth, while pendular movement is a swinging motion that is like the weight on a grandfather clock. Look at the sequence from (1:14-1:18) and watch how the vibratory "scribble" resolves nicely into the pendular swings of the next phrase. Or perhaps (2:50-2:55) where the vibratory shakes in the knees transitions to the slow and sustained rise in the hands and fingertips. Percussive movement is motion that makes noise or the act of making noise...look at (0:09-0:11) where you see the body slapping against the ground with hands, elbows, knees and head, or at (0:20-0:22) where the dancers are repetitively hitting the same piano key. With this in mind, watch the video again and observe how Kate goes back and forth from quality to quality, allowing the tone and quality to change with the music.

DANCER SYNC: One of the biggest mistakes that novice choreographers make, is the inclusion of "tricks" for no reason. IF YOU PUT TRICKS INTO A PIECE, YOU MUST BE ABLE TO JUSTIFY "WHY" IT IS THERE. Kate's strength as a choreographer lies in her ability to edit. She adds tricks to the choreography, only when it supports the overall picture of the piece. This makes a lot of sense to the dancer who is asked to dance the piece. If they understand "why" they need to do the round off back handspring full or the 32 count fouette sequence, then it brings a much greater degree of artistic credibility to their performance. At (1:27-1:32) the singer repeats the word "again and again and again and again" Kate realized that some sort of cyclical phrase would best bring that idea to life. What does "again and again and again" actually look like when it is the video and you will see your answer. This is Kate's "WHY."

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: The viewer is by nature a visual elements that grab the viewer's eye are obviously going to keep them engaged. Kate is a master of constructing choreography on levels. I think that this is one thing that keeps people constantly enraptured by her style. Choreography exists on three basic levels, low, medium and high. Low is typically reserved for floorwork, medium level is for turns and standing phrases, and high level is for jumps, tumbling and releve. Watch at 1:13 and see if you can spot all three levels working simultaneously. And then, at (0:07-0:09) you can see how Kate creates a nice balance between a low phrase and a high phrase. When the viewer sees these two complimentary phrases at the same time, it immediately jumps out as visually engaging.

KUDOS to Kate for demonstrating the basic, fundamental principles of good choreography time and time again.

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