This article examines choreographers and their work in the dance industry. Meaning of choreography varies among members of the industry with some viewing it as a dance style that emphasize on specific moves like lifting and jumping while others opine it to be styles tht tilt towards Pacific island dance or other cultural genres making each dance style different from others. For example, a type of choreography is the ballet, which uses highly formalized gestures and steps, repetitive sequences and motifs, and everyday movements. Also, a style can focus on a particular body part or use a specific pace. So, this article assesses some choreographers and their works in the dance industry.
Lloyd Newson who was born in Australia, is a director, a dancer, and a choreographer. He formed project-based dance and physical theatre DV8 in 1986 with an independent collection of dancers. The theatre linked his choreographic style and process of collaborative – with dancing and across-genres, and improvisational rather than script by working with dancers of diverse backgrounds. However, he studied psychology and social work at the University of Melbourne in 1978. After graduation, Newson began his dancing career in New Zealand, initially as a dancer but later became a choreographer by making stage and film.
As an illustration, the film ‘the cost of living’ uses dance, dialogue, and high physical theatre to show the story of two street dancers and their interaction with other performers. Their choreographic style rejects the current aesthetic of contemporary dance as being too pretty and too beautiful but instead addresses psychological and social issues such as sexuality, politics, and gender-related issues. For example, the film’s dance style embraces unison in it movement of smooth quadruped walking with the dancers slightly arching their back in an almost sitting position (“dv8 physical theatre the cost of living 1”, 2017). Similarly, dancers form a non-verbal communication cue where they form dome shape with their hands poking out and legs tucked inside, which floor work is described as energetic and rejecting aesthetic dance movement.
Newson states that he creates choreographies only when he sees the need and does not commercialize his skills. Moreover, he has concentrated on exploring the current social and psychological issues through movement and gender stereotypes. For instance, one of the dancer in the cost of living is a legless man who is determined not to let his disability or society prejudices get in his way. For instance, he was looked down and discriminated by another male performer during theatrical movements. This act raises issues about how we judge others and how we value ourselves through physical metaphors. As a result, the film challenges notions of dance and demonstrates how expansive an individual can be.
Newson’s choreographic process is facilitative and embraces improvisation as its core tenet in performance. The choreographic design is equally collaborative and cuts across dances from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The DV8 mostly use theatre, films and inter-disciplinary approaches to accompany their dancing techniques and choreographic patterns. Similarly, Newson is unique and artistic in his method and states that dancers ought to push their bodies and make different movements with a purpose that accompanies its theme like in “John (2014) Death, Drugs, and Survival.” His technique is also involving as he emphasizes on communicating to the society through body movements and non-verbal cues. Moreover, his iconic choreographic style attracts criticism from a large population. Newson remains anonymous with the claim that the issues need to be addressed with the only way of bringing them to attention being creativity style such as choreography.
Wright was born in 1956 in Tuakau, Southern Auckland. He joined the Limbs Dance Company in the early 1980s, followed by the Paul Taylor Company and later DV8 Physical Theatre in London. Douglas come up with over 30 choreography works that included, Gloria and Energy among others.
Douglas’s choreographic styles are highly physical and mimic the tradition of New Zealand folks as well as contemporary music. The movements in his dance come from theatrical concepts and through his imaginations. His works often use sounds from dancers as a part of scenographic elements. For instance, he used breath and sounds from dancers and danced incredibly at the silence in Gloria (1990). In this work, the motif of jumping in the air with the stretching of one leg and bending the other leg is repeated with argumentation and fragmentation. This motif is accompanied with one hand making a sweeping motion facing backward, thereby demonstrating his highly physical choreographic style and balletic movement.
Furthermore, his choreographic style is primarily facilitative in the sense that its aids choreographer, dancers, and the audience fully understand the technique. The process is equally commanding and entails the use of scenographic elements such as costumes and props through theatrical choreographic style. In Wright’s ghost dance (2004), the performance is partly a memoir as well as a love story whose theme touches on the deep meditation of performance that exhibits the absence of life. Douglas uses various tasks that include turning text into movements, distilling gestures and acting out scenes physically among others.
Moreover, the Kiss Inside demonstrate a kinetic meditation on the search for ecstasy in the human culture. Wright used everyday life movements in extreme physical exertion. The Kiss Inside is a work in the surreal dance language for which Wright has become renowned. This move enabled him to dig deeper into the workings of the human psyche, which resulted in a startling provocative images as well as frenzied movement. Since Douglas’s work is primarily through creativity and personal experience, he uses it to create a unique background that shapes people’s personalities about their stories. Therefore, Douglas’s choreographic style embodies gestural movements with a hint of dark themes as well as elements of theatrical performances.
Douglas Wright – “Elegy” 1993 (10 Minutes). (2017). YouTube. Retrieved 12 November 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KruAhjbFcAQ
Dv8 physical theatre the cost of living 1. (2017). YouTube. Retrieved 12 November 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_WT1tfz8kg
GLORIA the celebration of life part 1. (2017). YouTube. Retrieved 12 November 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2zn5-2Ftno
The Kiss Inside. (2017). YouTube. Retrieved 12 November 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDcUt2Ylphs
Trailer Douglas Wright – Rapt. (2017). YouTube. Retrieved 12 November 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ihi6I9c3Ts0
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